Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rush Limbaugh, Straw Meets Camel

So, I'm wondering why Rush Limbaugh is getting so much flack for his comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.  Don't get me wrong, I think he deserves it, but I'm baffled as to why he is actually getting what he deserves.  He's been doing the same thing for decades and getting away with it.  Indeed, the entire point of his schtick is to intentionally step over the line of decency, civility, and rationality in order to bait people to denounce him. 

It's a brilliant trap.  On the one hand, if you do denounce him, then it just goes to show how liberals control the media and how they will do anything to silence conservative voices.  Liberals may say they believe in tolerance, but deeming unacceptable speech to be unacceptable brings howls of hypocrisy.  On the other hand, if you do not denounce him, then the silence shows assent, that there is no way to argue against it and therefore it must be true.  If you try to neither ignore nor denounce, but rather to rationally argue against him, then what you've done is introduce his infected invective into the public discourse, you've elevated the nonsense to the status of sense, of a legitimate point of view in the marketplace of ideas.

And it has worked for SO long.  Why are we seeing the push back now?  His advertisers have heard him say things just as disgusting for many years, why now are they suddenly shocked, shocked to find he is uncouth?  Is it that he attacked someone who is not a public figure?  Is it because Sandra Fluke is a well-educated white woman and resembles "us" rather than "them"?  Is it just that she's a woman and it makes him look more like a bully?  Michele Malkin stalked and publicly attacked a child and his family for advocating for public children's health insurance and she wasn't subjected to this.  Yes, she should have been, but she wasn't. 

Is it a function of the times?  Has the larger discourse changed suddenly?  Have the tea party and the anti-woman policy provisions of the Texas, Virginia,... legislatures brought us to a point where the entire movement is being eyed suspiciously for a change and Rush happened to be the lightning rod? 

I guess the straw that breaks the camels back is no different from the multitude of other straws.  Or is it?  Why now?