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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Media Moment : Rush To Judgment

This is rotund radio personality Rush Limbaugh speaking today, on the International Day Against Human Trafficking. Naturally, since Rush finds rape amusing, he's not talking about that. Today he is launching an attack on opponents of Sarah Palin, this time comparing members of the professional right to rape victims. 

 "Sarah Palin, were the ones who got smeared, not the other way around. And Halperin said, well they should have just turned the other cheek and stopped defending themselves, and they would have shut this thing all down. So yeah, just, that's what they used to tell women who were raped, wasn't it? Just sit back and enjoy it, put some ice on it, like Clinton said, put some ice on the lip, you asked for it, your dress asked for it, just sit back and enjoy it. Isn't that how they used to tell raped women to deal with it?" 

This isn't the first time that Rush as likened himself or the right to rape victims, in fact, his show is frequently littered with rhetoric about being buttsexed by Obama. But I'm confused as to why he thinks rape is such a bad thing now when he openly laughs at victims of the crime on air. 

The fact of the matter is that the United States has the second-highest rate of rape in the industrialized world. In fact, you are 19 times more likely to be raped in a city of 100,000 people in the U.S. than in a city of the same size in Canada. Rape is a serious hate crime against vulnerable people, not a term to be used flippantly as Rush so often does. When people make victims into entertainment and entertainers into victims, definitions become skewed and complacency is fertilized. Rape is not a joke, not a cute metaphor to be used whenever a right-wing fuckwit's tactics are scrutinized. It is a serious term for a horrifying crime and should be restricted to the most horrendous of criminal actions. 

Rush Limbaugh needs to be pulled from the air, this I am sure of. But he's not the only person who uses the word rape to describe something he objects to. We need to collectively stop calling bad music ear rape, stop talking about politicians bending us over; we must arrest the inappropriate usage of words, particularly those that have tremendous inflammatory potential. 

Words matter.

P.S., Rush- Sirhan isn't Muslim. He's a Christian anti-zionist who was even born Christian. Research matters.

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