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Ed Schultz is sorry. Very sorry.
May 25, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC's The Ed Show, has been suspended for one week without pay after calling right-wing radio host and Fox News staple Laura Ingraham a "talk slut" on his radio show yesterday. On tonight's episode, he apologized.
posted by jeremy b (83 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
He's loud and annoying and I wish he would go away.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:19 PM on May 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


was he using it like 'fame whore'? that might almost be okay
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:23 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was accusing her of hypocrisy, for excoriating Obama for doing the same thing doe which she'd praised Reagan.

Schultz's choice of words was poor, but Laura Ingraham is no innocent. She's a terrible person who has made her personal fortune by attacking people, especially gay people, for decades.

Politics ain't beanbag, and now ain't the time for your tears.
posted by orthogonality at 8:26 PM on May 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


was he using it like 'fame whore'?

I'm not a huge fan of the term 'fame whore,' but I thought the implication was that a person is willing to exploit themselves for a specific gain (i.e. fame). I'm not sure what 'talk slut' would translate to given that framework, other than someone who talks to anyone regardless of their suitability for conversation?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why call her names when there are more important ways of criticising her role in the media?
posted by notion at 8:33 PM on May 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


Vile language, in any event. He's rightly chastised and punished for it, in a way that will cost him financially. He apologized, though, in what seemed to be a heartfelt way, without offering those mealy-mouthed non-apology apologies so many jerks make. It seems like a mistake was made, an apology was made and punishment was given out and received. Moving on.
posted by darkstar at 8:33 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought slut was ok now, I'm confused.
posted by humanfont at 8:34 PM on May 25, 2011


[comment removed - walk the line folks, thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 8:35 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


WTF is a talk slut? Hey Ed: moving forward, don't call women sluts because not even your apology makes you look like less of an asshole
posted by Hoopo at 8:37 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you call yourself a progressive, and you call a woman a slut, you may not be as progressive as you think you are. (And yes, that applies to "talk slut" too.)
If you call yourself a progressive, and you call a woman a whore, you may not be as progressive as you think you are. (And yes, that applies to "fame whore" too.)
If you call yourself a progressive, and you say Ann Coulter looks like a man, you may not be as progressive as you think you are.

Sometimes I think we haven't moved on that much from the days when a lot of feminist anger came from women joining left-wing groups and being treated as devices for coffee and sex.
posted by Jeanne at 8:39 PM on May 25, 2011 [52 favorites]


It seems fairly clear that his usage of the term only applies to her being a woman. At first he said "right-wing slut", and then followed up with "talk slut" (perhaps trying for a fame whore-type analogy), perhaps realizing that his first usage sounded pretty bad.

I like Ed Schultz, he's got a pretty relentless focus on working class issues and union issues that not many other commentators have, but this was inexcusable, given that the Democrats are the big-tent party that generally leaves the slurs to the other side of the discourse.
posted by ofthestrait at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's rightly chastised and punished for it, in a way that will cost him financially.

You're assuming the management isn't in on it. I'd never heard of Schultz before, so mission accomplished.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:41 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good point, doctor. I've never heard of either of them, so I was wondering why this was a story at all.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:43 PM on May 25, 2011


Well, Schultz started out a lot farther to the right than he is today and has tried (often to his discredit) to keep the same 'common man' style as he changed politics. (A lot of his radio success, IMO, came from being a Lefty with a voice similar to Rushbo) So not all that surprising he'd get into this kind of mess.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:43 PM on May 25, 2011


I once flew JetBlue from DCA to Ft Myers, FL and sat next to Laura Ingraham. She was furiously highlighting a copy of the Washington Post the whole way. I wasn't sure if it was her until we got off the plane and she made a bee-line for the towncar and the "Ms. Ingraham" sign. True story!
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:46 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uhh, if you follow cable news and/or political radio, you have heard of both of them already.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:49 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, THAT'S why!

*slaps forehead*
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:50 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Schultz is a guaranteed channel-flip (away) for me. He sticks out like a sore thumb in MSNBC's new line up. I hope they use this as an excuse to can him permanently.
posted by unSane at 8:51 PM on May 25, 2011


So, is "Jane, you ignorant slut" still funny?
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:52 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, is "Jane, you ignorant slut" still funny?

Only if you are Dan Akroyd.
posted by jessamyn at 8:57 PM on May 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


This seemed to be VERY mild compared to what Rush Limbaugh does every day. After seeing his apology tonight I figured he had gone off with a 15 minute rant or something. Slut, twice? When the gist of what he said was entirely true? So what?

Agreed you shouldn't call someone a slut, but compared to all the other things you hear in politics I have to say I am very underwhelmed.
posted by ScotchLynx at 8:58 PM on May 25, 2011


Good riddance, hopefully. However, he deserves to get fired on his own merits, not for this 4-letter incident.
posted by grounded at 9:01 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This seemed to be VERY mild compared to what Rush Limbaugh does every day.

Ideally one shouldn't be saying things that get one compared to Rush Limbaugh at all.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:05 PM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


This seemed to be VERY mild compared to what Rush Limbaugh does every day. After seeing his apology tonight I figured he had gone off with a 15 minute rant or something. Slut, twice? When the gist of what he said was entirely true? So what?

It's very simple. Believe it or not MSNBC is considered to have a liberal/Democratic slant. Therefore the ancient rule handed down to us by our forefathers, "It's OK if you are a Republican" kicks in.
posted by MattMangels at 9:06 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, Schultz started out a lot farther to the right than he is today and has tried (often to his discredit) to keep the same 'common man' style as he changed politics. (A lot of his radio success, IMO, came from being a Lefty with a voice similar to Rushbo)

The Left needs more voices like this.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:06 PM on May 25, 2011


Also, CNN hired Erick "goat-fucking child molester" Erickson for pete's sake. Can you imagine MSNBC or CNN hiring Kos or Jane Hamsher? People considered to be on the left are just not held to the same standards as other people in the media.
posted by MattMangels at 9:10 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Therefore the ancient rule handed down to us by our forefathers, "It's OK if you are a Republican" kicks in.
It's not ok if you're a Republican. But you know, I know that Rush Limbaugh hates me. I know that he would gleefully use the most misogynistic language imaginable to put me in my place, because he doesn't care that using misogynistic language hurts all women, including the ones whom he likes. (I mean, there must be some women who Rush likes. Right? Ok, maybe not. That's sort of the point.) But I would really like to think that wasn't true of people on my side of the political fence. I would like to think that people on my side of the political fence would take a minute to think "hey, when I insult a woman by calling her a slut, I reinforce a culture that depicts female sexuality as dirty and says that you can degrade any woman by implying that she likes sex too much." Every time we have one of these discussions, though, I'm reminded of how incredibly naive that is.
posted by craichead at 9:12 PM on May 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's like I sort of like the IDEA of Ed Schultz, but I find the actuality of him completely intolerable.

The concept of a loudmouth populist working-class voice on cable news is just great. But when I'm presented with it, I simply cannot watch. Just like how I couldn't watch Olberman shouting into the camera for an hour, and I can't watch Matthews being Matthews for an hour, Schultz just rubs me wrong.

Which is too bad, because we need that kind of voice on television. Just done differently.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


On the other hand I'll bet if we had like three people like Fred Rogers who talked about progressivism we would wake up on Tuesday with socialized medicine.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:26 PM on May 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Proud liberal here. Not a fan of schultz mainly because I don't think we need to sink to their level (hire another rachel maddow please). But seriously, regardless of whatever Ingraham believes and shills for he crossed a line. That said, he damaged himself and will serve his punishment.

I'll continue ignoring him next week
posted by slapshot57 at 9:27 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I would really like to think that wasn't true of people on my side of the political fence. I would like to think that people on my side of the political fence would take a minute to think "hey, when I insult a woman by calling her a slut, I reinforce a culture that depicts female sexuality as dirty and says that you can degrade any woman by implying that she likes sex too much."

It would be nice if everyone on "our side" were perfect.

But if we try to squeeze out or punish everyone on our side who isn't perfect, our side is going to get pretty empty.

Guy made a mistake; he called himself out for it, and took a one-week leave of absence. That's a whole lot more than Rush would do.

And yet "our side" can't stop shouting about how offended we are, and how rather than just making a slip of the tongue, Schultz is "reinforcing a culture" of degrading women and their sexuality as dirty.

No, he probably said "slut" just because it's a mean word, without reference to its literal meaning or what that implies about women in general. When I say "Jesus Christ!", it's because it's a reflex, not a comment on Jesus's divinity.

Yeah, Schultz would probably have used another word for a man -- like "bastard" -- but no, in that case he wouldn't have been literally suggesting the target's parent's had never been legally married.

Ed Schultz wanted to say something mean about a mean woman, and he picked out the first mean word that came to mind. There is no subtext about or reference to any larger role of women here, and it's frankly pointless political correctness to insist that Schultz meant to suggest one.

Things get said in the heat of argument, and there are plenty of people who have committed real offenses, who desire your ire long before Ed Schultz.
posted by orthogonality at 9:28 PM on May 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


Capt. Renault: "So, is "Jane, you ignorant slut" still funny?"

"Jane, you ignorant slut" is a line from a sketch which parodied talking head shows. That Dan said it every week was a headnod to the idea that male pundits were routinely disrespectful of female colleagues, and that said disrespect was wholly independent of what they actually said. Inasmuch as Ed Schultz just made the sketch come true, it's actually funnier (if you'd rather, more relevant) now than it was before.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:30 PM on May 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


No, we don't need that kind of voice on television. We don't need a demagogue who shouts and prattles on and on about how those evil others are ruining this country with their [insert whatever partisan talking point you want] and taking away our [insert political pigskin]. We need someone who talks rationally about the issues with intelligence and can relate the issue to the public in a manner that people can understand without getting their emotions riled up by pushing buttons.

I would much rather listen to someone explain calmly and rationally that there is a stated objective to be reached through either legislation or other action. Otherwise, it's more media circus and everyone suffers from that.
posted by daq at 9:31 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or what shakesperian said.
posted by daq at 9:33 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've stopped watching MSNBC after years of it being what I had on in the background while doing something else. Their new lineup makes me cringe. Ed Schultz? Cenk Uygur? Come on. I thought CNN had the market cornered on annoying buffoonish blowhards.
posted by Justinian at 9:33 PM on May 25, 2011


Sometimes I think we haven't moved on that much from the days when a lot of feminist anger came from women joining left-wing groups and being treated as devices for coffee and sex.

I doubt Miss Ingraham would appreciate having her honor defended with a feminist argument. In fact, I think I can see her eyes rolling from here.

If you call yourself a progressive, and you say Ann Coulter looks like a man, you may not be as progressive as you think you are.

But...but...oh, well, let's just approach it from another direction and say she lacks both the depth and the warmth.

I mean, there must be some women who Rush likes. Right?

With people of his ilk, I don't think it's about liking women but rather it's about keeping women "in their place" and under control. I don't listen to Laura Ingraham but I wouldn't be surprised if she hasn't had occasion to do some slut-shaming of her own. She probably just couched it in some fancy multisyllabic words.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:33 PM on May 25, 2011


On the other hand I'll bet if we had like three people like Fred Rogers who talked about progressivism we would wake up on Tuesday with socialized medicine.

Is that basically describing Phil Donahue?
posted by Justinian at 9:34 PM on May 25, 2011


Oh, read what I said -- we need a loudmouth populist working-class voice on television.

I don't like how he's executing that particular thing, and we don't need HIS version of it. But we do need that kind of voice on television.
posted by hippybear at 9:34 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, there must be some women who Rush likes. Right?

Well, I guess so. He keeps marrying them. I find it hard to believe that there are women who like him. But then, I don't know how any self-respecting woman could support an ideology or a figure who has so little respect for her and wants to restrict her rights so much.
posted by and miles to go before I sleep at 9:34 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In late October 2008, Laura Ingraham went into full crazy mode. On her radio show, she'd casually mention how Obama did in fact have ties to known terrorists, how she had proof Obama was a Muslim, etc. Her tone was like "Look, we all know he's really a Muslim. The media knows this, it's all fact, you all will find out more about it later, but we all know. He has discussed taking the oath of office on the Koran, and this will just be your new reality if you vote for him."

How she is taken seriously at all to this day amazes me. She is paid to troll. Schultz just took the bait.
posted by mattbucher at 9:34 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, he probably said "slut" just because it's a mean word, without reference to its literal meaning or what that implies about women in general. ... Yeah, Schultz would probably have used another word for a man -- like "bastard" -- but no, in that case he wouldn't have been literally suggesting the target's parent's had never been legally married.

History matters, ortho.

Just as saying "white people drive lame" doesn't have the same bite, due to historical context, as "black people talk bad" or whatever, so it is with the two terms you compare. You can't compare them. You can't take their historical context away from them.

He's lucky he got off as light as he did. It's a term that can only be targeted with bite at one gender (and guess what-- it's the gender that's historically had less power than the other one). Leaving "our side vs. their side," um, aside, the guy deserves at least what he got.

Here is an entertaining takedown of Laura Ingraham by someone smart.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:35 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ed Schultz wanted to say something mean about a mean woman, and he picked out the first mean word that came to mind. There is no subtext about or reference to any larger role of women here, and it's frankly pointless political correctness to insist that Schultz meant to suggest one.

I don't mean this to be like I'm so awesome and liberal-minded or whatever, but honestly if I wanted to say something mean about a mean woman, 'slut' would not have been one of the first two dozen words to come to mind, because its existence and usage lie pretty far outside the ways in which I participate in the world.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:40 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, we don't need that kind of voice on television. We don't need a demagogue who shouts and prattles on and on about how those evil others are ruining this country with their [insert whatever partisan talking point you want] and taking away our [insert political pigskin]. We need someone who talks rationally about the issues with intelligence and can relate the issue to the public in a manner that people can understand without getting their emotions riled up by pushing buttons.

Talk like this actually gets MY emotions riled up. This whole insistence on calm rationality is why liberals, lefties, and progressives keep losing in America. You need to shout. You need to cajole. You need to appeal to emotion. I don't want socialized medicine in America because of a high-minded set of ethical principles. I want it because I want to be able to go about my life and NOT WORRY ABOUT DYING BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT JOB. I don't care about drug laws because of a well-thought out philosophical position. I care because I DON'T WANT TO HAVE MY LIFE RUINED BECAUSE I SMOKED A JOINT. Would you like your child taken away from you for 15 years because he smoked a harmless chemical? Do you want spend your old age scrabbling for a few cents to pay off the monsters who would LET YOU DIE because you're poor?

Seriously. Don't be afraid to appeal to emotion. I'm mostly left-wing for selfish, emotional reasons. I'm sure I can't be the only one.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on May 25, 2011 [31 favorites]


its existence and usage lie pretty far outside the ways in which I participate in the world.

We are not worthy! We are not worthy even to praise the ground you have walked on, sir!
posted by orthogonality at 9:44 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


MSNBC : "Lean Forward" "Bend Over"
posted by republican at 9:45 PM on May 25, 2011


I agree that Ed Schultz should not have called Laura Ingraham a slut. I also think that Ann Coulter should not have called Pamela Harriman a "whore," that Michael Savage should not have called Diane Sawyer a "lying whore," that Glenn Beck should never have called Cindy Sheehan a "slut" or said of Mary Landrieu, "So we know you're hooking, but you're just not cheap," and that Laura Ingraham should never have said that Nancy Pelosi "did everything but sell her own body" to get the health care reform bill passed. At least Ed Schultz has apologized for using the term he used.
posted by blucevalo at 9:47 PM on May 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Why does it matter what any of these people who blow hot air for a living say? Fuck Fox, fuck MSNBC. They blather all day long and don't change a single mind about anything. All they do is use politics to sell soap and viagra. Let's keep Stewart and Colbert, and find a new Cronkite.
posted by Camofrog at 9:56 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just as saying "white people drive lame" doesn't have the same bite, due to historical context, as "black people talk bad" or whatever, so it is with the two terms you compare. You can't compare them. You can't take their historical context away from them.

The comparison wasn't to suggest that "slut" and "bastard" are equally bad, but that they are both insults that have connotations that are probably not meant and needn't be obsessed over. It's completely irrelevant that "bastard" has less of a bite than "slut".
posted by skewed at 9:58 PM on May 25, 2011


It's completely irrelevant that "bastard" has less of a bite than "slut".

Respectfully, skewed, that is actually the entire point.

One is a word that is used to put women in their place, to shame them and constrict their decisions. There is no equivalent word for the other gender, because men have traditionally been permitted a wider array of choices in how they're allowed to live their lives. It is a word, therefore, that ought not be used.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:12 PM on May 25, 2011


Didn't Talk Slut play at Coachella this year? I heard they were pretty good.
posted by bayani at 10:13 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't want socialized medicine in America because of a high-minded set of ethical principles. I want it because I want to be able to go about my life and NOT WORRY ABOUT DYING BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT JOB. I don't care about drug laws because of a well-thought out philosophical position. I care because I DON'T WANT TO HAVE MY LIFE RUINED BECAUSE I SMOKED A JOINT. Would you like your child taken away from you for 15 years because he smoked a harmless chemical? Do you want spend your old age scrabbling for a few cents to pay off the monsters who would LET YOU DIE because you're poor?
You know what's hilarious? (And by "hilarious", I mean "utterly infuriating".) Us potential sluts who participate in this discussion? The second we get emotional, we lose. I can't say "the word slut feels like a punch in the face. I hate that word because it's been used against me in ways that had everything to do with my being female and nothing to do with being generically "mean," and it's a painful, evil word that hurts me and makes me feel like an outsider in any conversation in which it's used." Because if I show emotion, I'm irrational and stupid and whatever I say doesn't count. If I show emotion, I'm rewarded with lectures from men who can afford to stay nice and rational and non-angry, because they don't feel like they've just been punched in the face.

And you know, I could type in all caps about the many ways in which right-wing American legislators write hatred of female sexuality into law. But I guess those things probably aren't as important as your right to smoke a joint.
posted by craichead at 10:14 PM on May 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


I have a theory that one of the reasons there is right wing opposition to legal pot is because it is a legit aphrodisiac that encourages enjoyment of sexuality.





Okay, I just like joints.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:17 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what's hilarious? (And by "hilarious", I mean "utterly infuriating".) Us potential sluts who participate in this discussion? The second we get emotional, we lose. I can't say "the word slut feels like a punch in the face. I hate that word because it's been used against me in ways that had everything to do with my being female and nothing to do with being generically "mean," and it's a painful, evil word that hurts me and makes me feel like an outsider in any conversation in which it's used." Because if I show emotion, I'm irrational and stupid and whatever I say doesn't count. If I show emotion, I'm rewarded with lectures from men who can afford to stay nice and rational and non-angry, because they don't feel like they've just been punched in the face.

And you know, I could type in all caps about the many ways in which right-wing American legislators write hatred of female sexuality into law. But I guess those things probably aren't as important as your right to smoke a joint.


There's room for both.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:19 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


One is a word that is used to put women in their place, to shame them and constrict their decisions. It is a word, therefore, that ought not be used.


Under these criteria, I'd say a good portion of the words in the US Constitution, the Bible, and the Declaration of Independence are suspect as well.
posted by scrowdid at 10:20 PM on May 25, 2011


" Apropos of Something: Jane, you ignorant slut" is a line from a sketch which parodied talking head shows.

Specifically it was a parody of this 60 minutes segment which was widely popular at the time . The parody of it was hilarious back then :)
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:21 PM on May 25, 2011


Corrected link
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:24 PM on May 25, 2011


One is a word that is used to put women in their place, to shame them and constrict their decisions. There is no equivalent word for the other gender, because men have traditionally been permitted a wider array of choices in how they're allowed to live their lives.

Cocksucker.
Pussy.
Wimp.
posted by orthogonality at 10:39 PM on May 25, 2011


I don't think this reduces to Schultz "fighting fire with fire," or whatever.

What's gross about this is that his "righteous anger" somehow led him right around the bend to "slut." What's even more gross about it is that there are a ton of men who think he was totally entitled to go there.

The equation of "strident, persuasive argument" and "slurs" that some people in this thread are making is philosophically untenable. If your concern is that the left is not a strong contender for prom king this year, I suppose I get it, because apparently epithets can indeed make you popular among your white dudebro peers. So can dick-measuring, of course, so why don't you whip it out while you're at it.

That doesn't make eitherof your dumb little games persuasive to anyone who does not give a shit about "having a beer" with the local neanderthals. Which, by the way, constitutes much of the population, given that not everyone on earth is a white guy. Insulting the rest of us, white guys, well: you can rationalize it as "fighting dirty," but it ain't good politics. Not by a mile.
posted by p.soul at 11:02 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


One is a word that is used to put women in their place, to shame them and constrict their decisions. There is no equivalent word for the other gender, because men have traditionally been permitted a wider array of choices in how they're allowed to live their lives.

Cocksucker.
Pussy.
Wimp.


Cocksucker: sexually servicing men as women do is shameful.
Pussy: women's genitals are shameful.
Wimp: acting feminine is shameful.

The worst thing you can call a man is a woman.
posted by randomname25 at 11:08 PM on May 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Cocksucker.
Pussy.
Wimp.


Gosh, you're right! Poor men! It's so awful that one of the best ways to insult a man is to call him a girl.
posted by rtha at 11:19 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Respectfully, skewed, that is actually the entire point.

One is a word that is used to put women in their place, to shame them and constrict their decisions. There is no equivalent word for the other gender, because men have traditionally been permitted a wider array of choices in how they're allowed to live their lives. It is a word, therefore, that ought not be used.


Respectfully, no, it's completely fucking irrelevant to the point being made, which was that calling someone a "slut" doesn't necessarily signify that the caller thinks the callee is a person of despicable sexuality anymore than calling a person a "bastard" requires one to think that the person was born out of wedlock. Both are mean statements, both are used loosely in generalized disgust for another person. You seem hung up on the fact that "slut" is more hurtful than "bastard" and is less polite, more sexist, more hateful, etc. That's irrelevant to the point being made. A reasonable person might disagree that calling a woman a slut always at least partially implies the worst connotation of the insult. But to focus on the relative strengths of the insult is to entirely misunderstand the point that was being made. It would have been the exact same if the post in question had used "poo-poo head" instead of bastard. The point was that maybe he just said something stupid and insulting but didn't really have any deeper sexist motivation to the statement. You can disagree with that, but when you go on power structure and inherent sexism and whatever, it's neither here nor there.
posted by skewed at 11:26 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember when Ed first came on the scene as a liberal talk radio host during the first George W. Bush administration and he was explicit that his intent was to "fight fire with fire." I think a lot of people were singling that tune at that time.

It might be worth remembering that fighting fire with fire--lighting small fires that burn up all the brush and other fuel between your property and approaching wildfire--can burn out of control themselves and make matters much worse.
posted by Cassford at 11:50 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Maddow but I can't even watch her show because she repeats herself so much. Television isn't a medium for intelligent discourse.

Calling Ingram a slut doesn't really make any sense. OTOH when you have someone like Alan Grayson calling some lobbyist a "K-Street whore" I think that's more appropriate. If someone is behaving like a metaphorical whore, what's wrong with using terms like that?
All they do is use politics to sell soap and viagra. Let's keep Stewart and Colbert, and find a new Cronkite.
The reason people like Cronkite is because they never heard any criticism of him. Someone like Brian Williams talks the way Cronkite used to talk but because everyone is aware of the problems with the 'neutral' media, no one takes it seriously. Except for old people, I guess.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 AM on May 26, 2011


Because if I show emotion, I'm irrational and stupid and whatever I say doesn't count. If I show emotion, I'm rewarded with lectures from men who can afford to stay nice and rational and non-angry, because they don't feel like they've just been punched in the face.
Punch 'em back.

Some say "sink to their level" I say "damn straight he's getting a bloody nose, the fucker punched me in the face". I was raised to believe I don't deserve a punch in the face, mainly I think because I am a man.

I'm not telling you how how to respond from any sort of "authority", only how I would see myself in that situation. Sure an eye for an eye and all that, but fuck 'em you know, I just got fucking punched.

[this is not to defend whatever faux left-wing arse has dropped the act this week, fucking "talk slut" well done that man. and by well done I mean nobody likes a tourist mate. jog on]
posted by fullerine at 1:57 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sucks, and he got some serious 'act right' right there. I like him in the lineup at MSNBC. He's normal. They need regular people on the tv cuz it's really hard to understand what all them smart folks is talkin bout. It's a talk show for the blue-collar worker, and a gateway to O'Donnell, Maddow, and Mathews.
posted by Flex1970 at 3:35 AM on May 26, 2011


was he using it like 'fame whore'? that might almost be okay

No, it really wouldn't be. Just because someone is on your side, that doesn't mean reprehensible behavior "almost might be okay".

Additionally, I find the framing of this story (here and elsewhere) interesting. It's being said that Schultz called her a "talk slut". That's technically true. But that's not the entire quote.

What he said was:

President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name?, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut ...

If his intention had been to imply something along the lines of "fame whore", he could easily have used that phrase in the first place. It may not be the most appropriate thing to call someone, but it's an existing phrase with known cultural context.

But, he didn't call her an fame whore or an attention whore. First and foremost, he called her a "right-wing slut". Only after saying that did he follow up by inventing a new phrase ("talk slut") to try to act as though his criticism all along was that she engages in political discourse in a way that he disapproves of.

Personally, I don't buy it. I think he's a sexist ass who thinks women who he doesn't agree with must be "sluts", and after saying that out loud, is now (and was then, with his follow-up "talk slut" comment) scrambling to come up with an after-the-fact explanation that paints what he said as metaphorical.

There is no excuse for this kind of behavior.
posted by tocts at 4:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a sorta talk slut.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


skewed: Respectfully, no, it's completely fucking irrelevant to the point being made, which was that calling someone a "slut" doesn't necessarily signify that the caller thinks the callee is a person of despicable sexuality anymore than calling a person a "bastard" requires one to think that the person was born out of wedlock.

Well, the obvious difference between "bastard" and "slut" there is that "bastard" is a dead metaphor. Pretty much nobody from my generation down cares whether or not you were born out of wedlock. "Wedlock" is itself an archaic expression. "Your parents were not married when you were conceived" just isn't a good basis for an insult any more in the United States. Whereas women are still regularly criticized, mocked and surprisingly often assaulted for expressing their sexuality in a way that is not acceptable to the people calling them sluts.

Or, to look at it another way: at some point in the future, it's quite possible that a black person is going to do something that pisses me off - and that thing won't be relevant to their race, just as Ingraham's off-pissing behaviour isn't tied to her gender. There's a derogatory term that I could use which is specifically used to insult black people, just as "slut" is specifically used to insult women and "bastard" is specifically used to insult men1. Even if I don't intend to signify by using that word that the person is anything like any of the things that people often mean when they call people it, I would steer hard away from using it, and if I used it in a public forum or on TV I'd want to apologize very shortly thereafter.

This is not to say that "talk slut" is likely to cause as much offence as the above example (as has already been demonstrated) and the metaphorical usage does make a difference to perception. That said, I do think it might be useful for people who really want to be able to call, say, Beyoncé an attention whore to think about what access to the term profits them and what it costs others.

1 Funny thing about "bastard", of course, is that as a descriptive term it can actually apply to a man or a woman - you can have bastard sons and bastard daughters. For example, the bastard in Dorothy Allison's novel Bastard out of Carolina is female. The reason it was applied in English as an insult to men so disproportionately that it became standard usage is that until fairly recently it didn't matter much if you were an illegitimate daughter - you wouldn't inherit anyway, and you wouldn't be passing on the family name or estates. So, "bastard" only made sense as an insult applied to men. Fun historical fact!
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:59 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


We are not worthy! We are not worthy even to praise the ground you have walked on, sir!

Shut up. My point is, just as no matter how pissed-off infuriated I was at a black guy I would never call him a nigger because that isn't in my vocabulary, I don't think wanting to say a mean thing about a mean lady is a rationalization for saying something misogynistic. Why would the word 'slut' enter into it?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:10 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would the word 'slut' enter into it?

At the risk of fanning flames here, maybe because it's descriptive of a certain kind of behavior? Sure, as a noun it refers derogatorily to women. But as an adjective it means profligate.

Whether using the term was smart on Schultz's part was effective or not is open to debate (obviously). But, IMO, you have to be pretty dumb to think that he was attacking Ingraham's sexual behavior.

( I would have been much, much harsher if I had to describe her.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


was smart on Schultz's part
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:39 AM on May 26, 2011


But, IMO, you have to be pretty dumb to think that he was attacking Ingraham's sexual behavior.

And you'd have to be really dumb to think that's what people here are doing. So, that's two hypotheticals dealt with!

Anyway, back on what's actually being discussed, here's a slightly (if you'll pardon the expression) orthogonal example. Around four months ago, Jim Sterling (a games journalist) and "Daphny" - a writer and coincidentally the girlfriend of game designer Anna Anthropy (whose Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars was recently FFPed here) got into an argument on Twitter. You can see his subsequently deleted posts to her here, although without context it's pretty much incomprehensible.

Now, from Sterling's point of view, I think, there is nothing misogynistic about the language he is using, because his intent is not misogynistic. He's just using the best weapons available to win the fight he's in - and since the fight he's in is with a woman, he's using the weapons which have been custom-designed for attacking women.

Anna Anthropy took a different view - that there is no non-misogynistic way to call a woman a bitch, or to tell her to get her husband's permission before using the computer. That is, even if you are simply expressing disapproval, the deep roots of these insults are all about denigrating women qua women, and you can't get away from that no matter how impeccably non-sexist you might be in other areas. As "Alex" pointed out in the Borderhouse Blog discussion of Anthropy's open letter to Sterling's employers:

Bottom line: if Sterling had responded by calling her an asshole troll, there would be no reason to talk about this.

The further grey area created by modifiers ("fame whore", "Tweet slut") is also a problem - as Schultz discovered (I'm pretty sure his survival instincts would have stopped him from calling her a bitch, for example). But I thought a really bright, dayglo-coloured example of a similar argument might be useful.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a difference between manipulating emotions with scare tactics, and presenting people with the scary reality of facts.

Just think how you'd feel if you saw someone run up to Mr. Rogers and sock him in the jaw. Probably pretty upset. But you don't lash out with violence, because that's the last thing Mr. Rogers would want. But you'd damn well make sure people know how despicable the person who punched him is, and you'd probably want to see to it that he's punished.

What we need is some accountability to temper the anger. Anger is a gift. It stirs you out of complacency. But you have to use that anger productively.
posted by Eideteker at 6:07 AM on May 26, 2011


the fucker punched me in the face

Fuck Fox, fuck MSNBC

The use of "slut" as an insult is disgusting; but (IMHO) even using the "f-word" as an insult implies that sexuality = hate. The fact that you are denigrating the entire sexual-reproductive process in order to belittle another human being merely justifies those who see sex as a form of violence, and thus as a method of control of other people.

I'd go so far as saying that ANYONE who uses the "f-bomb" is unwittingly participating in the normalization of violent and thus forced sex - it is part and parcel of rape culture. That's why I NEVER use the f-term, and I believe that it should be banned from MetaFilter. I use the terms "geni-tickles" and "geni-tickling" instead, e.g.:

-- "I very much enjoy geni-tickling all night with my partner, Bumfred".
-- "Hey, don't give me a geni-tickling parking ticket, geni-tickle-face".
-- "WHAT. THE. GENI-TICKLE. MATT???"
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:23 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Some background on invective and the Point / Counterpoint segment:
Before Shana [Alexander], our house liberal was Nicholas von Hoffman, who [sic] I reluctantly had to let go when he insisted on referring to the president of the United States, Richard Nixon, as "a dead mouse on the kitchen floor that everyone was afraid to touch and throw in the garbage." Granted, it was a difficult time and the description was not that far off target, but it wasn't the kind of thing I wanted someone to say about the president of the United States on 60 Minutes.
. . . a columnist wrote that I had taken Jack and Shana off the air because Saturday Night Live was satirizing them. . . what the silly son of a bitch should have known was that [the satire] was what had been keeing them on the air, even though the segment had run its course.
What to replace it with? I knew that Andy Rooney. . . was a hell of a writer. What I didn't know was whether he could cut it as an on-air personality. . .
-- Don Hewitt, Tell Me A Story: Fifty Years and 60 Minutes in Television
posted by Herodios at 6:48 AM on May 26, 2011


Moderators, please insert blank space until the words "Mr Rogers" and "geni-tickling" don't appear on screen simultaneously.

KTHXBAI
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:52 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Respectfully, no, it's completely fucking irrelevant to the point being made, which was that calling someone a "slut" doesn't necessarily signify that the caller thinks the callee is a person of despicable sexuality anymore than calling a person a "bastard" requires one to think that the person was born out of wedlock.
Not really. Bastard has been generalized, like 'bitch' but 'slut' hasn't really.
At the risk of fanning flames here, maybe because it's descriptive of a certain kind of behavior? Sure, as a noun it refers derogatorily to women. But as an adjective it means profligate.
Not really. I mean if you look at fox news they have all these pretty white slender blond young women reading the news along with dudes. (Seriously, not even a brunet!). One might say they're hired for their looks, so talk-sluts would be eye-candy for horny conservatives. I don't think he was using the term 'talk slut' the way people say 'cuddle slut' or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 AM on May 26, 2011


I don't really understand the noun/adjective thing - the adjectival form based on "slut" is "slutty", which means... like a slut. I mean, "talk slut" could be taken to mean something like "attention whore" - so. somebody who will do anything to get onto talk shows. Schultz actually said:
President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name?, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama's doing it, they're working him over.
So, "talk slut" there could possibly mean "she is morally flexible in the positions she adopts when she talks, or she will change her position in order to get on talk shows" or something like that, but directly before that he calls her a "right-wing slut", which is pretty clearly just using it as a gendered pejorative - like saying "right-wing bitch".
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:37 AM on May 26, 2011


Jeanne wrote: Sometimes I think we haven't moved on that much from the days when a lot of feminist anger came from women joining left-wing groups and being treated as devices for coffee and sex.

Personally, I think we've moved quite far. Why? Because women are now called nasty things because of the opinions they hold and the actions they take and not merely because they are women.

</privilege>
posted by wierdo at 7:40 AM on May 26, 2011


Fox Business hosts accuses Obama of 'chugging 40s,' insists he isn't racist.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:44 AM on May 26, 2011


God, I find Schultz unwatchable. Most of the time when someone is described as the "Limbaugh of the Left" it's a false equivalency. I'm not so sure about Schultz.
posted by brundlefly at 9:19 AM on May 26, 2011


Classic!
posted by PuppyCat at 9:51 AM on May 26, 2011


I like Ed Schultz. It's like my politically-loud uncle was dropped into TV News and is still surprised. I don't think he's completely unwatchable because he seems sincere (when he isn't taking lessons from Chris Matthews), though I flip the channel if he's just harping on some Republican. After his apology, I like Ed Schultz even more, and hope he remembers the humility when he comes back on the air.
posted by zennie at 10:44 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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