So Bill Maher is speaking up for embattled Rush Limbaugh. Advertising revenues, like politics, certainly make strange bedfellows.
Recently Maher twittered a plea against going after Limbaugh's advertisers, now fleeing Limbaugh in response to outrage over his attack on a young woman for standing up for women's rights. Maher tells us he's not comfortable with the effort to cut off Rush's advertising and thus limit free speech.
The First Amendment applies to everyone, not just paid-to-talk folks like Maher and Limbaugh. The Big One, as the First is known among those of us who love it, certainly protects the right of the rest of us to answer back when attacked. And when Limbaugh went after that one woman, he went after all of us women.
We're mad as hell and we aren't going to take it any more!
But this isn't the movies. Just yelling that out our windows doesn't do much. Not when the likes of Rush Limbaugh have a virtual stranglehold on the radio airways to spread their hate, lies, and filth.
And his statements about Sandra Fluke were indeed libelous. But a suit against Limbaugh isn't the answer. The landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan sets some pretty high hurdles for a defamed public figure to meet in order to succeed in such a suit. Sandra Fluke could have a very hard time making it over these hurdles. And the rest of us women probably have no standing to sue even though we too were the targets of Limbaugh's attack.
So what's our recourse? If Big Brother is monopolizing the airwaves and inciting men against us, it's not enough for us individually to tune to another station or channel. That's the empty bromide always offered by the left. It would be like comforting African Americans in the bad old days by advising them not to attend Ku Klux Klan meetings if they disagreed with the Klan's planning for their lynching.
Let us not kid ourselves. We women face more than harsh public opinion when Limbaugh and his ilk are allowed to diminish us. The deformed "maleness" that thrives on the spewings of Limbaugh is already prone to bashing women as it is. Shrinking us down even further as the despised "other" encourages the kind of male dominance that wants to "smack the little lady into line." Behind all male v. female battles over women's status is the ultimate threat of male violence. When push comes to shove, the most twisted men in Limbaugh's audience will do more than push and shove. They will beat your brains out.
I have little doubt that somewhere in America, right this very minute, a woman is paying a cruel price for Limbaugh's tirade. Somewhere a "macho" maniac is possibly acting out the anti-female rage that Limbaugh has fed.
Limbaugh has now classified ALL women who defend their rights, not just as "feminazis", but by the same terms he applied to Sandra Fluke. We who speak up for ourselves are possibly all like her in the minds of some of his male audience. Thus we share the professional status Limbaugh and his twisted male audience accord her. So ask any cop or prostitute how physically dangerous the "oldest profession" is. Because that's the label we all now wear. We are all fair game for violence if Limbaugh is allowed to get away without severe punishment.
Therefore, in the interest of their own safety and their own right to freedom of speech, women did what they had to do. They pressured advertisers to pull the plug on Limbaugh. We have no freedom of speech if we can be drowned out by his mighty megaphone or silenced by intimidation. In a society based in large measure on the Almighty Dollar, women had to hit the sweet spot: the money.
Maher doesn't like this because he reportedly lost a job once due to his on-air comments. Well, Bill, did you ever hear of having the courage of your convictions? If you want to be insulated from any and all consequences for what you say, then you are a coward.
The Klan consists of cowards, guys who mask their identity with bed sheets. From time to time, the Klan gets active in my area. All eight of them turn out for a march, and several hundred good-but-far-right evangelical local folks turn out in opposition. My far-right neighbors aren't free of prejudice, but they know evil when they see it and have the guts to oppose it.
Uneducated and narrow-minded as they are, they are a lot smarter than Bill Maher and a whole lot more sophisticated.
So pull your head in from your window, Bill, and shut the window and shut your mouth. This isn't your fight. And it's not about your job or Limbaugh's. It's about women being free to speak and being free of the threat of violent retaliation.
"I am woman, hear me roar...." We roar in anger in the only way open to us.
We can't out-shout you media men. And we aren't as strong physically as men if push comes to physical beatings. But we do hold a lot of purse strings. Like the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy used to say in the heat of the Civil Rights struggle, "You gotta use what you got!"
And we are!
Yes, we can! Yes, we will!
We ain't going back into the box. Not ever! I spent my younger life there and fought my way free. Going back is just not going to happen.
Free at last! Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!
So stuff your tweety twitters into your money-lined nest, Bill, and get out of our way! STOP TELLING WOMEN WHAT TO DO!