Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pimp this post - Updated

By Libby

I wasn't going to blog about David Shuster's remarkably thoughtless off the cuff remark about Chelsea Clinton but in reading over the reactions, a couple of points come to mind. First of all, as AttyTood aptly points out, this is not the worst thing that has ever been said about Chelsea. I remember some rather awful things being said about her as a teenager in the White House and Will unearths a particularly loathsome remark made by John McCain himself.

Secondly, the connation of pimping has changed and the word is routinely used in ways that have nothing to do with prostitution, at least in the plying of the oldest profession sense of the word. I mean isn't there a TV program called something like Pimp my Ride? It's a hip expression now, not a dirty word. Shuster's real offense was in suggesting that there was something wrong or unusual in having a candidate's family member do some politicking. That point I think is being lost in the obsessing over the language he used to convey a false point.

Furthermore, by rights, guys like Chris Matthews should have been kicked off the airwaves long ago for much more egregiously sexist remarks that were couched in more polite language. Making Shuster the scapegoat draws the line in the wrong place and provides cover for the Matthews of the pundit class. It implies a simple grudging apology will do as long as street talk isn't used to ply their misogyny.

Lastly, I think the furor over this will cause more harm than good and I wonder if the rapid removal of Shuster isn't really a subtle plot to discredit progressives. It fuels the whole meme on the redmeat side of the fence that paints the PC/feminist crowd as overly sensitive nannies who want to outlaw free expression in order to protect themselves from every mild offense. It's difficult to argue otherwise when the term "blogwhoring" is an acceptable use of language widely employed in Leftopia. The furor then begins to take on a air of "it's okay when a leftie does it."

I guess it's too late now, since the tempest has already blown through the news cycle, but I fear we'll live to regret making an issue of this.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

Update: My colleague at The Reaction, J. Thomas Duffy posts the full transcript of the segment to put the damning quote in context and notes that Jane Hamsher is also pretty much on the same page as we are about this little brouhaha.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your take on this and I agree that it can be easily viewed as an attempt by the left to blow up a minor issue.

I wish the Clinton campaign had just come back with something catchy and left it at that. Perhaps something about McCain being seen buying kneepads every time he has to visit the president, or reference to what that bulge in his cheek looks like.

Seriously, at this point in these ridiculous campaigns the gloves are off and we will hear much of this personal, completely irrelevant drivel but both sides.

Does any of it really matter? I think not. Americans don't vote for the best candidate anyway. They vote for who gives them the best spin, even when they know its all crap.

If I was running, I would promise to put every American on National TV for 10 minutes to say or do whatever they want. I could never do it but I would win the election.

5:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I can't go back and correct the typos in my comments. I'll have to be more careful the first time.

5:47:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I'm finding we're not the only two who agree. And I don't worry about typos in comments, as should be obvious. I don't correct unless I've skipped a word or phrase that renders the meaning the opposite of what I intended. Otherwise, I figure with a body of work as large as we have, a few typos don't imply illiteracy.

7:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is going to end up turning her in to a sex symbol

10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Anything is possible Lester

2:20:00 PM  

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