I've been hearing several conservative friends, even some who claim that they dislike Limbaugh, or don't regularly listen to him, defend his comments about Sandra Fluke on the grounds that what he was saying was intended as satire. Having listened to El Rushbo's comments, I find that I disagree with this claim, and believe it to be a desperate last-ditch defense of the indefensible.
According to Wikipedia: "In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon."
There seems to be an unwritten aspect of satire that I heard pointed out on David Feldman's comedy podcast during a round table discussion: it works up, but not down. This kind of humor in personal attacks has to be used by the less powerful against the powerful, not by the powerful against the less powerful -- otherwise it's comforting the comfortable and oppressing the oppressed. The sympathy goes -- or should go -- in the wrong direction, and so the weapon misfires. If Limbaugh's attack is considered in the context of the glorious history of genuine satire, with that in mind, it's easy to see why it was a critical failure, and it is revealed for the bullying that it was.
This is my attempt at satire in the style of Rush Limbaugh. Had he said the following, would it have felt less vicious, and would have have been convincing when he claimed it was satire? How about if I said it? What if one of her fellow law students said it?
And we're back. In this hour, more about the contraception debate, and we'll be talking about Sandra Fluke (pronounced "Fluck.") Sandra Fluck. Sandra Fluck. Quacks like a duck. Loves to... promote the use of hormonal contraception to relieve painful dysmenorrhea.
You know folks, we did the math. Sandra Fluck claims that it costs $3,000 per year for her birth control pills. We did the math. For that money she was apparently taking 186 birth control pills per day. She has effortless, pain-free menstrual periods.
Her estrogen levels are so high, that we discovered, via some information we found on Feminazipedia, that she was actually moonlighting as a superheroine, bringing pain-free menstruation to all her fellow classmates, even the men! Her vaginal muscles are so well-toned that when she does Kegels, it transmits shock waves of sensation right through the entire liberal media.
She projects a sort of force field -- a contraceptive field, if you will -- so that in a radius of about three quarters of a mile, sperm cells are rendered inert and utterly helpless. It's truly amazing, folks. Her level of dedication to the cause of reproductive health is truly amazing.
And if she happens to find a young man she finds attractive, and would like to get to know better -- well, by happy coincidence, she's protected against unwanted pregnancy. Isn't that neat?
We'll be back after this message from Sleep Nazi Beds.
The following is not satire:
What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
OK, so, she's not a slut. She's round-heeled. I take it back.
I want to know, who bought -- Ms. Fluke, who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade, or your contraception? Who bought your contraceptive pills in high school? Wouldn't you be just as likely to go broke in high school and junior high as you would be in college?
I'm not questioning her virtue. I know what her virtue is. She's having so much sex that she's going broke! There's no question about her virtue.
She's having so much sex, it's amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there.
She wants all the sex that she wants all the time paid for by the rest of us. She wants no consequences for it, or to it. She wants a penalty-free, moral-free life where everybody else pays for the mistakes that she makes as a consequence of the way she lives her life.
If this woman wants to have sex ten times a day for three years, fine and dandy.
You don't need birth control if you're not having sex. The woman wants unlimited, no-responsibility, no-consequences sex, and she wants it with contraceptives paid for by us.
And not one person says, well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?
Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to have so much sex that she can't afford it anymore.
The moment the activist, Ms. Fluke, asserts her right to free contraceptive, to handle her sex life -- and it's, by her own admission, quite active.
Oh! Does she have more boyfriends? Ha! They're lined up around the block.
[Fluke is] struggling financially. Why? Just quote her. Her sex life is active. She's having sex so frequently that she can't afford all the birth control pills that she needs, is what she's saying.
[T]he Democrats are putting on parade a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman. She wants all the sex in the world, whenever she wants it, all the time. No consequences. No responsibility for her behavior.
During her testimony, Sandra Fluke said nothing about her personal life in general or sexual behavior in particular. Rush Limbaugh recently entered into his fourth marriage, and is childless. In 2004, customs officials in Florida seized 29 Viagra pills in Limbaugh's luggage, labeled with his doctor's name as the patient, as we was returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic. Limbaugh was between marriages at the time, and had been traveling with four other men. Viagra is usually dispensed in lots of thirty tablets. The Dominican Republic is a popular sex tourism destination. Limbaugh has not denied inappropriate behavior; in fact, on his radio show, he said "I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it."
See also: Ad hominem, subtype "Abusive"; Double Standard; Hypocrisy