Last night, as you may have heard, Jon Stewart ripped into Keith Olbermann on the Daily Show. Here is the relevant clip:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Special Comment – Keith Olbermann’s Name-Calling|
Fundamentally, I agree with the entire “Keith Olbermann is rather a pompous jackass” conceit of the thing. I’m not fond of punditry of any kind: it strikes me as crass and artless, and every time I happen to flit by Olbermann’s show and he does one of his self-aggrandizing Special Comments, I usually have to change the channel. (Yeah, even the gay marriage one that everybody else loved bothered me, because all I could hear was “Blah blah blah LOVE” (without defining, you know, “love”) when I should have been hearing “Gay people are human beings.” (But then I’m a crochety old lady, I know.) I’m just going to come right out and say it: even when people are espousing principles I believe in, if they’re being blowhards, I could give a rat’s ass about what’s coming out of their mouths.
I nonetheless found myself unhappy that this particular rant appears to have been inspired by outrage that Olbermann called Scott Brown sexist and supportive of violence against women, citing this incident. I haven’t much opinion on what happened at that rally, but where I come from, politically speaking, I don’t really care whether you heard a rape threat against your opponent or not. When it is covered, later on, you come out to denounce it.
But apparently, in the Daily Show weltanschauung, if you have daughters that you love, you are immune to charges of sexism unless liberal dudes deem them of some unarticulated sufficient level of seriousness. They will have to be way more serious than the tacit sanction of a rape threat to overcome the daughters that you love and offered up for auction in your election speech!
I’m not sure how many times we have to say this, but Jon et al? No matter your personal deep and abiding love for certain people of the lady persuasion, we live in a culture in which someone can yell a rape threat out at a candidate’s rally and not have that be taken seriously by either the candidate or anyone else. We also live in one where a male candidate can appear in a beefcake magazine spread that would single-handedly torpedo a woman’s career. These happen to be facts that pertain to Scott Brown himself, but I could cite a hundred others that don’t, because we live in a culture that is dripping with sexism every day of the week. And far more irritatingly, we live in a culture that is in denial about that, denial to which you are contributing every time the only thing that really ruffles your feathers about someone like Keith Olbermann is that he had the audacity to call someone sexist. Late last year he called Michelle Malkin (who I also dislike! don’t worry) some much worse things, as you point out: a mashed-up bag of meat, for example – but that didn’t inspire you to a wild defense? In fact it’s worse, more baseless to call Scott Brown “sexist”?
Sometimes I think it’s the smaller slings and arrows that really hurt us: the everyday casual dismissals of the notion that women are human beings worth treating as such. The big things we can organize around. But the overall thrust of this culture, where sexism is denied on a daily (heh) basis? I really don’t know how we’re gonna manage to end that.
Update: Someone wrote in to point out that “retard” was used as a slur in this episode, for added Liberal Dude laughs.