HERE’S THE OUTRAGE: Laws of the tribe!

SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2012

Epilogue—The silence of Romney, ourselves: At long last, Gail Collins is upset with something else about Candidate Romney.

Today, she’s upset because he didn’t criticize Rush Limbaugh strongly enough.

We’ll admit it. Reading Collins’ most recent columns has almost made us ill. That’s because we’re blessed with the vision fearless Cassandra once had:
COLLINS (3/10/12): If Romney couldn’t take a clear stand on Rush Limbaugh’s Slutgate, why would he say anything that forthright unless it was a total error? This is why we can’t get the dog-on-the-car-roof story straightened out. The reporters have their hands full just figuring out Mitt’s position on the biggest controversy of the last month.
It isn’t just the dog on the roof of the car! Romney wouldn’t even take a clear stand on Slutgate. (Good God.) He wasn’t even forthright about that!

This complaint about Romney’s conduct has been widespread this week on MSNBC, The One True Liberal Channel. Before we offer a reaction, we want to review Scott Lemieux’s reaction to something we wrote on Wednesday—in particular, concerning some things he says we said or implied.

On Thursday, Scott commented on Michael Kinsley’s column about the Limbaugh matter. He added these points about the conduct of the wider liberal world:
LEMIEUX (3/8/12): Relatedly, I would also recommend Irin Carmon, who notes that feminists have in fact frequently criticized the more progressive misogynists now being cited as tu quoques. And while Bob Somerby is right about MSNBC’s sexism issues, he’s wrong to nobody else in the “liberal world” is willing to discuss this in public. If you’re going to imply, for example, that Rebecca Traister is a hypocrite and sellout only willing to criticize MSNBC hosts on listervs, you might want to spend a minute or two looking into whether she’s, say, written an (excellent) book that extensively discusses the sexist treatment Hillary Clinton received at the hands of Olberman et al.
For the record, there’s a typo in Scott’s piece. Did we say that nobody else in the “liberal world” is willing to discuss this in public? Did we merely imply that claim? The verb is missing from Scott’s sentence.

On to a direct statement:

Did we imply that Rebecca Traister is a hypocrite and sellout only willing to criticize MSNBC hosts on listervs? We’re fairly sure we didn’t say that, though you can judge these points for yourselves. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/9/12. (Be careful when people report what someone implied without presenting what they said. We tend to present long clunky block-quotes to obviate this problem.)

That said, we were struck by Scott’s remarks on the wider behavior of the liberal world regarding “MSNBC’s sexism,” about which he says we are right.

If we’re right, MSNBC has a lot of explaining to do! We wrote this week that MSNBC has been Misogyny Central in cable news over the past dozen years. But then, we’ve been writing about this channel’s bad conduct in this area since 1999.

Regarding Traister, we haven’t read her book, which may be superb, although its first few pages turned us off with all the indecision and crying on the part of the feminist protagonist. But in the part of our post to which Scott is reacting, we were discussing liberal reaction to one particular episode in which Olbermann’s conduct was especially egregious—his sliming of Carrie Prejean in 2009.

As we noted, some liberals and progressives apparently viewed this conduct the same way we did. Speaking in private on Journolist, they discussed this episode in terms of Olbermann’s “misogyny” and “contempt for women.” But as we noted, these people only stated these views in private. We have never been able to find any evidence that any of these people voiced such views about this conduct in public.

For what it’s worth, Traister didn’t publish any such views at Salon. (Who knows? Maybe she tried to do so, and her editors nixed it.) As best we can tell, no one criticized Olbermann for this episode at Salon—although there was a great deal of uproar at Open Salon concerning the laughable young woman who came from the other tribe, the worthless girl Olbermann slimed. The professional staff at Salon can’t exactly be blamed for the ratty outlook of Salon readers. But here are some of the headlines one quickly encounters if one searches “Carrie Prejean” at Salon:
Headlines from Open Salon, not from Salon itself:
Carrie Prejean Goes Down. Literally!
Tim Tebow, the male Carrie Prejean
Trump to Carrie Prejean: Try Porn
Carrie Prejean Owes Pageant $5200 for Her Melons
Carrie Prejean: Self-Bangin’ Porn Queen
BREAKING: Porn Slut Carrie Prejean Has 8 Sex Videos
Oops. There’s that S-word again! And just for the record, Prejean’s “melons” turn out to be her breasts! In fairness, Michael Musto did tell KO, on liberal air, that he wouldn’t call Prejean a cunt. So it’s not like our tribe had no standards!

Our lizard brains will quickly explain why all that crap was perfectly justified—and again, these headlines come from Open Salon, not from Salon itself. That said, our point remains: For whatever reason, a group of progressives expressed their strong distaste for what Olbermann was doing with Michael Musto in the early days of the Prejean pseudo-scandal. But as far as we have been able to tell, they only said these things in private.

Out in the public square, no one challenged the tribe.

Did Traister criticize Olbermann in her subsequent book, which appeared in 2011? We’ll take Scott’s word for that. But according to Scott, she criticized Olbermann for his ratty conduct toward Hillary Clinton. As everyone surely understands, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

Do we still refuse to see the way the tribe has always functioned? In his conduct toward Hillary Clinton, Olbermann was trashing one of our own. In his conduct toward Carrie Prejean, he was trashing one of theirs. And down through the annals of time, reaching back to prehistory, the tribe has always permitted attacks on the others, the smuttier the better.

It has always been the way of the tribe: You can slime the others as much as you like, in any manner you please. You can smut them up real good; you can unloose your Inner Misogynist. You just can’t do that to the tribe’s own—although the liberal world Lemieux defends endlessly permitted even that conduct over the past twenty years.

In his post, Scott suggests that the liberal world has been doing a pretty good job policing the misconduct of its own. This is a gob-smacking fantasy—but this is the way the tribe always reasons. To the tribe, the tribe is always right, and the corollary is clear:

To the tribe, the tribe always has been right. In the current instance, a gullible person might get that impression about our own tribe from reading what Scott wrote.

Such a person would be badly wrong.

Scott cites a recent piece by Irin Carmon, in which she notes actions some feminists have taken in recent years in response to Bill Maher and Michael Moore. We think Carmon has been a strong addition to the staff at Salon, although we think the piece in question is far from her finest work. Carmon was pounding Kirsten Powers for writing a piece at the Daily Beast—a piece which claims that liberals have often failed to police their own in the areas of sexism and misogyny. At one point, Carmon cites a piece by Traister herself, showing how wrong Powers is:
CARMON (3/7/12): Back to the male offenders on the left. Powers claims in one breath that they’re allowed to go on insulting women but then says that Erica Jong got rudely mocked by Matt Taibbi for ... calling him out for sexism. She fails to mention how Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore were targeted by a feminist campaign demanding an apology for their dismissal of the women who accused Julian Assange of rape. Or how much fire Chris Matthews took from feminists—including in this space—for how he talked about Hillary Clinton.
For now, let’s forget about KO. Did Matthews really “take fire from feminists for how he talked about Hillary Clinton?” As evidence, Carmon links to this lengthy piece by Traister—a piece which appeared in Salon in January 2008.

We don’t mean this as a criticism of Carmon. And there was nothing gigantically wrong with that piece by Traister—except for the fact that it arrived on the scene about ten years too late! Through some unexplained miracle, the liberal world finally noticed, in early 2008, that Matthews was a disgraceful, unrestrained Hillary-hater. At the time, of course, he had behaved this way for a decade, with barely a peep of protest from within the liberal world.

We’ll assume that Carmon may not understand this history. If so, she has a good excuse—she may have been reading Salon all those years! As we have noted again and again, Salon never commissioned a report about the disgraceful behavior of Matthews, disgraceful behavior that extended back to at least 1999.

Matthews slimed Hillary Clinton for years. He also slimed Naomi Wolf in the most repellent manner. No one worked harder, in 1999 and 2000, to send George W. Bush to the White House—and no one was more gender-obsessed in this crackpot conduct, except perhaps for his friend, Maureen Dowd. But during that pivotal time and in the years which followed, Salon never offered a profile of this vile man’s endless misconduct. And as it kept its big trap shut, Salon worked to forge a business tie with this truly horrible person.

That tie exists to this very day, as Joan Walsh goes on MSNBC and kisses Matthews' runny keister, helping him reinvent himself as a noble friend of the left. We hope Salon’s money is spending real good, because the ignorance Salon has helped create is very widespread at this point.

In this area, Salon’s own history is a disgrace. But Salon was hardly alone; virtually no one ever spoke up about Matthews' relentless misconduct toward Clinton, Clinton and Gore. We’ll take this chance to remind Lemieux that the so-called liberal world has been disgracefully wrong in these areas—silent, dishonest, self-dealing, corrupt. Empty to the bone.

Scott stands to defend the tribe today, misleading us in the process. But then, how powerfully will the tribe work to keep you clueless about the tribe? Consider the caterwauling which prevailed on MSNBC this week.

As with Collins, so with the chimps! All week long, programmed members of the tribe have criticized Romney for not speaking strongly enough about the things Limbaugh said.

Meanwhile, all the chimps kept their own traps shut, in real time and this week, about what their own colleagues did through the years. Just to save a bit of time, let’s single out Rachel Maddow.

On Monday night, Connie Schultz joined Maddow to talk about Limbaugh’s behavior. Maddow was quite upset with Romney’s cowardice, just as Collins is.

But then again, Maddow was worried about her own judgments! Was she perhaps being unfair?
MADDOW (3/5/12): Joining us now is Connie Schultz. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. Connie Schultz, it’s great to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.

SCHULTZ: It’s wonderful to be here, Rachel.

MADDOW: Am I being too harsh on Mr. Romney, along with those conservative and independent pundits, that you saw there? These weren’t his comments in the first place. They were Rush Limbaugh’s comments. But did Mr. Romney have to be more forceful here than saying that Rush Limbaugh used words he wouldn’t have used?
As usual, Rachel was pretending to be deeply honest—perhaps a bit more honest than you are. She worried that she was being unfair to Candidate Romney. After all, it wasn’t Romney who trashed Sandra Fluke; it was the idiot Limbaugh who did that. Was she possibly being too harsh as she battered Romney around for failing to denounce Limbaugh more forcefully?

Connie Schultz spoke up for the tribe. As you know, within the tribe, the tribe can never be wrong:
SCHULTZ (continuing directly): Let me rescue you from this worry you’re being too harsh. I am— You know, when I watched Ms. Fluke’s testimony live. And we have—our oldest daughter is exactly her age, just almost exactly, and she is in law school. And we have three other young women, two daughters and a daughter-in-law, mother of our only grandchild, all of reproductive age.

Rush Limbaugh does not understand what he unleashed when he said those words because you know what? He went after my girls. He went after the girls of mothers all across this country regardless of their politics. And that is what he has completely underestimated—as have these candidates.

What is the downside to saying you don’t ask women, young women to post video, he asked for video, Rachel, of this young woman. He called her a slut because she wanted to be responsible about birth control. They have no idea yet it seems to me, what’s been unleashed but they are about to find out. There is no going back on this one.
There was much more; to watch it, click here. But since Schultz instantly raised the question of age, we’ll note that Sandra Fluke is thirty years old; Prejean was 21 in 2009.

That said, Prejean wasn’t part of the tribe! She wasn’t one of our daughters or daughters-in-law. She wasn’t one of "the girls of mothers all across this country regardless of their politics."

In fairness to Schultz, she may not have known about Olbermann’s sliming of Prejean. She may not have known about the conduct those progressives denounced so strongly, though only in private. And who knows? Maybe President Obama didn’t know either! Maybe that’s why he phoned Fluke this week but didn’t phone Prejean back then.

After all, Prejean had voiced Obama’s own view regarding same-sex marriage! Why wouldn’t he want to defend her? Especially since, as Schultz quickly said, politics has nothing to do with this! All our daughters deserve respect! Even if they have the wrong politics!

Maybe Schultz and Obama didn’t know about Olbermann’s conduct. But Maddow knew all about it! It wasn’t her fault, of course; she didn’t say the repellent things Olbermnan said, any more than Romney said those things about Sandra Fluke. But Maddow had to sit there and watch it each night as KO and Musto tugged on their dicks and staged their misogynist wildings.

Why did Maddow have to watch? In a final bit of contempt for women, KO would save these treats for the very end of his program. He would then throw directly to Maddow. She had to sit there and take it.

Sit there are take it she did!

We’re not even saying she shouldn’t have done that, although she authored no profile in courage—at least, not in public. But everyone knows why Maddow didn’t complain about Olbermann’s conduct. Maddow had millions of dollars at stake. Like Romney, she might have paid a very large price for talking back to the tribe.

Maddow kept her trap shut tight. Now, she has spent a week criticizing Romney for not saying more about Limbaugh's behavior—even though Romney said more about Rush than Maddow said about KO!

As we've often noted, Rachel loves to challenge hypocrisy—but only that in their tribe.

Might we make the world’s most obvious point? It’s easy to tell the other guy that he should challenge his own tribal member. On MSNBC, the chimps have been doing this all week while refusing to talk about the gross misconduct of their own. As we noted, MSNBC has been Misogyny Central over the course of the past dozen years. But no one made you ponder such facts as you got tribal pleasure this week. On The last word, O'Donnell and Harris-Perry even pretended that they can't even think of the names of liberals who have misbehaved.

Our advice to Lemieux, whose work we've admired over the years: Turn your back on the tribe! Light out for the territories! The liberal world has failed grotesquely in the past twenty years.

People deserve to be told.

By the way: What did Gail Collins ever say about Matthews or KO? If we're so right about MSNBC, when did Collins challenge this misogyny?

Rubes! We're embarrassed for you! Please!

Do you have to ask?

37 comments:

  1. The astounding excess of Gail Collins is actually quite important for us in reflecting the contemporary media. How the New York Times editors allow this to continue is beyond my understanding.

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  2. Bob,

    Who cares?

    The world is coming down around our ears, there's next to nothing left of American democracy, and a sizable % of American public has an infantile world view worthy of the stone age.

    And you're invite us to be preoccupied by what, exactly(?) MSNBC? What you maybe said or maybe implied?

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    1. Yeah, let's just sit back, have a few beers and watch the fun.

      Hoser

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    2. I'm afraid it's Somerby, who's watching the fun. The guy doesn't even know what Al Gore did during his 8 years with Bill. Cable TV is so much more entertaining.

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  3. “It has always been the way of the tribe: You can slime the others as much as you like, in any manner you please. You can smut them up real good; you can unloose your Inner Misogynist. You just can’t do that to the tribe’s own—although the liberal world Lemieux defends endlessly permitted even that conduct over the past twenty years.” - B. Somerby


    >>>i dont have any reason to doubt you as to the basic facts you array in this article but your ultimate overarching premise is wrong and counterproductive. and a secondary one the same.

    for clarity i will address the secondary false premise first. you talk about the battle as being between two tribes. tribe implies unity. and tribes plural implies two unified tribes squaring off; a symmetrical situation. . . . unfortunately only one side is significantly unified and has been historically – the anti-non-'realamerican' one.

    the other, the non-'realamerican' party, is comprised of dozens of what I prefer to classify as 'gangs', or factions if you prefer the less descriptive term, of all the different ethnic, religious and racial groups and their various combinations who are not thought of as white germanic/english protestants. these 'non-reals' very much hate each other more than do their true political enemy. after all how can you hate the sons and daughters of jefferson and washington? the 'reals' have no such inhibition about hating on all the various vulnerable non-'realamerican' gangs – which they see as having established a temporary beachhead in *their* country... meanwhile the non-reals are still duking it out with each other over actual or perceived slights their grandfathers may have received from some member of some other non-real 'gang'.

    but your even more damaging false premise is that the 'non-real' side should hold themselves to a principled marquess of queensberry set of rules against an ad hominem-istic kicking and biting opposition which would have little compunction about doing much worse.

    bottom line, 'we' should be very intense but preferably without name calling and other obviously counterproductive tactics for a side which is protesting bigotry.

    but when somebody screws up and does call them hillbillies or pigs instead of the more precise radicals or reactionaries or ignoramuses, then they should be corrected but not with anywhere near the level of attached moral opprobrium which properly should be reserved for the reich wing, i mean the radical right wing.

    [i assume youre not, but if youre limiting your analysis to only the two basic antagonistic media factions without concern for the underlying politics of the country, then i submit your analysis is largely irrelevant.]

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    1. This is what tribalism is all about.

      I am not weary at all....

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    2. to be clear, im not saying the anti-republican party elements should in any way be less welcoming to 'real americans'. when possible to do so they are even better to get because they will more likely be able to talk to their fellow reals who are still on the right...they likelier will have at least some credibility with them.

      another thing, as a rule of thumb people are on alot safer ground when they characterize people as to what they do, as opposed to what they are. ... so "you are going against what jesus said about charity" is better than "you are a pig!" if hes a pig then that's the end of it. and you just made a permanent enemy. . . . he can change what he is doing or thinking, but not what he is.

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  4. Thank you, Howler.

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  5. This is critically important and Somerby is a gem.

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    1. Remind me again, why? It's because he points out that the celebrities corporate America hires to play liberals on TV aren't very reliable or morally admirable? Or that the opposing "tribe" (which just happens to include corporate America), makes sure that "our tribe" has poor (or no) representation in the mass media it controls? And that some self-described liberals, apparently starved for *any* representation of their views in mass-media, aren't quick enough to condemn the idiocy of the actors corporate America hired to play liberals?

      I'm so glad: I could never have arrived at that insight by myself!

      However, having established this point, Mr. Somerby might want to spend some time learning what it is, exactly, that his heroes , who are also hired by corporate America to play liberals in mass-media, actually do when elected. This would included Bill and Al.

      Ah, but I forgot! This matter is of no interest to Mr. Somerby. Far better to concentrate on Rachel Maddow! She's so very relevant to our political discourse today! And so central to the exercise of power! If only MSBNC knew its influence!

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  6. As if it doesn't matter which "tribe" comes out ahead. At no time in the history of "tribes" of any kind has it been OK to attack one of your most important fellow members publicly, so that line of argument is rather naive.

    The whole notion of "tribes" here is kind of silly, too -- actually, it's kind of offensive. A "tribe" in the traditional meaning (and in appropriate figurative meanings) is an affiliation usually based on geographical and other forms of commonality that generally have little to do with the choice of the individual. This "tribe" (which is not coextensive with the Democratic Party) is characterized by a shared understanding of what is best for the country and especially what kinds of actions are not good for the country. A little more serious matter that all the sarcasm ignores.

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    1. Getting pedantic about the precise meaning of the word "tribe" in anthropological terms is pretty silly. You know the sense in which Bob is using it, and you know he's right about it.

      For my part, I'm increasingly dismayed by Bob's own extreme tribalism, which seems to consist of himself in one tribe and "the other"-- as in Collins, Dowd, Olberman, Matthews, Maddow et al -- in the other tribe.

      I'm dismayed by the fact that he happily talks about kissing Matthews's "runny keister," and the fact that he prefers not to acknowledge the MSNBC "tribe," and Matthews in particular, have seriously cleaned up their act and are no longer "misogyny central." But then, Bob likes to throw poo at "the other" without checking his facts very carefully, which is just an amazing irony of which he seems to be utterly unware.

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    2. There is no woman threatening to become president, so they cleaned up their act. That's nice.

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  7. Because of friendly media, the left has the power to invent new obligations. E.g., suddenly Romney is obliged to criticize Limbaugh's comments.

    Here's how it works: a Boston Globe reporter asks Romney to criticize Rush Limbaugh's comment. Romney responds (quite reasonably IMHO), "My campaign is about jobs and the economy and scaling back the size of government and I’m not going to weigh in on that particular controversy.” That non-response allows the reporter to headline the article, Mitt Romney votes in Belmont, declines to criticize Rush Limbaugh for remarks about law student.

    In principle, the reporter could ask Obama or his press secretary to weigh in on every misdeed or misstatement made by anyone on the left and blast the President if he fails to be sufficiently critical. E.g., if the Globe pursued such a policy, they might be able to run a headline: Barack Obama declines to criticize Jon Corzine's apparent misappropriation of $1.2 billion of client funds.

    However, the Globe isn't going to embarass Obama in this way.

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    1. Except Romney flogged Obama for weeks, as did Santorum, about the same issue, basically accusing the President of violating Catholic's Constitutional rights, and attacking American's freedom of religion.
      Then he suddenly he has no more opinions on the subject?

      You seem content to let Romney (and any other Republican) cherry-pick the burning issues of the day.
      Candidates are not accountable for what they declaim on the world stage.
      Obama is.

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    2. Remember when Obama was asked about the police treatment of Henry Louis Gates? Why do you suppose that was?

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    3. I wrote about "Gatesgate" on August 3, 2009. Here are two paragraphs.

      " Did Professor Gates overreact? Probably. Did Sergeant Crowley overreact? Maybe. Did President Obama overreact? Yes, as a sitting President he did, as a Black American, probably not. Did the media overreact? Absolutely!

      "This is national news only because Obama aired his opinion, which was almost as dumb as when Nixon claimed that [Charles] "Manson is guilty". Obama should have stopped when he said he didn't know the details of the incident. If he had, the story would be over."

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  8. Bob's recounting of events at MSNBC is accurate. I saw what he saw.
    The issue here seems to be that some male chauvinism is ok for liberals, but sinful when practiced by conservatives. Therefore, big liberals can rail at conservatives but keep silent about their own tribe.
    Over and over I heard Keith Olbemann attack Carrie Prejean, all the while showing a tape loop of her swimsuit competition.

    For my entire life, men have set themselves up as superior to women.

    In high school, there were the steady girl friends, who were to be respected, (although this was a form of male chauvinism in itself), the wallflowers, who were politely ignored except for Prom Night, when a better-looking date wasn't available, and the sluts, whom the real men visited later in the evening, making sure sure no one saw them together in public.

    Then came the sexual revolution, and women decided to be as adventurous as men. There was not as much stigma attached to women having premarital sex, but I can assure you that male chauvinism was alive and well. Young men took advantage of the situation. And these were the liberal anti-war, tree hugging Nixon hating men that cheered bra burning and generously shared the "chicks".

    Remember the story of the adulteress in the New Testament. When men were preparing to stone her to death, Jesus intervened, and asked those without sin to cast the first stone. They all left.

    I think a lot of the resentment liberals have towards feminists today is similar to the resentment some have towards Black leaders.
    They don't want't to be reminded that although they personally didn't do anything against Blacks or women, neither did they personally do anything for civil rights or women's rights.
    And minorities and women are losing ground as I write this. In fact, those are two of the biggest issues on MSNBC.

    The offenders, unlike the Jewish men in the parable, deny all feelings of guilt, and blame the accusers.

    Of course, rich and powerful men, whether they be politicians or executives, Democrats, or Republicans, have always believed in the Droit De Seigneur. Je parle Francais aussi.

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    1. Do you really believe that liberals "personally didn't do anything against Blacks or women" or that "neither did they personally do anything for civil rights or women's rights."

      Really? I mean, you are kidding, right? Please open and read any of the countless US history books written in the last 35-40 years that address the role social, political and economic liberals (not laissez-faire classical "liberals") but progressive-minded actors, many of them Blacks and women. Because not all "liberals" are white men, or straight, or Christian, or upper-middle-class, etc., which you seem to have internalized.

      Many liberals had their heads split open fighting for the rights of women to vote, for equal pay for women, for coeducation and full integration of women into this society. Many a liberal had her head split open fighting for the equality of Black people, for full integration and desegregation of not just public but private facilities. Liberals are still putting their necks on the line to ensure equality. Maybe not the multimillionaire talking heads on MSNBC and TV in general, but many millions of progressive people who in ways big and large are fighting for a more equal and just society.

      Please don't impugn liberals, of whatever background, as you do, because you're not being fair at all. Not at all.

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    2. Section 1.
      Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

      Section 2.
      The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

      Section 3.
      This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

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    3. Read what I wrote;
      "I think a lot of the resentment liberals have towards feminists today is similar to the resentment some have towards Black leaders."
      Notice the words "resentment" and "some".
      I was speaking of some liberals that RESENT commentary by Black leaders and feminists, and there are many that were only spectators back then.

      I usually get very angry when my qualifiers are left out of my statements, but it is pretty obvious you meant no harm.

      The people that put their bodies on the line know who they are and what they did, which was a lot more than just voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

      I won't say I knocked on doors and manned phone banks and picket lines steadily for the last 55 years, but I did on and off then and still do now.
      The worst slings and arrows I fended off were verbal.

      So far in 2012, I have manned a Democratic phone bank, registered voters at a local fundraiser, marched in a Stop the War on Women rally, and spent 10 hours at Occupy Phoenix. I have also turned down dozens of requests for money and volunteer work, of which I get 6 to 10 a day by e-mail.
      I don't say this to toot my own horn, but to let you know I am a actor as well as a spectator.

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  9. Some years ago the critic Leslie Halliwell was writing about the film "Lady In a Cage;" and he claimed star Olivia de Havilland's public statements had "defended the film to the point of foolhardiness."

    Rush Limbaugh has become "Lady In a Cage," and Bob Somerby is Olivia de Havilland.


    First let us note that Michael Moore is really being unfairly trashed in this whole affair. He made no sexist statements and committed no sexist act. He gave Julian Assange money on the premise that he might be being set up or might otherwise not get a fair shake in the sex charges against him. I resent Salon sticking his mug on an article about people who had insulted and defamed women. If it's true of him, it's certainly true of Glen Greenwald as well. What crap.

    The first obvious questing that The Daily Howler calls up is "if MSNBC was "misogyny central for ten years", why does he have to keep returning (outside Hillary, a somewhat trickier issue) to the same example of Prejean and some stupid antics of KO, who doesn't even work there anymore? Yes, there is the always hapless Shultz, but he was suspended and apologized for his insult. He then transfers this to Salon, really torturing a small point. Does he believe Salon was ENDORSING Donald Trump's insults of Prejean?

    Does the Daily Howler think it is a stretch to make the Republican candidates answerable for Rush? I guess it's a viable point of view. But Limbaugh has never shrunk, that I've ever heard, from his role of kingmaker in The Republican Party. Some have recently argued that he's a paper tiger, and his listening ratings are inflated. O.K., But every candidate goes to Limbaugh and gets his blessing on the right, it would be unthinkable for them now not too. There's simply NO figure on the left remotely as powerful as Limbaugh, OR one that has ever engaged in his constant, day in and day out baiting of (left) woman. "I like the woman's movement, from behind" belched the fifth rate W.C. on his way to superstar status that is simply unlike anything else is the history of American political life.
    As Sirota rightfully points out in Salon, this dust up has been a long time coming, and it's a case of "enough's enough." Yes, others have sinned, but the obvious, revolting king of Shit Mountain is taking a tumble. Boo hoo. The fact that nobody's perfect does not make Rush Limbaugh any less a creep. Why shouldn't we start at the top for a change?
    Rachel Maddow struck me as a light weight from the first time I heard her offer no response to the asinine Christopher Hitchens as he hyped the Iraqi disaster not so very long ago. At this point, we have all heard the story of how giving Matthews cover in the Hillary Shit Storm got her her job. But the Daily Howler has jeered at her over this for so long over this he is starting to sound petty and even a bit thick. How the hell does he think those people get on T.V., by having outstanding moral character? As Tony Curtis once said, "this is the world, GET USED TO IT!"
    We might also recall, for what it's worth, what the result was when the Press was called out for attacking Hillary by SNL (with a terrible skit) and others: they simply knocked off the cheap shots at her and started running Bill into the ground! He was a racist, blah blah blah. It's rather hard to win with these people. Maybe The Daily Howler would like to visit his buddy O'Reilly's take on this thing...

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  10. Thanks yet again, Bob. Terrific piece.

    I think a lot of people just aren't getting it. As you say, it's a bone simple point to get, but our lizard brains won't let us get it. When you're in a tribe, nothing your side does can ever be wrong, and nothing the other side does can ever be right.

    And you, dear reader -- are you in a tribe? Here's how you can tell if you are. Look carefully at your beliefs. Are there people who are never right, and people who are never wrong? Is the group of people who are never right also filled with sexism, racism, and bigotry, while those characteristics are never found among the people who are always right? If so ... you (yes you!) just might be a in a tribe.

    And if so, my friend, you're not being honest with yourself. You're not being rational.

    For me (and for Bob if I'm reading correctly), it's good to be liberal. It is! We liberals have to claim that, or else we wouldn't be liberals. But at the same time, and MUCH MORE important, it's good to be rational and to fight against bullshit. The truth is the most important thing. And tribalism is on the side of falsehood.

    To be tribal liberal is much worse than to be a non-tribal conservative.

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  11. Kent: who here do you see claiming that liberals are never wrong? No one here has a mind of his or her own? Our "lizard brains" get it. Just who are you talking to?

    I never thought I would say this: Bob is beating this into the ground. I realized a while ago that I hadn't visited the Howler in a while--I used to visit daily since Al Gore was running for President. When I returned, I noticed the nice background, but I swear, I thought the site hadn't been updated since I left. Same themes, same trashing of the same people. I get it. Liberals are timid. The mainstream media pretend to be liberal, but they're no better than FOX. They focus on the trivial and leave the complicated issues undiscussed. Now what? I guess Bob feels, for some undisclosed reason, that he can't explore other areas of the political landscape. He's on a mission to vindicate Al Gore (a mission that, if you believe Bob, will never be accomplished). But come on...breathe some life into this place. Shake it up once in a while. Jeez!

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