So, here’s something new:
Indeed. Via Jill at Feministe, we find that Breitbart’s and Palin’s use of “blood libel” (which is actually a specific term, with a specific history, relating to anti-Semitic myths about Jewish folks drinking blood and such — myths which were used to justify murdering Jewish people, for a really long time, by the way, and when a Jewish woman is currently in critical condition due to being the primary target of an assassination attempt? MAYBE YOU WANNA BE CAREFUL ON THAT ONE) was, in fact, totally fine.
Because the other option? Is that Palin’s critics are gang-rapists.
“I used ‘blood libel’ because I thought analogy of lefties at pinball machine in Jodie Foster film ‘The Accused’ was too obscure,” he Tweets, and no, Andy: It’s not that obscure. That would be one of the more famous rape scenes in film history, in fact. And the “analogy” is that publicly criticizing Palin, and the Tea Party, for their role in — I mean, for some reason we’ve decided to skate around this, but let’s say it again –PUMPING THE AIR FULL OF GUN-BASED IMAGERY AND RHETORIC, WHICH HAD ALREADY REACHED FEVER PITCH AND RESULTED IN THREATS ON GABRIELLE GIFFORDS’ LIFE AND SOME VIOLENCE AGAINST HER, WHEN SOMEONE ACTUALLY SHOT HER AND KILLED A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE, AND NO MATTER WHO HE WAS OR WHAT HE WAS THINKING, HE WAS LIVING IN A CULTURE THAT LINKED GUNS, VIOLENCE, AND THIS WOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, is, in effect, personally gang-raping Sarah Palin.
Okay. Let’s talk for a minute about how this is sexist, before we proceed. One: The continuing premise of Sarah Palin supporters is that Sarah Palin is a woman, therefore any and all criticism of her should be silenced, for she is a woman. Two: As someone who is, uh, not exactly opposed to pointing out sexism on the part of the left wing, I will freely admit that some of the criticism of Sarah Palin has been sexist. I’ve written about it. I’ve gotten in arguments with fellow left-wing people about it. Some of the criticism of Sarah Palin has been sexist. Many feminists and otherwise responsible people — the first one who springs to mind, the most vocal, the one who got perhaps the most shit for it from the left, is Melissa McEwan — have also written about this. Three: This is distinct from legitimate criticism. Which any and all people who operate as politicians must face. And four: Uh, NOT A LOT of the criticism of Sarah Palin that I’ve seen in these past few days has been focused on her gender. It’s mostly been about how she and others talked up guns constantly, and were totally freaking irresponsible about it, and then somebody got shot.
And here’s the part where this is sexist: You know how any and all criticism of Sarah Palin is supposedly sexist? And this particular strong, widespread criticism is apparently a fucking gang rape? Reduces her, wholly and entirely, to her gender. And suggests that, because of her gender, she can’t be responsible for any damn thing she does. It suggests that, as a woman, she is incapable of operating in the public sphere, because she’s a lady and we’re all gonna rape her, so hold her train when she crosses a puddle and give way to her childish feminine whims and, you know, maybe don’t let her vote because ladies can’t be held responsible, and you know, don’t let her go to certain places without a male to escort her and guard her virtue. It’s sexist precisely in the sense that it suggests that women cannot be as smart or as accountable for their actions as men can.
And then let’s get to the part where he called you a rapist. And me. And all of the feminist anti-rape activists who also criticized Palin. We’re all rapists now, apparently. Except that this also trivializes rape.
Because Sarah Palin could be harshly criticized over this. Being harshly criticized is not rape.
Because Sarah Palin’s chances at a Presidential run could be damaged over this. Having one’s chances at achieving a goal lessened is not rape.
Because Sarah Palin’s public image could be tarnished over this. Having one’s public image tarnished is not rape.
Because Sarah Palin’s career could end over this. Having one’s career ended is not rape.
Rape is rape. And a false equivalency between any of these things — these things which are, comparably, far less serious than rape — and rape itself only serves to promote the message that rape itself is not that serious.
I take exception to that. I really, wholly and fully do.
All of the false-equivalency, “left is just as bad” rhetoric — which, in all honesty, is often disingenuous or ass-covering (what if it turns out he didn’t like Palin? He still lived in the culture of violence she helped to create) at best, straight-up lies and attempts to discredit Palin’s critics at worst — has been pretty offensive. But the thing is? Of all the people I’ve seen, only Breitbart took it decisively too far. Only Breitbart called us all a bunch of rapists.
And yeah. Breitbart isn’t going to change his mind. Breitbart’s scummy and weird and his whole thing is about trying to get people mad by being obviously sexist or variously scummy, and then being like, “oh, my gosh! Look at how these people are mad and stuff!” Breitbart, in other words, isn’t Michael Moore. We can’t talk to the man.
But that whole “left is just as bad” thing? Yeah. That’s kind of decisively, publicly false. And everyone can see it. And we have one very special man to thank for that.
So, thank you, Andrew Breitbart! Now we can go back toward putting the focus where it belongs.