Thursday, October 15, 2009

Limbaugh: if it Weren't about Race it Would Have been about any of a Million Other Things

Much is being made over some odious comments Rush Limbaugh has made regarding African-Americans -- and here are some sourced examples that would get most professional sports owners fined, just ask Marge Schott --but the fact of the matter is that Limbaugh has a whole back catalog of abusive statements to rummage through. Take, for example, some of his many sexist remarks.

This isn't a small issue. The NFL has been trying its damnedest to bring women into the fold in recent years. Remember this commercial:

The message here is pretty simple: the NFL is for women too -- you can be sexy and a football fan at the same time. It's brilliant marketing and one of the reasons the NFL is so good at what it does.

This month the League is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month with four -- that right, four! -- weeks of pink-wearing and community activities. There's a reason why the NFL choose breast cancer as opposed to testicular, lung, colon or any other cancer: it's because the NFL wants to show potential fans that it cares about women ... and then subsequently sell the pink merchandise to women.

Women are the next big "get" for the NFL. No one needs to sell football to guys any more, but women who like football have traditionally been dismissed by their peers as "tomboys" (and worse) and the NFL will likely need some time to remold public perception.

But the League has more than just traditional gender roles to deal with in its pursuit of the female demographic. There are a lot of aspects of contemporary professional football that are turn-offs to many women.

For one thing, there are no female athletes. I know it almost sounds silly to say, but it's a fact that is likely not going to be changed any time soon. Second, the women that are part of the game in ancillary capacities tend to be objectified for their looks. The cheerleaders, the hot weather lady on the FOX pre-game show, Erin Andrews (though, to be fair, she really is quite good at what she does) and various other sidelines reporters, etc. Then there's the League's less than stellar reputation with domestic violence...

It's no easy task that the NFL has lined up for itself, so the last thing the League would want to deal with is an owner with a history of making utterly sexist and offensive remarks, the very man who coined the phrase "feminazi," a word that is viewed by many women as a general slur on their gender, not just one aimed at feminists.

The sad thing that Limbaugh actually revels in his repulsion among women. He even suggested convening a "Female Listen Summit" to have women explain to him why he's such a douche. That's certainly one way of going about it.

But here are some of his other golden oldies:
  • #16 on Limbaugh's list of "35 Undeniable Truths of Life" is that "women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud." You know, because our sex-crazed brains just couldn't handle it. Oh, and #24? "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." [via B]
  • "Some of these babes, I'm telling you, like the sexual harassment crowd. They're out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes." [via TGW]
  • “She’s actually a very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn’t have to do anything for it, which is why I say this cat’s taught me more about women, than anything my whole life.” [via TP]
  • Responding to an Associated Press report that four women had been recently appointed as chiefs of police in four major U.S. cities, Limbaugh referenced the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib as follows on May 27: "If we've got four new female police chiefs out there, then I guess we can watch out for some naked pyramids among prisoners in these new jailhouses that these women ran, because we had a woman running the prison in Abu Grab [sic]." [via MMA]
  • "Edwards might be attracted to a woman whose mouth did something other than talk." [via TGW]
This is not exactly "on message" so far as the NFL is concerned.

What about the other enormous demographic the NFL is trying to court: Latinos.

Does anyone really think Limbaugh, a guy who has called the Latino mayor of LA a "shoe shine boy" and a Latina Supreme Court Justice a "racist" and a "housekeeper," is going to get much traction in the Hispanic community?

Of course not.

And all of this leads to the larger issue: Limbaugh is a professional asshole. He's made a fine living calling scores of people petty and churlish names for over two decades now. No one listens to him because he has some great insight into politics -- he has an audience because he entertains people by being a dick to those whom his audience perceives have slighted them: liberals, Democrats, minorities, women, foreigners, intellectuals, the media and so on and on.

Politics is about building relationships, not burning bridges, and that's what Limbaugh's specializes in. He hates on blacks, he hates on women, he hates on people effected by Parkinsons disease, he hates on just about everyone -- it should come as no surprise that those people should hate him back. This is who he is and it should come as no surprise to anyone that his shtick is not in great demand.

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