For one brief, pixelated moment last week, Red and Blue America came together (as it were). This rare harmonic convergence was prompted by…what?
A natural disaster that snuffed out thousands of lives? A terror attack of unprecedented magnitude? The unexpected passing of a beloved national figure?
None of the above. No, the nation’s embattled left and right briefly embraced in No Man’s Land to condemn, loudly and in unison, a fake picture of a semi-celebrity in an obsolete magazine.
Larry Flynt’s Hustler—yes, it still exists and he’s pretty much alive—Photoshopped an image of female conservative commentator S. E. Cupp to make her look like she’s performing fellatio.
In response, her fellow conservative writers and broadcasters confidently predicted that their media opponents would remain closed-mouthed about this outrage.
Normally, that would’ve been a sound forecast. Liberals in the media have been notably silent regarding less vulgar but still sexualized Photoshop jobs on other conservative women writers such as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.
In 2009, Playboy listed Malkin, Peggy Noonan, and others as “10 Conservative Women We’d Like to Filibuster.” (“We speak, naturally, of the hate f*ck,” the author explained.) The piece was scrubbed from their site by sundown, because conservatives—and only conservatives—raised an unholy stink.
For all their bloviating about “civility” and “tolerance,” leftists are notoriously foul-mouthed, as well as—to employ their own tediously accusatory jargon—racist, sexist, and homophobic.
But with l’affaire Cupp, the right blew it prognostication-wise.
For reasons that remain unclear, the left immediately picked up this Photoshop of Cupp as their bloody—or, more accurately, jizz-stained—shirt of the week. Reliably liberal outlets such as jezebel.com and salon.com slammed Hustler. So did Rush Limbaugh joke/punchline Sandra Fluke.
Didn’t a gay male columnist speculate for weeks, in the pages of what was once considered a serious magazine, upon the tilt of a particular governor’s uterus?
Yet now they’re defibrillating chivalry?
Then Cupp appeared on The View to commiserate with the gals, and I thought I understood:
Cupp may be a conservative, but she’s also Big Media. And Big Media cares first and foremost about itself and its own.
So we got to see Whoopi Goldberg “tsk” in Cupp’s direction, “This is offensive. This is not the dialogue that we have when we disagree.”
(PS: Polanski’s comparing himself to Alfred Dreyfus now. J’abuse!)
Why didn’t the left stick up for Coulter and Malkin in the past? Both women are more famous “media types” than Cupp.
While trying to suss out what brought on this outbreak of bipartisan outrage, my train of thought was derailed when Larry Flynt raised his gravelly, crippled-dude voice in his own defense. He told thedailycaller.com:
“I’m able to publish this because of the Supreme Court case I won in 1984, Flynt v. Falwell.“
Flynt got the year wrong, plus the case citation, and quite possibly the point of the decision itself. He called the Cupp image protected “satire,” but Hustler Magazine v. Falwell concerned “parody,” and the two are not synonymous.
But let’s cut Flynt some slack: Poor dude has to use a penis pump.
So let it be noted that in May, this Year of Our Lord 2012, left and right finally agreed on something: Larry Flynt is a jerk.
(I’m looking forward to the Franklin Mint’s commemorative coin.)
But before the ink on this hard-won cultural truce had time to dry, Dan Riehl up and smeared it.
Riehl blogs at breitbart.com. You remember Andrew Breitbart, the online impresario whose recent unexpected death prompted leftists across America to express their ghoulish delight at his passing?
I guess Riehl didn’t get the company memo about not stooping to the left’s level, and/or he had been in a coma for the previous two days, because on May 26, he mused on Twitter about salon.com editor-at-large Joan Walsh, “...If she’s going to open her mouth, wish she’d do something I might actually enjoy for once!”
Michelle Malkin’s twitchy.com promptly condemned him, but Riehl managed in a couple of witless, tone-deaf Tweets to surrender the right’s briefly held moral high ground and destroy a tenuous political coalition.
To Dan Riehl, I say:
Don’t misunderstand me:
Hustler’s Photoshop of S. E. Cupp was gratuitous and unfunny.
But that’s what forced the punditocracy to wring their hands for 48 hours? That’s what briefly united the nation’s warring partisan factions?
A disgusting, tongue-in-cheek picture in a half-forgotten magazine?
I hate “civility.”
Conservatives aren’t supposed to buy into Marxist concepts such as “misogyny.”
Left and right shouldn’t “get along,” especially not based on anything this flimsy and asinine.
Pretty much every woman writer on the Web gets Photoshopped. Our Wikipedia entries are hijacked. We get sued and insulted. We get death threats and rape threats. I hate it. But crude, unhinged vitriol is the very connective tissue of the online environment in which we’ve chosen to work.
In other news, water is wet.
Fight back with all your strength and wit. But remember: To the average American, this “controversy” is just another Big Media circle jerk.
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