Wednesday, March 07, 2012

KINSLEY: IN THIS LIMBAUGH SITUATION, LIBERALS ARE THE REAL VILLAINS

We're now in the process of moving on to Phase II of Slutgate, in which pundits who aren't right-wing dogmatists will tell us that the hostility being directed at Rush Limbaugh is all just too much. This will ultimately lead us to a mainstream media consensus, which will be: Limbaugh said something awful, but hey, that's his job, and do we expect him not to do his job? Whereas lefties attacking him were just as awful -- or, actually, more awful, because they're supposed to stay in their place and complain ineffectually when they're attacked. For heaven's sake, they're not supposed to hit back! And if they do, they're not supposed to be able to hurt their opponents!

So we get this from Michael Kinsley, writing for Bloomberg and reprinted (appropriately) in the New York Post:

The people who want to drive Rush Limbaugh off the air aren't assuaged or persuaded by his apology over the weekend. They say he wasn't sincere: He only apologized for calling a Georgetown University law student a "slut" and a "prostitute" because of pressure from advertisers.

Well, of
course he wasn't sincere....

You can't demand a public recantation and then expect sincerity along with the humble pie....

These umbrage episodes that have become the principal narrative line of our politics are orgies of insincerity. Pols declare that they are distraught, offended, outraged by some stray remark by a political opponent, or judicial nominee, or radio talk-show host. They demand apology, firing, crucifixion.

The target resists for a few days, then steps downs or apologizes. Occasionally they survive, as Limbaugh probably will, but wounded and more careful from now on.

More careful means less interesting. Limbaugh is under no obligation to stop saying offensive things just to keep me entertained. Still, it's a pity....


So everyone's being a big phony, according to Kinsley, but there's a real loss here: the loss of Limbaugh's "interesting" willingness to slander a person who isn't a public figure and all her female fellow students 53 times over the course of several days, in appallingly personal and intimate language. Kinsley implies that there would be no equal loss if "insincere" critics were to just shut up when something like this happens. So, to sum up: Insincerity on both sides cancels out, but Limbaugh is contributing something "interesting" to the discourse that ideally should be preserved in all its flavorful toxicity, while his opponents are just playing games. Advantage Limbaugh!

Kinsley goes on:

Of course, the insincerity is on both sides. The pursuers all pretend to be horrified and "saddened" by this unexpected turn of events. In fact, they're delighted. Why not? Their opponent has committed the cardinal political sin: a gaffe.

Yeah, right: I'm delighted that Sandra Fluke and her classmates have been dragged through the mud. Know what else, Mikey? I hate Rupert Murdoch so much that I was delighted when his people hacked that dead teenage girl's voicemail. I wish they'd hacked the voicemail of more dead teenage girls! I wish they'd caused more parents untold suffering! That's how much I hate Rupert Murdoch.

Give me a freaking break. Nobody with a conscience wants Rush Limbaugh to wallow in the pig-trough of his misogyny on the public airwaves for several days, directing his unbridled hate at a genuinely vulnerable target. (Well, nobody except Michael Kinsley, perhaps, or others who consider this sort of thing "interesting.") Wanting Limbaugh (or Murdoch) to get his comeuppance for beyond-the-pale behavior isn't the same as cheering the fact that that behavior happened in the first place.

Kinsley has set a standard whereby no one can call out an opponent's behavior without being accused of insincerity. If I opposed the Catholic Church on abortion or gay marriage or condom use and then felt it was justifiably disgraced in the priest sex-abuse scandal, was I delighted that boys got raped? Where's the limit? How do I escape Kinsley's la-di-da-everyone's-a-cynic infinite loop?

13 comments:

proverbialleadballoon said...

classic projection on the part of kinsey. conservatives _are_ delighted when weiner sends pictures of his dick or bill clinton cums on an interns blue dress. so we must be delighted that rush limbaugh verbally attacks a woman for three days on the radio.

DougJ said...

It's just Kinsley's usual Harvard dining hall bullshit.

Tom said...

I hate Kinsley and am glad you saved me the click on his link. Kinsley's Slate is a collection of washed out conservatives, and a women's page that could be supported by Phylis Schlaffley, since conservative women outnumber liberals.

And Kinsleu specializes in exactly the cynicism you delineate here: he is a William F. Buckley style reductionist, who could take one's pain at being sick and having a diagnosis that you have three weeks to live, and by reducing the argument to absurdity claim that you were happy for the diagnosis.

He is an ass and a typical villager, who wallows in living in the real America.

: smintheus :: said...

Kinsley if anybody is insincere. His schtick has always been contrarianism for its own sake. He needs people like Limbaugh to behave atrociously, and others like his critics to act reasonably, in order to have material to whack at with his contrarian stick.

Bluesborn said...

Interesting how in the Kinsley scenario Limbaugh has become "the target" and not you know,the young women he called a um.."slut". BTW,why shouldn't people expect a half way sincere or failing that,decent apology from Limbaugh?He was spectacularly wrong.Has Kinsley seen the Ed Schultz apology for pulling the same shit? Christ I'm amazed Ed didn't personally phone ME and apologize.Yet the Limbaugh apology is nothing but another insufferable lecture with a few grudging "sorry noises" tagged on the end.Arrogance personified,but hey:he's an entertainer!

Anonymous said...

The pursuers all pretend to be horrified and "saddened" by this unexpected turn of events.

Interesting quotation marks. Do you know anyone on the left who claims to have been "saddened" by these events? Not me. Horrified, yeah, also disgusted and infuriated, and then finally quite happy--yes, I'll unhypocritically admit it--to see the Anal Cyst face some consequences for once. "Saddened"?

Roger said...

Kinsley gave money to Mickey Kaus' primary run, for God's sake. He's *paid* assholes to be assholes.

Sandy Underpants said...

excellent

M. Bouffant said...

Someone should ask Parkinson's sufferer Kinsley if he thought it was "interesting" when Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of faking/amping up his Parkinson's symptoms when he spoke before Congress.

Steve M. said...

Thanks....

debg said...

And AGAIN a Rush apologist manages to miss the point. It wasn't JUST that Rush called these women nasty names. It's that he lied, or didn't know, what Fluke actually said. If he didn't know, he had no business opening up his piehole. If he did know, he deliberately lied to change the terms of the debate. That's what's got me angriest. I'm (sadly) used to hearing women denigrated for what they choose to do as fully sexual adults. But to LIE about it for political gain--bleah.

Rob Patterson said...

"Stray remark"?? Really?

Luckily the "stray remark" was caught on tape.

ed waldo said...

Bravo. Well spoken.