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04/22/2009

Malkin: Obama era sucks because Perez made an asinine comment

by Jeremy Hooper

It always astounds us when the social conservatives bemoan what they perceive to be unfair debate tactics, but then turn around and trump their own claims by engaging in discourse that's far more unsporting than the form that they're criticizing.

MalkinTake Michele Malkin (please, :ba-dum-dum:). Speaking about the Miss California controversy, the syndicated conservative columnist weaves a whole narrative about the supposedly lowered discourse that exists in the age of Obama. Here's a snip:

[Perez] Hilton immediately lambasted [Carrie] Prejean as a "dumb b****" in a viral YouTube video he taped after the pageant Sunday night. He apologized the next morning for the attack, then retracted his apology, then escalated his divisive rhetoric. On Tuesday afternoon, Hilton told an MSNBC female anchor that he was thinking of an even more vulgar epithet -- the "c-word" -- as he listened to Prejean's answer. The female anchor said nothing. Basking in his new role as thought and speech enforcer, Hilton told CNN's Larry King that beauty pageant contestants must bow to the tolerance mob: "Yes. I do expect Miss USA to be politically correct."

And apparently, the Miss USA organizers agree. Instead of apologizing for Hilton's vile behavior, the pageant director of the Miss California contest, Keith Lewis, sent a note to Hilton throwing Prejean under the bus: "I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss CA USA 2009 believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman....Religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss CA family."

But gutter profanity and misogyny do?

...
But in the Age of Obama, there's no room for such nuance and inconvenient truths. A decent young woman is a "dumb b****" for holding the same view of marriage as the Obamessiah.
Civility and Tolerance in the Age of Obama [Malkin]

Okay, so Malkin is criticizing Perez for calling Prejean a "dumb b----." And on that note, we totally agree with her. We've wasted much digital ink on that very subject. But Ms. Malkin doesn't care that Perez's words make many, many progressives uncomfortable. Ms. Malkin doesn't care that several of us have staunchly criticized the gossip blogger's reactions to this situation. She only cares about casting monolithic condemnations against everyone who finds comfort under the Obama umbrella, a modus operandi that's fully evidenced by the way she disingenuously casts Perez Hilton as a surrogate for all gay-related discourse in the "Age of Obama."

In casting such broad and unfair aspersions, Ms. Malkin is somewhat negating her column's key points (which also cover the recent Tea parties, Congressman Tom Tancredo, etc.). Anything further that she wishes to opine about the civility and tolerance of modern discourse is completely weakened, since she, by replacing a rational assessment of this controversy with a monolithic, shotgun-like attack against supposed gay intolerance, has proven herself more than willing to lower the conversational bar. Rather than "prove" that she takes the high road while her political opponents drive on a dirty path through a dark tunnel, she is showing a willingness to spin through whatever lane is most convenient to her thesis.

We'd expect these sorts of logic-leaps from a catty high school journalist wishing to get back at the cheerleader who stole her boyfriend. We wouldn't expect them from an fully-grown syndicated columnist who's paid to assess the American landscape, and who professes to have the civil state of our national conversation at heart.

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Your thoughts

First, Miss Malkin needs to get her facts straight. While Mr. Lewis did say he was saddened by her response (which is his opinion, which I guess according to Milken is throwing Prejean under the bus) His OFFICIAL statement is "I am proud of Carrie Prejean’s beauty and placement at the 2009 MISS USA pageant. I support Carrie’s right to express her personal beliefs even if they do not coincide with my own. I believe the subject of gay marriage deserves a great deal more conversation in order to heal the divide it has created".


Keith Lewis

Posted by: Greg C | Apr 22, 2009 1:43:47 PM

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've come to fully expect this sort of 'through the looking glass' rhetoric from Malkin and her ilk.

And for the record, I don't like Perez Hilton. Never did. But Perez called a spade a spade this time - regardless of how offensive his language. Too many years we're sat back and took abuse, too many people STILL equate "gay" or "so gay" with the ultimate insult -- I'm sure Malkin in one of them. And too many of our youth would rather off themselves than live in this phobic world.

So what Perez used the "B" word (look out, the sky is falling). "F" her and Malkin and anyone else who demands respect while while telling me that I'm going straight to Hell.

Posted by: Taylor Siluwé | Apr 22, 2009 1:50:26 PM

Well I take a diff. approach than you, Taylor, in that I strongly condemn Perez's "b", and especially "c" word (although that last one was implied, not stated). But it's okay to call him out for the inappropriate language, because he is not America's gay righs spokesman. And criticizing his response does not lessen one's opposition to Miss California's words.

The conservatives are seizing on Perez's response, just as we feared they would. They are making it a black/white situation where you either support Prejean or Perez. Malkin in fostering this same anti-intellectual argument, while criticizing this nation's discourse.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Apr 22, 2009 2:06:18 PM

And it's weird, but this tactic of trying to link Hilton to all of us isn't working. Slowly but surely this issue is petering out.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Apr 22, 2009 5:26:13 PM

I've always been a bit disappointed with Perez for not taking more of a stand for LGBT rights. But, now that he sort-of has, I now am much more appreciative that he hasn't been at the forefront. He does have a big audience, and while it might be advantageous to utilize that resource, I'm sad to say that maybe he shouldn't be lending his weight. Or, perhaps a better solution would be for him to (at least) bounce his comments by someone with a bit more finesse, before he blurts them out for everyone to hear.

We are fighting a PR battle as much as any of our other battles, and PR requires a bit more tact and diplomacy. JH, you should offer up your services to him - maybe you would be able to keep from sticking his foot in all of our mouths in the future. And, he is making some pretty big bank, so he could probably keep you on retainer!

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 22, 2009 8:00:01 PM

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