In 1972 George Carlin (RIP) told the story about being fired in Vegas for saying the word “s**t”…”when the biggest game in town was craps.”
Carlin was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, but I loved him because he had an incredible love of words and their many uses. In 1972 he did a monologue called “Seven Words you Can’t say on Television.” I won’t repeat them here, but Wikipedia has dedicated a whole page to it plus the current FTC position on those words, since they haven’t changed much, even though the culture has.
You can hear the original 1972 monologue as well as watch a later 2008 video. I invite you to do so, only because Carlin uses words as funny objects of our culture, while later so-called humorists attempt to use them as weapons. The differnces are clear.
There’s a bigger point here, for some of the words mentioned by Carlin are in more common use today, which mean the culture has coarsened, while others are still verboten, except on cable (where Maher haunts), and maybe Hollywood or New York cocktail parties, where coarseness never goes out of style.
Point: “Slut” was never on the list but they’re trying to get it on an unofficial list now.
But Bill Maher’s favorite c-word for Sarah Palin is.
Most importantly, “liar” is not on that list either, and for Republicans and conservatives, this has been on the politically incorrect list for years, for its absence began the coarsening of political speech in America. Follow me.
The reason I raise this issue now is that, once again, chatterers from the liberal media are wringing their hands indignantly about the “coarsening of political speech,” this time because Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut. They are trying to rank “disapproving words” up there with the Seven Words that will curl your spine if you ever say on TV.
Only this time public opinion has quickly rolled back over on Maher and his scatological attacks on Palin, and others for similar ones on Michelle Bachman, Laura Ingraham, or, if you want to travel back, to Lady Thatcher, Sister Theresa, Linda Tripp and Paula Jones. I think the worse thing they ever said about Monica Lewinsky is that she was a “humdinger.”
The fact is, and it is not hard to prove, the coarsening of political speech in America is both a cultural and political bastard of the Left. It arose from the soul of the Left since the 60s, and people like Maher, who has to try to make a living appearing clever, must purvey to the potty side of the better-educated, lower classed consumers walking his side of the street.
It’s what he does.
How that generation came to be:
I used to hang out with some student revolutionaries and will offer up a little bit of a stereotype here, from having sat in some of their sessions during a campus takeover at my university in 1970, and having hoisted a few with them elsewhere. David Horowitz could confirm much of this.
None of them were from working class origins, they all came from affluent, professional or academic classes. They bought all their clothes at thrift stores…until the finer shops started carrying tie-dyes and pre-bleached jeans with holes in the knee, off the rack.
They had all been “different” in school, as they were very smart in the testing sort of way, but also naive about a lot of little things most kids growing up in neighborhoods and schools where the classes mixed, found commonplace. Obama is this way. (This is why you should never let a Harvard grad check your tire pressure.)
I found that almost all had built an entire religion of self around the pettiest of personal whims and appetites. They could justify anything they believed or wanted to believe, and always footnoted this belief, as they got older, with citations from a university study of dubious origins, Jung, Marx, and Hegel.
In the 1970s these children were often called “alienists” and indeed, they seemed to live perpetually under a cloud, endlessly filling the air with bilge about the things they hated.
About those Seven Words, alienists never used them like ordinary mule-skinners or dock workers might, but rather as someone who had just learned a new word, running it over the lips and tongue in a variety of ways to determine its greatest effect. In every sentence in which they used one of those words, the emphasis in the sentence was that word. Often “that word” was the sole purpose for the sentence, since there’s no sense to merely call someone “stupid” if you could landscape it with an invective adjective.
Today, for kids still coming from that same sort of environment, Cliffs Notes comics like Maher are gods of the well-termed phrase, limited to probably no more than 10-12 dirty words to surround everything they think and feel.
I say all this because we’re still not sure “slut” is suddenly the sort of s-word political correctness demands we can’t say out loud anymore, to be put up there next to the n-word and f-word and a host of others that can cost you your job.
With Sandra Fluke, is the Left forgiving the sinner here, or are they, as they often like to do, trying to forgive the sin by saying ‘there’s no wrong here”?
After years of seeing bimbos stereotyped in sitcoms (especially) and beer commercials, are we suddenly being told we can no longer be judgmental if they, instead of busting out of a tight white sequined dress at Booty’s Sports Bar, or as eye (and bed) candy from a Two and Half Men episode, they stride before us demurely dressed, making a serious statement before a faux congressional committee.
Is sluttery suddenly a crime of venue? Is slut now defined by where you made your liaison instead of where you ended up for the night?
Slut and tramp were words my mother used. Guys didn’t use that term except possibly with a little expectation of a reward. My mother used these terms to advise my sister, not me, “Don’t be that girl.” The Left now wants us to think those words only conjure up images of the girls that Charlie Harper hooked up with weekly (who, being a sexist and misogynist, had to be a right-winger)…and not those refined ladies from Georgetown Law (soon to be seen in a 10-page Playboy photo-feature), who start every bump-and- grind liaison with a fine bottle of chardonnay at Paolo’s. From “easy” to “courtesan,” depending how lucky these bistro rounders get, even literature, had a name for them and a place for them in society, just as camp fiction does for the Tri Delts at Cancun this month.
The public backlash to Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke resolved most of this debate, for clearly, most young women agree that a tramp by any other name, is still a slut and they don’t want to be perceived that way. Sandra Fluke induced a lot of girls to get on the wagon.
This leaves only one more issue to resolve:
The difference between name-calling and fact-telling and the original source of coarsened political language.
Here I have to come to Maher and Co’s defense, if only a little, to make a BIG, BIG distinction between what Bill Maher and others have said about Sarah Palin (and others) versus what Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke.
You see, Maher, et al, were engaged in name calling. That’s all. We all do it, only few of us do it front of a camera or a mic, and fewer still with such a limited vocabulary but who still think we’re cool.
For instance, I call Pelosi (and several other lefties) “bitch” all the time, but when I stop to think about it, in a court of law, I could only prove that charge against Hillary Clinton. And bastard or son-of-a-bitch? Hell, when I was a kid you’d get a broken nose for defaming another kid’s mother, but these days, we don’t even know who they are.
These are just names. True facts are not involved….although maybe they should be.
But Rush Limbaugh did not call Sandra Fluke a name you can’t say on TV. He was not name-calling. He did not gratuitously reach into his bag of dirty words and pull one out at random. He was explaining specific conduct in a real-world cultural context. While crude, perhaps, I don’t think there is a kind and gentle way to tell the world that a self-described woman of easy virtue is anything other but a woman of easy virtue…who also wants to be subsidized for being a woman of easy virtue.
Anyone want to debate this?
What is really coarse in our political world today is that Sandra Fluke could go in front of national cameras, inviting herself into my home, at a place most informed citizens dwell, the national news network (not Hoarders or Catfish Flippers on Channel 69) to tell me of her active sex life, and that I (and Rush Limbaugh, and you) should pay for her contraception.
She told me news I didn’t need to know, and defined herself in a way, that quite frankly, Mr Obama, her parents cannot possibly be proud about…unless of course they are from Joe Biden’s home district in Delaware.
She described the conduct, we only named it. Words.
This is the coarsening of political language in America, and it all began when, many years ago, presidents and members of the Democrat Congress, on a daily basis began coming before the American people, and lied. Ad nauseum. Virtually everything coming out of Bill Clinton’s mouth was a lie…and by lie, I mean factual lie. He was so bad if he said the sky was blue you still felt the need to peep outside just to be sure.
The Democrat congress since they took control in 2007 has been almost as brazen, and on far more weightier truths than many of the childish, gratuitously lies Clinton told.
And in recent weeks, Obama has doubled, even tripled down on Clinton’s lies, as his situation analysis from oil reserves, to taxes, to contraception to the price of eggs in China are lies piled on lies.
Anyone want to debate his?
But because of what happened to Joe Wilson during the 2009 State of the Union address, when he accidentally expressed a private thought and called Obama a liar out loud, and got a little of what Rush Limbaugh got, enough to cause the GOP leadership to restock on Depends, the coarsening of American politics got much worse, much worse than calling Sandra Fluke a slut .
The source of all the coarsening of political language in America is the un-called lie.
I say we get back to the truth.
Political correctness is all about demanding people overlook wrongdoing, so don’t overlook it.
And if the Left can’t take a joke, fluke ’em.