Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rush's Rush to Judgement Redux

Friday, July 12, I drove six hours from my old home to my new one having been present for the closing on that old place. Preoccupied by memories of the past and hopes for the future, I completely missed the fact that part of the Will Rogers Turnpike Midway had become piles of rubble. The fuel tanks are gone and MacDonald’s has moved out, but I didn’t know any of that until my husband asked me about it later. He was in a different vehicle traveling the same road about 5 hours behind me.

What really caught my attention was Rush Limbaugh, a radio voice I never, ever seek, but one that I stumble upon now and then. That’s what happened on July 12. I was in that vast Heartland twilight zone of evangelicals, country music, and talk radio. I’d let the “Seek” button rest when I found local news, but this was only temporary--the five-minute or less recap at the top or bottom of the hour--maybe both, for all I know.

Rush began speaking, but I didn’t recognize his voice. I wasn’t expecting it; I was prepared for local news only. Soon, however, I realized no one else on the planet--except Glen Beck and Ditto-heads--would lisp as he does, speak the words he does, or sling mockery as he does. Here’s a sample:
  • Feminimsm exists to level the playing field between attractive and unattractive.
  • Feminism is militant liberalism.

Yes, he really, actually, literally spoke those words. Unbelievable.

In the interest of full disclosure, if I must agree to a label, I’ll accept feminist as my own, but many people who know me believe they’ve met few folks in the Heartland as liberal as I. But militant? Never! Unless, of course, you believe that extending Constitutional protections to the female gender is a militant idea.

I furthermore reject Rush's claim that feminists are unattractive. Would anyone label Gloria Steinem? So I can’t accept the notion that “feminism exists to level the playing field between attractive and unattractive.”

But Rush doesn’t mind hasty generalization and ad hominem. You might say that both propaganda devices are his trademark. He was also preaching to his ditto-head choir about an Iowa Supreme Court ruling after James Knight, a dentist, fired his assistant with ten years stellar service in his dental practice, for being too attractive. Melissa Nelson, the woman with ten years invested in her career, the woman deemed irresistible, was incredulous and asked the all male Iowa Supremes to reconsider. They agreed, but ruled as they had the first time.

James and his wife, Jeanne, believed that Melissa, a married woman and mother of two, was a “threat to their marriage” so James fired Melissa. And the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the termination.

"Welcome to the Dental Clinic," © Agencyby | Dreamstime.com

Nothing in the story suggests that Melissa behaved as siren, luring James to his doom in order to replace Jeanne, but she did cross the line from professional to personal by texting her dentist-boss. Like Tiger Woods, James was outed by his wife’s discovery of those text messages, some of which discussed sex in Melissa’s marriage to which the dentist replied, lamenting that Melissa is like a Lamborghini hidden away in a garage when it should be driven often and, it seems, hard.

James also crossed professional lines and employer-employee guidelines by confessing that a bulge in his pants was the result of Melissa’s tight-fitting clothing. He confessed that he might not be able to resist taking that Lamborghini for a test-drive, leaving Jeanne and James no choice but to eliminate the temptation.

What James and Jeanne seem to believe is that a man is incapable of not acting upon his impulses. This is the same rationale for the role many woman have been forced to play in courtrooms across the nation: they have been called upon to defend their clothing choices and decisions to enter certain places or even have a drink because clothes and/or neighborhoods and/or adult beverages are a factor in questions of rape and sexual molestation and harassment. Men, poor things, are just creatures of instinct, biological foremost among them. They can’t help themselves so get thee behind me, Woman, is their only recourse.


And Rush, of Sandra Fluke infamy, feeds the myth: men are entitled, and wives, be wise and beware. Protect your property. Keep that man from harm because he just can’t help himself.