Monday, February 24, 2014

Ted Nugent and Selective Outrage

Let's get the necessary formalities out of the way. Rocker Ted Nugent's recent description of the President (He called him "a subhuman mongrel") was inexcusably vulgar, cruel, degrading, stupid, and despicable. It has disqualified him, in my mind, from ever being listened to again (not that I ever listened to him before). Such talk should have no place in our public life, and Nugent would do well to retreat to one of his favorite hunting cabins and meditate on why he would say something like that about another human being, much less the President of the United States. Mr. Obama may be doing an awful job as president, in the minds of some, but whether he is or isn't, he still deserves respect both as a man and as our nation's elected leader. His policies and behavior are fair targets. His humanity is not.

Having said that I have to agree with Derek Hunter at Townhall about the justifiable but selective outrage that has accompanied Nugent's ugly outburst. It seems that the left is disgusted by such talk only when it comes from people associated with the right. They're like the three monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouths when such talk emanates, as it does with disturbing frequency, from the "progressive" precincts of the media.

It was common during the Bush years, for example, to hear George Bush referred to as "a chimp," an insult that perhaps lacks the punch of Nugent's odious description, but which says essentially the same thing. For sheer ugliness, though, it's hard to exceed former MSNBC host Martin Bashir's suggestion on national television that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin's mouth. Or Bill Maher's predilection for reducing conservative women to their female parts. Yet Maher is feted regularly by the progressive media which has no objection to his use of anatomical vulgarities to describe conservative women and which was as quiet as mice after Bashir's repulsive dehumanization of Palin.

Here's part of Hunter's column on this. Speaking of the reaction to Nugent's words Hunter writes:
The offended class in the media sprang into action, drooling like heroin junkies when they hear that flame hit the bottom of the spoon. It was deemed one of the worst things ever said, by people who make their living declaring things said by others awful – one of the few growth industries in Obama’s economy.

CNN dedicated hour upon hour of coverage to the words of a man whose actions for charity they’ve ignored for decades. Current Texas Gov. Rick Perry went on with Wolf Blitzer and was badgered for 2 1/2 minutes to denounce these words, then denounce them in stronger terms, and again, as if Perry has said them himself. Republicans were nearly trampled by “journalists” demanding they react to and answer for something said in an entirely different time zone.

Meanwhile, taking a break from calling Republicans all manner of potty-mouth names, Bill Maher has made the rounds of cable television as if he knows anything about this beyond what he read on Daily Kos. Imagine the feigned outrage if Maher talked about progressives – any progressives – the way he has talked about Sarah Palin and her children.

This misogynistic bigot gives $1 million to President Obama’s reelection PAC, yet he is greeted as an insightful and unbiased commentator by Blitzer and others. And no progressives – not him nor any of the others – ever is demanded to denounce his attacks. When it comes to progressive racism, misogyny, hatred and violent rhetoric, the referees swallow their whistles, as they say in basketball.

Greg Abbott and Rick Perry are no more responsible for the words of Ted Nugent than progressives are for the words of Bill Maher. But although Abbott and Perry were forced to answer for Nugent, President Obama cashes Maher’s check and his cabinet secretaries, advisors and elected Democrats from Nancy Pelosi on down beat a path to the stage of the man who calls conservative women “c--ts” without question or repercussion.
When people like Maher, Bashir, and Nugent say the things they do their words should be condemned by both liberals and conservatives. The offenders should be shunned by both sides until they prove themselves capable of engaging in civil discourse. This would accomplish several things: It would certainly inhibit such fetid talk in our politics and elevate our national discourse, thereby. It would also increase the credibility of those in the commentariat when they show themselves to be impartially concerned with public decency and less concerned with protecting their ideological allies.

It's unfortunate that a large segment of our population seems unable to critique ideas without lacing their critique with invective designed to demean the person who holds the ideas. I don't know why that is, but it's as common, especially on the internet, as it is repulsive and childish.

There's nothing wrong with criticizing the policies, ideas, or behavior of a president, or anyone for that matter (note to the left: criticism of President Obama's policies, ideas, or behavior, despite what is often alleged, is not prima facie evidence that one is a racist). But criticism and insults that dehumanize the person, as Nugent's, Maher's, and Bashir's do, should be treated with contempt, especially by those who otherwise share the same ideological assumptions as the offender. That would go a long way to stopping this sort of thing and making us a kinder, better people.