nothin's scarier than a blank page

28 May 2011


Reading far-Right and far-Left blogs & blog comments all day.
Result: anxiety attack; general feeling of listless dread; lack of faith in humanity, country, future
No desire to leave the house ever again

Ed Schultz is a Talk Slut

Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a talk slut.  He was attempting to point out perceived hypocrisy; Ed Schultz claimed she criticized Obama for drinkin' beer overseas but praised Reagan for the same actions.  (Note: according to Wikipedia, Laura Ingraham's media career began in the late 1990s, a decade after Reagan left office.)
Here's what Laura Ingraham said
“I do think of the disconnect and maybe the tone-deafness, if you will, of that devastation from Missouri. Heart-breaking pictures and then President Obama lifting the glass of Guinness. There’s something about that, that I think hits people in the gut. . . . Maybe the Irish part of the trip could have been put off to another day.”
Talk Slut, indeed!!
Ed Schultz promptly offered an apology in which he offered to take himself off-air for an indefinite amount of time.  He is "deeply sorry" for using "vile and inappropriate language" (emphasis added).  He "recognizes the severity of what he said."  He wants to take "full responsibility" for what he said.  He says he talked to his sons "about character, about dignity, and about the truth. And I tell you the truth tonight that I am deeply sorry."  He spends four minutes apologizing to any and everyone.  "I know that I have let a lot of people down."   (For full text of his apology, scroll down.)

My favorite: "The only way that I can prove my sincerity to you is to never use those words again."
Because, see, it's all about the WORDS he used, not the meaning behind them.  Bad Ed, Bad Boy!  You called her a slut!  "Slut" is a dirty word!  "Slut" is a disrespectful word!
What is a slut?  Generally, people use this word to describe a woman who is sexually promiscuous, who rejects monogamous standards of morality, and whose identity is based on her sexual activity.  The term has negative connotations.  The term is used to describe women, and feminist theory often discusses the lack of a masculine counterpart.  ("Why are women called sluts while men are called studs?") highlights this issue with its #1 rated "slut" definition: "a woman with the morals of a man".    
But Ed qualified his insult.  He called her a TALK slut.
What is a talk slut?  Only Ed can know for certain, but I'll take a stab at it.  A regular slut's slutty actions are sexual.  A talk slut's slutty actions are verbal.  So a talk slut is loose with their words, rejects the customary code of polite behavior in society, and has an identity based on their bombastic musings.  A slut-slut will sleep with anyone.  A talk-slut will say anything.
During his four minute apology, Ed Schultz never once apologizes for the meaning of his words.  He never says that he does NOT think that Laura Ingraham is a talk slut.  He spends the majority of the time taking "full responsibility" for something he presumably still believes to be true.  Sounds like a talk slut to me.  He may vow to never use those words again, but that won't stop him from accusing women of doing the exact same thing upon which he has built his career.
Ed Schultz made it clear in his statement that he spoke with his sons about the truth, and the truth is that "I am deeply sorry."  The truth is not that Laura Ingraham isn't a talk slut.  The truth is that he's sorry.  The words he chose were wrong, but he apparently stands behind the message.  Not once does he make a statement about Laura Ingraham's integrity, smarts, etc.  We're supposed to be bowled over by him addressing his words, and he's hoping we just ignore their meanings.  Ain't that sweet?
It reminds me of the old joke about a student who asks his professor, "Can you penalize me for what I think?" to which the professors says no.  The student then says, "Professor, I think you're an ass."
The feminist argument about Schultz's rhetoric, of course, is that he first criticized a general "they", and when he wanted to find a specific target to criticize, he chose a woman.  He used the word slut, because it's the go-to word to define a woman in a negative light.  I'm sure MSNBC loves seeing sexism blatantly on display on their network, and Ed Schultz would have fared much better if he had somehow addressed this subject directly in his apology.  Instead, he went on and on about being sorry yet never really said what he was sorry about.  (It makes one wonder if he is sorry at all, but that doesn't really matter.)  Again, he's not sorry for relying upon sexism to prop up bullying rhetoric.  He's not sorry for the underlying sentiments and mindset related to his choice of target and his choice of words...  He's just sorry for using that word.  

On May 25th, Laura Ingraham tweeted, "MSNBC suspends Ed Schultz.  Oh great, now his ratings will go up."
Compare that to Ed Schultz's babbling apology.  Who looks like more of a talk slut to you?

---text of Ed's Apology---
Good evening, Americans and welcome to The Ed Show from New York tonight. Thomas Roberts will be here tonight anchoring the program, but first I want to take some time to offer an apology. On my radio show yesterday I used vile and inappropriate language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.

It doesn't matter what the circumstances were. It doesn't matter that it was on radio and I was ad-libbing. None of that matters. None of that matters. What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards that I or any other person should adhere to. I want all of you to know tonight that I did call Laura Ingraham today and did not make contact with her and I will apologize to her as I did in the message that I left her today.
I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay. I want to apologize to Laura Ingraham. I want to apologize to my family, my wife. I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company.
And I have been in this business since 1978, and I have made a lot of mistakes. This is the lowest of low for me. I stand before you tonight in front of this camera in this studio in an environment that I absolutely love. I love working here. I love communicating with all of you on the radio and the communication that I have with you when I go out and do town hall meetings and meet the people that actually watch. I stand before you tonight to take full responsibility for what I said and how I said it, and I am deeply sorry.
My wife is a wonderful woman. We have a wonderful family. And with six kids and eight grandkids, I try to set an example. In this moment, I have failed. And I want you to know that I talked to my sons especially about character and about dignity and about the truth. And I tell you the truth tonight that I am deeply sorry and I tell them every day that they have to live up to standards if they want to be a successful human being in life. And I have let them down. I have never been in this position before to the point where it has affected so many people. And I know that I have let a lot of people down.
To the staff here at MSNBC, I apologize for embarrassing the company and the only way that I can really make restitution for you is to give you a guarantee, and the only way that I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. Tonight, you have my word that I won't. Laura Ingraham, I am sorry. Very sorry. I'll be back with you in the coming days. 

ADDED: Ingraham accepted Schultz's apology.

CBS Cashes in on Palin

In the article Ups, downs for White House of a Palin Candidacy, CBS notes that while Palin is "quite unpopular" among independents, "her entrance into the race would create a lot of interest in the Republican field".  So, Palin isn't worthy of the WH herself, but since the MSM flocks to her, she could make other GOP candidates look more appealing than Obama.

Yes, there is a constant media buzz around Palin.  The MSM fails to recognize that their buzz provides her with the platform to reverse people's opinions about her.  America indeed seems to be fascinated by Mama Grizzly, for better or worse.  Is it so impossible to think that she might -- MIGHT -- be able to use that platform to transform public opinion?

The rest of the article mentions other candidates, using Palin as a launchpad.  The "downs [for the WH]" of a Palin pre-nomination candidacy is that it draws attention to Pawlenty, Romney, Bachmann...  

If Palin is not a real threat to the Democrats and Obama, why does CBS spend so much time focusing on her in this article which clearly explains that she doesn't have a chance?

What is it about Sarah Palin that makes her so fascinating yet so polarizing?  Why does the media continue to give her press if they think she is, ultimately, not worthy of serious attention?