Essay: Flukes and Sluts

Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke argued before a congressional committee that the insurance provided to her by Georgetown (a Catholic institution) should cover the cost of contraception . . . and, furthermore, that the government should mandate that it does. In response, Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut”—provoking howls of outrage from liberals. Limbaugh’s remark is indeed offensive. Not because of the language–where was the howling when Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a “dumb twat”?–but because of the logic. How does the desire to have your contraceptive costs covered by insurance equate–as Limbaugh claims it does–to the desire to be paid for sex? Go ahead and fault Limbaugh for his reasoning. But spare me the self-righteous indignation over the language.

2 thoughts on “Essay: Flukes and Sluts”

  1. Fluke was not a shrinking violet uncovered by Democrats to share her views on contraception with Congress. She was a frequent activist who came to their attention for a speech on the subject at the National Press Club. She was originally nixed as an expert witness by Congressional Republicans on the altogether sensible grounds that the hearing they'd called was about religious freedom, not contraception per se, so she had no expertise on the subject. Democrats later called a second hearing–on contraception–and invited her to testify . . . a full week AFTER she'd appeared on the Ed Show on MSNBC to complain about being nixed by Republicans. So unless you're arguing that political activists and commentators are not public figures, I just don't buy the distinction in this case.

  2. You're comparing apples and oranges here, Mark (or grapefruits.) Sarah Palin is a public figure and calling her, or any other politician, for that matter, is fair game. They are in the public eye and it comes with the territory. This young woman was not a public figure (unless by testifying in front of congress you deem her that (though I suspect most courts would not qualify her any more than they would qualify the victim of a crime written up in the NY Post as a public figure.) What Limbaugh did (or any other commentator) was create a chilling effect for anyone going forward with their views. And even Rush apologized for his language.
    Besides, even if it were true just of liberals, that does not mean it's all right for conservatives to do the same. I hate to bring up this old saw, but two wrongs do not make a right, or a left.

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