What Rush Has *Not* Apologized For - And It's Not What You Think

It's all over the everywhere, this Rush controversy, sweeping up even those people who hadn't ever paid much attention to his outrageous racism and sexism before.*  And in an unusual twist for these sorts of situations, Rush's "apology" to Ms. Fluke has actually been seen and shown for the total non-apology that it is.  Which is pretty cool.

But most of the criticism I'm seeing about his nonpology is that he apologized "for the words" but not the sentiment, and/or that he called them "poorly chosen" even though he repeated the statement several times over the course of a few days, which rather gives the lie to any protestation that they were chosen in haste and he just hadn't thought it through, oops.  Which are absolutely valid criticisms of his piss-poor half-assed attempt to shut his critics up "apology", by all means.

What I haven't seen much of, on the other hand, are the aspects of the whole controversy and subsequent nonpology that I actually found to be far more insulting, infuriating, and offensive than the slut/prostitute/poor word choice bit.

Firstly, everyone is talking about the fact that he apologized very specifically for those two words.  Nobody seems to have mentioned his complete lack of an apology for the demand for a sex tape, as if having a hand in subsidizing someone's birth control (no matter how far removed - it's not like you pay your taxes by handing over $50 to the pharmacist and then hand the bag of contraceptives to the person taking them) entitles one to turn them into a porn star against their will.  Honestly, of the two parts of his horrible spew of misogyny, I found Rush's demand for a sex tape posted on the internet to be far more offensive, far cruder and far more vitriolic than calling Ms. Fluke a slut and a prostitute, because of the way it framed and highlighted the "women's sexuality as public property" trope that is foundational to rape culture.  Where is the apology for that?  Where is the outrage that he hasn't apologized for it?

Secondly, I have seen surprisingly little commentary** that repudiates his assertion that he, as a taxpayer, was paying for Ms. Fluke's contraceptive medication in the first place, the premise on which his testerical little rant was based.  Because it's flat out bullshit - bullshit that he actually reiterates in his nonpology, no less!  "I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?"  Except that Fluke's testimony was not even remotely about being on taxpayer-subsidized insurance like Medicaid or any such assistance program that would mean taxpayer funds buying her contraceptives.  It was about private insurance that she and other students were paying into through their fees to the university.  That's their money, and the organization's money, not taxpayer money!  So his whole premise for demanding she produce porn for his enjoyment, as punishment for the audacity to want to protect herself from pregnancy***, was fallacious from the first word onward.

I'm glad Rush is finally getting the backlash he has so richly deserved for so long.  I'm frustrated that it took this long, that it only finally happened when he called a white woman a prostitute and not, say, when he called the First Lady of the United States "uppity", and that even in this backlash many people are allowing a goodly chunk of his true fuckery to go unacknowledged and unexamined.  So please, I am asking everyone who reads this: the next time you get into a conversation with someone - or an argument, or a screaming match, whatever, I'm not picky - about this, please, don't just argue that it was wrong to call Fluke a slut and a prostitute.  Remember that those words are only about a third of the real problem here, and bring these other issues to light for other people as well.

*Which says a lot about our priorities, as a country and in particular the media's priorities in never really covering his more outrageous racist attacks, often against women of color, up to and including the First Lady (calling her "uppity", speculating on her "authentic slave blood", etc), enough to ever provoke this kind of backlash.

**Lol.  So pretty much as soon as I finish writing this and hit queue to publish it tomorrow, I come across this on my tumblr dashboard.  Okay, so not everyone is letting him get away with the lie within the lie, which is good - but I've been following this since it broke, and this is literally the first I've seen of someone calling it out, so.  I still stand by my assertion that there's very little commentary calling out that aspect of it.

***Her testimony wasn't even about using birth control for contraceptive purposes, anyway - nor was it even specifically about her own experiences needing contraception.  It was a compilation of stories of other women she'd spoken to, about using it to control PCOS and other medical conditions that have nothing to do with having sex and not getting pregnant.  Moar fallacies!  Moar lies!  Bullshit for everyone!


Teaspoon said...

Thanks for writing about this.  I keep going entirely incoherent with rage when it comes up, so hopefully having read your post will help me get the words out in the right order!

Jadelyn said...

I don't blame you - the whole thing is incredibly rage-making from top to bottom.  Happy to help though!


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