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Mar 09 2012

The Rush Limbaugh implosion continues apace

Looks like Rush is getting his just desserts. Forty-plus advertisers have pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s show, and the show itself has been pulled outright from two radio affiliates. At least two prominent musicians have told him not to use their music on his show ever again.

And somehow, it all continues to snowball.

Despite his not-pology this weekend, Rush keeps talking about how horrible Sandra Fluke is, without a scrap of evidence — much less any reason to call her horrible even if she IS promiscuous, which nobody has any right to attempt to prove anyway.

People are getting rightly lambasted for defending Rush and his odious and antiscientific attacks. In a way I’m sad that it took this particular instance of misogyny to trigger this implosion, considering Rush has been doing the exact same schtick for years. But no amount of sadness over how long it took to upend his empire can overcome the sense of justice that said empire is being upended at all.

The whole fight over contraception, and Rush’s role in it, is part of an overarching anti-womens-rights fight, which includes such skirmishes as in Arizona, where a law was passed withholding potentially important medical information from women in the event that this information might lead to the woman or doctor choosing abortion. That’s right — if the doctor knows the pregnancy might kill the mother, it’s illegal for them to tell the mother because they might choose to abort rather than have the woman die.

And yet, the right to insurance-covered contraception is probably the single most pro-life action one could support, given that half of the 6-mil annual pregnancies in the US are unwanted, and the best way to prevent abortions resultant from those pregnancies is to provide women with the ability to prevent those pregnancies in the first place. It would cost less than abortions do presently. It would help lift poor women out of poverty by keeping them from having to spend their meager living on contraception, or failing having to pay for contraception, having to pay for the children they couldn’t afford either.

Covering contraception is not, as Rush argues, subsidizing women’s sex lives — it’s definitely not nearly as unambiguously coverage for someone’s sexual promiscuity as, say, the coverage presently provided for Viagra so old men can get their dicks up. Covering contraception is about allowing women the ability to choose when they get pregnant, in an environment where they shoulder all the responsibilities for any pregnancy resultant of sexual contact, and they might not always even have the choice when they have sex. And frankly, the only other argument I’ve heard against contraception, that it is an abortifacient, is patently scientifically incorrect. So those folks clawing back against women’s rights are either grossly misinformed or they’re slut-shaming women without even-handedly likewise slut-shaming the men who must needs have intercourse with said women to have made these women pregnant.

This week’s Doonesbury comics are intended to cover all of this, but apparently they’re not going to get run in many newspapers because it’s too “controversial”. If it’s too controversial to make it to the funny pages, why isn’t the fight being hashed out on television, in the newspapers? Is it too controversial to touch there too? Why do we only hear about the asshole contingent — two prominent members of said contingent being the only Republican candidates who might get the nod in this primary — who demands that women’s rights be eviscerated? And can you honestly blame some of us on the blogosphere for getting hot under the collar over this stuff, given the stakes?

And yet, despite all these individual actions on the greater battlefield that is women’s rights and the Republican clawback against such, some folks in the skeptic community apparently believe it’s more important to shame people for being mean to one another over all of this. Granted, the “meanness” aspect needs to be discussed, but could we maybe wait until after we’ve prevented a regression of thirty to forty years of women’s rights?

16 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    Despite his lame attempt to blame liberals for his fuckup, Limbaugh brought this on himself all by his lonesome.

  2. 2
    Ace of Sevens

    Just deserts

    The Arizona law makes it up to the doctors what info they give women. It’s doesn’t legally prohibit them from tell about pregnancy complications. Hopefully the medical association can make them do it anyway.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Wow. I had no clue, Ace. Now I’m going to have to change that in my language, meaning I’ll have to field people telling me I’m wrong. :/

  4. 4
    Zugswang

    You know, I could not care less about whether or not I should be nice to a narcissistic bully and chickenhawk that wouldn’t know contrition if it was available as a prescription-strength opiate.

    It’s only a shame that most of his sponsors will be right back buying ad spaces in another couple of months, once the furor has died down and we’ve moved on to Rick Santorum’s next verbal malfunction.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    michaeld

    To good for him I say :P

  7. 7
    Ryan Dunlop

    @Jason:
    Hey, you were able to openly admit that you made an oversight about a new law in Arizona. We academics make them all the time. You recognised you were wrong, await people telling you so, and will learn from the experience. C’est la vie, eh? Don’t beat yourself up over it.
    Great article, by the way. It featured just the right amount of passion and crudeness with serious cogency, IMO.

  8. 8
    jamessweet

    Ryan, I think he was talking about the “just deserts” thing.

    I was going to link to Snopes too. I guess it says something about our community that the second comment caught it. Freethinkers we may be, but freelinguists? Not so much :D

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes, what jamessweet said — I was referring more to the “dessert/desert” thing. I mean, I welcome the correction on the Arizona law, of course, but the “dessert” thing surprised me more.

  10. 10
    Graham Shevlin

    Rush is doing exactly what most bullies do when they are slapped about for their bullying…he is now playing the victim card. The correct response is to tell him that we will stop berating him for being an asshole when he stops being an asshole.

  11. 11
    Nice Ogress

    I dunno, I can’t muster too much schadenfreude from this. Rush has been precisely this sort of horrible shit for the last twenty years and anyone who thinks this isn’t perfectly normal for him just hasn’t been paying attention. It’d be nice if he was hounded off the air, we’d be a better world for it, but that’s not just deserts, that’s just an improvement.

    If Rush were getting his *just* deserts right now, it’d involve bulldog ants, honey, the australian outback, and we’d be able to hear the screaming from low orbit.

    Not that I think that should actually happen, mind you. Absolute justice tends to be dreadful, bloody stuff. Ask anyone in the Old Testament.

  12. 12
    Mike Haubrich

    I have been listening off and on to Rush for years and am heartened that there is finally some recognition by advertisers that he is a piece of shit. They knew that long before this episode but it has only been an outcry over the personal attack on Sandra Fluke that has led them to pull support. For now, at least.

    I have been doing some checking, though, and I don’t find that many insurance carriers who cover ED prescriptions in the state. I think that the comparison to Viagra doesn’t apply, as it is a false equivalence to birth control coverage. I get that people like to make the comparison because The Pill is prescribed for women, but there are many issues involved in both ED and and birth control that are far too nuanced for the issue of prescriptions related to sexuality.

    First, ED is not limited to old men. Some men run into it for various reasons even at a young age and men who have trouble with erections have found a great relief in not having this be an issue in their relationships; or have even found themselves avoiding relationships because of it. Gay men use pills for ED as much as straight men. ED and birth control benefit members of both sexes and are separate issues of sexuality.

    Secondly, generic versions of most ED treatments are available in other countries besides the United States, but they are restricted from direct sale here (although they can be imported from foreign pharmacies) and so they are still very expensive.

    I think it is a disservice to men and their partners who are affected by ED to paint it is a form of old males asserting sexual privilege to bring it into the contraceptive debate.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    Granted, the “meanness” aspect needs to be discussed, but could we maybe wait until after we’ve prevented a regression of thirty to forty years of women’s rights?

    Thank you!

    Seems like Limbaugh has bamboozled Radford in one respect: Limbaugh wants people to accept the content of his ranting and accept that the outrage over it is all about his use of naughty words. It’s not. It’s about a crappy argument that deliberately misrepresents the issue, and an expression of the sexual double standard. The problem with Limbaugh isn’t that he’s “mean”. The problem is he’s a liar and a misogynist.

  14. 14
    nemothederv

    Future generations that bother to look back on this will wonder why anyone thought that Rush was important in the first place. How will we explain when they ask us?

  15. 15
    julian

    How will we explain when they ask us?

    People are clucking stupid and gravitate towards those who proudly and unapologetically reinforce their views on the world. Rush Limbaugh being a gloating, evil man with no concern for others was able to speak to a segment of the US population that was frustrated with having to work towards equality, the erosion of their white Christian world, the normalization of alternative and nonbinary forms of viewing sexuality and resented seeing nonwhite, nonmasculine faces in positions of power.

  16. 16
    Stan Cornel

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