Monday, February 20, 2017

Where Was the Outrage in '96

Let's start the week, if we may, with a question for the left.

A surprising amount of flak has been received by President Trump from the left and from the overwhelming left-dominated media in regard to a campaign occurrence.  This was back in November of 2015, early in the campaign, when Trump did a contemptuous reference to a reporter.

Mocking the words of the reporter, he waved his arms around and parodied him.  This was turned into a "mocking the disabled" narrative by the media since this, of course, was a reporter with a disability.  It survived even to this day, and was part of Meryl Streep's acceptance speech at some recent theater-people-celebrating-other-theater-people awards ceremony.

Of course, as it turned out, while mocking the reporter's words, Trump was simply using the very same arm-waving mocking gesture that he had used to mock all manner of non-handicapped people, including Donald Trump himself, Senator Ted Cruz, and an Army general in the same speech as he mocked the reporter.

Evidently, Trump's capacity for mocking includes a rather limited repertoire of gestures.  But that wasn't quite good enough for the left.

So in the interest of questioning hypocrisy, let us turn to the man who penned these words:

“So I've always been interested in politics. And I thank my parents for that. As you can see, there's a strong element of moral indignation behind this interest, and indignation is well and good in doses, but I noticed fairly early in life that some people live to find stuff to be indignant about. And it's pretty unattractive. That's why I decided to become a [wiseacre].”

That would be the ever-friendly comedy writer-turned-senator from Minnesota, good old Al Franken.  Al Franken was the fellow who was as nasty as you please (or should we say "indignant" and thus by his definition, "unattractive") at the hearings for a couple of President Trump's Cabinet nominees.  

Those words about the "unattractiveness of people who live to be indignant", of course, were in a 1996 book written by none other than Al Franken himself.  Wow, who would have thought that he would not have learned about how he looks when he lives to be indignant.

But the important part is that the quote was from a book entitled "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot."  I'm not kidding; that was the title of the book.  I remember when it came out; Limbaugh was pretty much the same level of fame and wide audience that he is now, meaning that the indignant left thought they needed to try to minimize his credibility by ... well, in this case, body-shaming.

I don't think the term "body-shaming" was used in 1996.  But since then, it has been as in vogue to bash people who make fun of the overweight, as it used to be to make fun of them in the first place. 

You can follow the scandals involving critiques of so-called "plus-size" models, and the associated criticism of the critics, as evidence that overweightness (?) is the next protected class among us.

As an example, I've been curious about the oddly high level of attention (in the form of articles in the media) about the very obese actress Chrissy Metz, who plays one of a set of triplets in the very good TV show "This is Us."  Her part is no bigger (sorry) than any of the rest of the ensemble cast, but they, as they say, get "no ink" by comparison -- for example, I know her name, and do not know the names of the other two triplets off the top of my head.

She is, in fact, on the cover of People magazine, with a caption quoting her as saying "I'm Proud of Who I Am", whatever that means.  I'm sure she is a very nice person, but she might be a bit upset to think that she and her story are being "used."

My inference is that the media are making her prominent -- putting her forward, as it were -- as bait to attract body-shamers to make fun of her and add another protected class of victims.  Those who comment negatively on her weight are positioned right up there with the likes of their image of Donald Trump, who was supposed to have made fun of "the handicapped."

So where, then, was the indignation in the portrayal of Rush Limbaugh in the crudest terms, blatantly using the term "big, fat" right there in the title on the cover?  I mean, I thought when the book came out it was a bit of an over-the-top choice of words, given that Limbaugh, at least at the time, was indeed notably overweight.

I've been searching a bit, for the purposes of this column, for the first left-leaning type who criticized Franken when the book came out for the 1996 equivalent of "body-shaming."  I haven't found a word yet, but I sure am trying.  Readers need to know.

But we know nothing will ever come up.  Franken can be indignant in Senate hearings (despite his professed and printed distaste for such posturing), without mainstream media quoting his words to him.  He can body-shame someone, since the recipient of the shaming is a conservative radio commentator, and thus subject to such ridicule without hesitation.

And the left will find new classes of victims and continue to seek redress of their grievances in as many ways possible, as long as it will somehow generate more voters sympathetic to their "plight."

But Donald Trump will continue to run the country in the way he said he was going to, and do the things he promised in the campaign to do, and eventually the left will run out of victims.

And Minnesota will wise up soon enough and send a non-hypocrite to the Senate.

It says so here.

Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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