Have You No Shame

 

“She
had
wandered,
without rule
or guidance,
into a
moral
wilderness.”

 

 

Timeline:
Summer of 1642,
A Puritan village near Boston Massachusetts.

Writer, Nanthanial Hawthorne’s Magnus Opum, The Scarlet Letter tells the tale of a young woman, named Hester Prynne. She has been led from the town prison with her infant daughter in her arms, and on the breast of her gown is stitched “a rag of scarlet cloth” that “assumed the shape of a letter.” It is the uppercase letter “A” or what is to become known as The Scarlet Letter. It represents the act of adultery that she has committed and it is to be a symbol of her sin—a badge of shame—for all to see.

For Hester Pryne, the scarlet letter represented “her passport into regions where other women dared not tread”, leading her to “speculate” about her society and herself more “boldly” than anyone else in New England had ever done before. Throughout history, Hawthorne’s heroine has come to be viewed as his literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power.

 

Timeline:
Winter of 2012,
United States of America,
March, Women’s History Month
Presidential Election Year

Republican icon and preeminent conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, in an attack against Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, who testified before a Congressional Committee last week to amend the school’s current health insurance policy to cover contraception, shared his ideas about what should happen to women who dare disagree with him on women’s health.

 

 

“So Miss Fluke,
and the rest of you feminazis,
here’s the deal.
If we are going to pay for your contraceptives,
and thus pay for you to have sex,
we want something for it.
We want you to post the videos online
so we can all watch. …

Sandra Fluke 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.
She’s having so much sex
she can’t afford the contraception.
She wants you and me and the taxpayers
to pay her to have sex.
What does that make us?
We’re the pimps. The johns.”

Rush Limbaugh

 

 

 

 

All because a woman dares to hold an opinion.

Washington Post

 

Have you No Shame Rush?

Maureen Dowd

 

“What Rush Limbaugh Said Was Crude, Rude, Even Piggish”

Peggy Noonan

 

Limbaugh spent three days smearing, by name, Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University Law School student as a greedy nymphomaniac having so much sex “it’s amazing she can still walk.”

Media Matters

 

“I think what Rush Limbaugh said about that young woman was not only vile and degrading to her, but to women across the country.”

David Axelrod

 

Rush boss Clear Channel speaks thru it’s Premiere Networks, says “We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh … to express those opinions.”

Huffington Post

 

This is “what a nervous breakdown looks like and that’s what has been broadcast across AM talk radio, Fox News and the Internet since last Wednesday.”

Bert Boehlert, Media Matters

 

“She provided a model of civil discourse. This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression.”

Georgetown president, John DeGioia

 

Mitt Romney reacted to Limbaugh for days with craven silence before finally allowing on a rope line on Friday night that “it’s not the language I would have used.”
Is there a right way to call a woman a slut?

Op Ed, NY Times

 

Conservative talk radio host, Mark Levin tells media ‘Go to Hell’ – ‘You’re not Going to Succeed in Driving Rush Limbaugh From the Airwaves.’

Mark Levin

 

“Rush only “apologized” to keep advertisers: “It was his bottom line that he was concerned about”

Ron Paul

 

Rick Santorum, whose views on women are medieval, said “an entertainer can be absurd.”

Op Ed, NYTimes

 

Don Imus today called Limbaugh’s apology “lame” and referred to his fellow radio talk show host as an “insincere pig” on his program.

Daily Caller

 

The logic makes no sense. There’s nothing substantive in common between being paid to have sex, and having contraceptives be provided by a health plan. (Would you call a man a gigolo because he uses a condom that he got for free from some university giveaway?) The allegation that somehow Ms. Fluke is “having so much sex” strikes me as misunderstanding the way birth control pills work: You have to take them all the time even if you’re having sex only rarely, and even if you’re having sex with only one person (I mention this because the implication seems to me that Ms. Fluke is being promiscuous).

Law Professor, Eugene Volokh

 

Rush Limbaugh said today he was “sincere” and “heartfelt” in his apology to Sandra Fluke, as he explained that he never believed the Georgetown University student was a “slut” or “prostitute” when he said those words last week.

USA Today

 

“The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women’s health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced.”

Sandra Fluke, Washington Post

 

 

 

 

“Let us,
on both sides,
lay aside all arrogance.
Let us not,
on either side,
claim
that we have
already
discovered
the truth.”

St. Augustine

 

 

 

Image: Hester Prynne. Wikipedia Public Commons
Quote: Nathanial Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

 

 

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~ by eaesthete on 03/05/12.

7 Responses to “Have You No Shame”

  1. Your blog is absolutely brilliant. Coincidental that you introduced this post with Hester Pryne as I have just completed a painting of her in a contemporary context (which had nothing to do with the current issues that you mentioned). It was genius to parallel the two, however.

    I commend you on your excellent writing and research. I look forward to each of your posts.

  2. Thank you for this. I was kind of waiting for you to say something, hoping that you might. It has been consuming my thoughts lately and I, like most other women, found Limbaugh’s comment thoroughly disgusting, not that I would ever expect any less (or rather: more) from him. I think you touched on a very important comparison and as usual artfully and tactfully hit the nail on the head. I always admire the grace with which you address the painful things.

  3. There is something terribly, terribly wrong with Mr. Limbaugh. He is a pitiful man.

  4. If there is such a thing as a moral compass among the populace, it will lead Limbaugh supporters to the edge of the proverbial cliff.

  5. Perfectly put together. A brilliant post.

  6. That despicable man, obviously a voyeur, hates what he likes to watch — but wants to get it free on the internet.

  7. Powerful post……. thank you!

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