Case in point: Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection links to this story by Adam Clark Estes in The Atlantic. Remember him? Estes is the fellow who mocked the death of a Cornell student who died from H1N1 in 2009.
As Professor Jacobson points out today, in that 2009 article Estes made an error in judgment with his mockery. "It happens." Indeed it does.
In the eyes of Mr. Estes, however, it seems to be a case of "do as I say and not as I do." Estes is all over Rush Limbaugh for referring to writer Tracie McMillan a "babe" and an "authorette."
Limbaugh's thesis (one Estes seems to have missed), was that there is no "war on women" as the left claims there is. To illustrate that point he highlights Ms. McMillan's book, The American Way of Eating. Limbaugh doesn't really say anything derogatory about McMillan personally; he called her forthright, pointed out her credentials and that "she knows her way around a kitchen." Is that an insult these days? I wouldn't think so. Maybe it is to Mr. Estes.
Estes loses sight of the fact that Limbaugh's main point was that there isn't a war on women, but "a war on freedom," which is being waged by the left. That "war" extends right down to the food you eat. I haven't read Ms. McMillan's book but she seems to be making the case that good food is the domain of the affluent.
Estes also finds fault with the fact that Rush points out Ms. McMillan is "a white woman." I'm not sure when that became derogatory, either.
It is this excerpt from Rush's commentary that seems to irk Mr. Estes:
What is it with all of these young single white women, overeducated -- doesn't mean intelligent. For example, Tracie McMillan, the author of this book, seems to be just out of college and already she has been showered with awards, including the 2006 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Social justice journalism. This woman who wrote the book on food inequality, food justice, got an award for social justice journalism. She won a national prize rewarding journalism that measures business, governmental and social affairs against clear ideals of the common good. Her degree is not in food or nutrition. She has a B.A. from New York University in political science. She's a political scientist. She's a journalist. She has received awards for social justice journalism, and she has a book out on food justice.
Is that derogatory? Mr. Estes has trouble deciphering it:
It's hard to comprehend exactly what Limbaugh is try to say. He suggests that McMillan is overeducated but not intelligent, naive and out of her league. McMillan isn't offended, necessarily. She seemed more concerned with the rhetoric Limbaugh's promoting. "Calling me out for being a single woman and suggesting that having put me through university on my own dime makes me an over educated person," she said, "that's pulling out some really bad tendencies in American thinking."
It all seems like a manufactured crisis to me. It doesn't even sound as if Ms. McMillan is as upset about the language as Mr. Estes is.
As for the Democrats, well, they're using Rush's language as a fund raising opportunity. Sen. Claire McCaskill, candidate Tarryl Clark, and Rep. Janice Hahn have all used the Fluke kerfuffle as a money making opportunity:
Sen. Claire McCaskill was so disturbed by Rush Limbaugh’s description of a law school student as a “slut” and “prostitute” that she decided to repeat his rhetoric, featuring it in a fund raising appeal sent to thousands of supporters around the country. The tactic has paid off nicely for the Democrat’s re-election campaign.
I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
Back to political correctness...apparently these days you can't call a girl a "babe," point out that she's white, black, Asian or Martian; "authorette" is apparently derogatory as well. I suppose "anchor babe" is, too.
If you want to get into derogatory slurs, it seems to come more from the left as from the right. A leftist called me "pathetic" on my own blog just this week. Derogatory? Well, I wish she'd called me a "babe" instead.
Mr. Estes needs to put his copy of Rule of Radicals back on the shelf and stop making a crisis where there is none.