As regular readers of my scribbling and listeners to my show know, for years I have described the Three Stages of Arguing with A Liberal, the very predictable responses we get when we try to debate with our pink-around-the-edges friends, frustrated that they cannot defeat our facts and logic with their threadbare clichès and moronic slogans. Stage 1: Mocking Laughter, as in, “you don’t seriously believe that, do you? You have GOT to be kidding!” accompanied by a condescending sneer; Stage 2: Feigned Moral Outrage, as in “I am thoroughly disgusted by your desire to starve children!” or “That’s DISGUSTING! I find that remark intolerably offensive! I am OUTRAGED!”; Stage 3: Irrational name-calling, with accusations of racism often added to ensure silencing of people who insist on bringing up inconvenient truths.
In view of the minor dust up after Robert DeNiro told a lame joke at a Michelle Obama fundraiser earlier this week, I am compelled to address Stage 2. (My work is never done, it seems.) Yesterday, someone asked me if I had heard DeNiro’s attempt at humor, for which he has apologized. If you haven’t, he said “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” I told my friend that when I read about it on Tuesday, I frankly didn’t pay much attention. It was a statement made by an actor, after all. Seriously, I’m going to get really hot and bothered over something said by an actor? As we well know, these are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Almost anytime they say anything half-way rational or interesting, it was written by someone else. That’s an actor’s job: to speak words written by a smart person, in other words, someone else, in a convincing and compelling way. There are dolphins smarter than most of these people! So while it’s true that I watch so you don’t have to, and I think we do a pretty good job of chronically the imbecilic remarks that celebutards make, even I can’t get excited about every stupid thing that everyone one of these pinheads say.
I also told my curious friend that I thought the reason that in the last few days some conservatives, notably former Speaker Gingrich and the Republican Jewish Coalition, have decided to react as they did, demanding apologies and acting like members of the liberal outrage chorus, is that they’ve decided that if that’s the game, then they are damn well going to play it, too. Conservatives have generally taken a “sticks and stones” approach to the things people say, and we’ve made no secret of the fact that we are fed up with people walking around looking for reasons to be “offended.” I think that Newt and the RJC were looking to shine a light on the hypocrisy of liberals, who are the first to point the finger and shout “racist,” when they are at least as obsessed with race as a random selection of members of the Ku Klux Klan, and their remarks keep proving it.
So, I didn’t think much of it again, until I saw Bill Maher’s New York Times op-ed entitled “Please Stop Apologizing.” I was hoping that he was talking about Obama when he visits foreign dictators, but no such luck. He was talking about DeNiro, Axelrod and Rush Limbaugh. He wrote:
Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.
If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.
The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.
OK, it’s not great writing. Of course not. Bill Maher’s not very talented, but you’ve got to hand to him for being able to turn a potty mouth and a supercilious attitude into a career of sorts. And yes, when Maher defends people like Rush Limbaugh, who in this piece he took the irresistible opportunity to call a racist, he’s not acting without self-interest. He’s heard the calls for him to return the $1 million he gave Barack Obama’s PAC because of his filthy remarks about Sarah Palin, and he wants this truce badly. Still, here, he makes a good point, one that we conservatives should take to heart. The way to defeat liberals isn’t to join their silly crusade against free speech. The way to defeat liberals is to expose them by forcing them to defend their positions. We can’t lose.
I am curious about something not mentioned in any of the reports I read about this event. How did Michelle “Mean Country” Obama react to DeNiro’s joke? Her PR flack came out and called the comment “inappropriate,” which I suppose is good political damage control, but did she consider it inappropriate at the time, and if so, did she say so? Or did she laugh along? If so, she demonstrates two facts that are not news: Michelle is a phony hypocrite, and like most liberals, she has no sense of humor.
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