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Banned In China

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letterman Again

As Tbogg said apparently making fun of the crazed snowbilly family from up North, is now beyond the pale. How can making fun of an eighteen year old who got knocked up by her (now) ex-boyfriend and then became a public spokes person for abstinence be beyond the pale?

This eighteen year old is an adult and has decided to make herself a public figure. Her family decided to make her a public figure last year and did so. So she is fair game. Hell you think that she doesn't make money being a public figure, and telling kids "Don't fuck, see what happened to me." (Don't give me bullshit that Letterman was talking about the younger one. That is a high school debating position taken by the right wing for political gain and power, not a real statement of belief.)

But, beyond that the (for the most part) luke warm support of Letterman by many on the left is just kind of sad. "Well, he was offensive, but I kind of sort of will say that while we as a group should take the high road, I guess I think that he should be able to say what he wants. Sort of."

Fred Clark's essays on the Proctor and Gamble Satanism rumors makes a lot of very good points. I think he misses one, which is that most of it is about power. I think that the false outrage of the right on so many things is very close to these kind of simply not to be believed rumors (urban legends?) spread mostly by the right. If we can close that day care center, if we can make Proctor and Gamble explain and go to our religious leaders for clearance then we've shown our power.

It's the same with these outrages. If we can make Duncan Donuts and Rachel Ray withdraw that ad, if we can make Letterman cower and apologize then we have shown our power. It is not just that they need to show their power, but it translates into real power at some point. You get major media players and politicians withdrawing and explaining what they said and essentially crawling to the right for absolution of something that really, in a rational world, should not be a problem rightwingers have more leverage the next time.

They do not use up their power with these fake outrages they actually make themselves stronger. If we let these things continue on with no serious push back I think we are screwed. And by serious push back I do not include explaining first: "Well, it was a tasteless joke, but I still defend to, well not the death, but you know kind of until it becomes uncomfortable, his right to say it." They win, we lose.

Do you think that anyone who has a real platform will dare make another joke about Palin for a long time? I think not. Set game match. For today.

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