Townhall Writer Calls Michelle Obama a Bitch

I just wrote to Salem Communications, asking them if they considered it a Christian value now to support writers who joke that if the Obama family gets a female dog, the dog will be Second Bitch. Or who mock the idea that Michelle Obama could be considered as pretty or as glamorous or have the fashion sense of Jackie Kennedy, because… you know… she’s black.

All this and more is taking place at Townhall.com, which is owned by Salem Communications. Chris Kelly has the details, here.

27 Responses to “Townhall Writer Calls Michelle Obama a Bitch”

  1. patrikios says:

    Of course it isn’t Christian. One thing you need to know is that “Christianity” is more a tribal identity (secondary to conservative politics) than a lived belief for a lot of these right-wingers.

  2. walkerdev says:

    Great post. It is so amazing that you actually called them.
    I think I will start doing that. Don’t want to steal your moves, but that is classic.

  3. tas says:

    I wanted to find this column, so I went to Townhall and typed “bitch” into their search box. This, I shit you not, is what it told me: “One or more of the words used in your query was deemed offensive and will not be searched for.

    But it’s OK for their writers to use it. You just can’t know it’s there!

  4. Kathy says:

    Feel free, dev. These things are meant to be passed forward. 🙂

    And tas, I am floored, but I shouldn’t be.

  5. Townhall scurried around and took down not only the original language, but also several comments which quoted the “bitch” sentence and congratulated the author on a “good one”.

    Hopefully the HuffPost saved a screen shot.

    If you want to read the article as written, Free Republic, that right-wing radical racist theocratic p.o.s. blog, has the original article, as well as several comments regarding the “bitch” line:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2212530/posts

    Be sure to save an archive of the page — Salem Communications is doing its best to “disappear” this language from the web. Not that they’re sorry; they just want to protect their wholesome “brand.” It’s all about Jesus…as long as he’s got a fistfull of cash in that nail-pierced hand.

  6. gcotharn says:

    Prelutsky ought apologize for bitch and for the James Brown comparison. Classless. It’s a shame a First Lady has to endure such tripe.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Changing subject, please consider which is more damaging:

    1) Calling someone “a bitch … who looks like James Brown … and has no taste”?
    or
    2) Falsely accusing someone of being racist?

    Chris Kelly never got withing a hundred miles of making a case that Prelutsky has written with racist tinge. Kelly writes:

    If you read Burt Prelutsky’s columns, you’ll see that he isn’t a racist; he just has a lot of thoughts — I mean a lot — about how black people should behave. If Langston Hughes had talked about black people as much at Burt Prelutsky does, someone would have told him to sit down.

    Kelly attempts to create a new standard: offensive racial ignorance which falls just short of what society defines as actual racism. Kelly senses he cannot make a case that Prelutsky is racist, yet Kelly nevertheless wants, soo badly, to slam Prelutsky on racial grounds.

    Kelly asserts Prelutsky’s criticism of the First Lady, however classless, generates from offensive racial ignorance which falls just short of what society defines as actual racism..

    To bolster his case, Kelly asserts a previous Prelutsky disagreement/discussion about the definition of “racist society” amounts to evidence of Prelutsky’s offensive racial ignorance which falls just short of what society defines as actual racism..

    Kelly gives no more particulars which justify Prelutsky’s harboring offensive racial ignorance which falls just short of what society defines as actual racism.. In Kelly reasoning, the above two examples, plus Kelly’s strong feelings about Prelutsky’s guilt, equal fait accompli.

    Kelly’s reasoning does not hold together; his strong feelings do not amount to truth. I could make a better case that Kelly demonstrated actual racism in his assumptions about Prelutsky.

    In terms of damage to Prelutsky’s reputation, Kelly’s standard: offensive racial ignorance which falls just short of what society defines as actual racism, amounts to a distinction which makes little difference. Accusing someone of racist thinking of whatever type does lasting damage to that person’s reputation – far more damage, for instance, than calling someone an unattractive bitch with no taste. Kelly has effectively accused Prelutsky of being a witch; and you, Kathy – to the extent you endorse Kelly’s racial assertion – represent the hysterical townsfolk of olde Salem.

    In our society, either maliciously or blithely accusing someone of racist leanings is offensive. I feel bound, on behalf of Burt Prelutsky, to protest this offensive behavior.

  7. Chief says:

    Saved it to my desktop. I’m sure that it will disappear from most places on the Web.

  8. Sue says:

    It’s such a shame. We have a beautiful President and First Lady, why can’t these racist swine crawl back in their holes! I have not seen anything but grace and kindness and a love for her family and country, coming from Michelle Obama! YES! Mrs. Obama does love God and her country, get over it pigs!

  9. Kathy says:

    Thank you, Athena, and Chief. I saved it to my desktop, too.

    To Greg:

    I assume you are also outraged that Prelutsky called the Obamas’ former church “racist” and gave himself permission to savage Michelle Obama because she attended this church.

    I *have* to assume that, because you say nothing about it. But I’m sure you *are* outraged at that, because if you weren’t, you would be a hypocrite. And we all know you’re not a hypocrite.

    Prelutsky also attacks JFK and Bill Clinton’s physical appearance, of course, so racism is not the only factor here. Sexism is involved, too, and also just plain viciousness.

    As for your question, which is worse 1) Calling someone “a bitch … who looks like James Brown … and has no taste”? or 2) Falsely accusing someone of being racist?, it’s an absurd question because (a) There is no need to trivialize a heinous, extraordinarily offensive personal attack on Michelle Obama on the grounds that another assertion you do not like is “more” offensive; and because (b) whether Prelutsky’s attack on Michelle Obama is racist or not is not a matter of true or false. You can certainly say with legitimacy that it’s either fair or unfair to say Prelutsky is being racist, but you cannot legitimately say it’s true or false. That framework simply does not fit. It’s subjective — a matter of opinion, and people will reach different conclusions based on their political and personal values as well as their own unique life experience. Having said that, there is a highly reasonable and fair argument to be made that Prelutsky’s comments about Michelle Obama DO have a racist tinge — not to mention a sexist tinge.

    When you say, “In our society, either maliciously or blithely accusing someone of racist leanings is offensive. I feel bound, on behalf of Burt Prelutsky, to protest this offensive behavior,” you appear to assume that accusing someone of racist leanings is malicious or blithe *by definition.* That’s simply not true. The context of this being “in our society” is precisely the reason WHY one always does have to be sensitive to racist undertones or leanings — it’s not a reason why one should assume malicious intent.

    Accusing someone of racist thinking of whatever type does lasting damage to that person’s reputation – far more damage, for instance, than calling someone an unattractive bitch with no taste.

    In your extremely uninformed and unperceptive opinion, of course. On the right, being called racist is rather a badge of honor. It’s certainly not “damaging.” No one’s political career was ever ruined by having a public reputation for racist thinking or language. Or, more specifically, I should say that no white politician or media pundit, etc., was ever ruined professionally or personally by accusations of racism against black people. Several (at least) political careers and/or personal reputations have been ruined or seriously damaged in cases where white people were being accused of racist language or behavior by black people. Black people pay a much heavier price for public accusations of racist intent, language, or behavior on the part of white people, than do white people for public accusations of racist intent, language, or behavior on the part of black people.

  10. gcotharn says:

    I was not trivializing Prelutsky’s remarks about the First Lady. Their lack of class stands on it’s own merits.

    I was pointing to the irony of Chris Kelly condemning Prelutsky, then immediately making a more damaging assertion than Prelutsky made – an assertion (racist tinge) which is virtually unparalleled in it’s ability to ruin public reputations.

    If, as you say:

    “there is a highly reasonable and fair argument to be made that Prelutsky’s comments about Michelle Obama DO have a racist tinge”

    then would someone please make that argument? Chris Kelly has not.

    My statement:

    “In our society, either maliciously or blithely accusing someone of racist leanings is offensive.”

    leaves room for justifiable accusation of racism. Neither maliciously skewed nor blithely considered accusations are justifiable. One ought consider very seriously before accusing someone of racism. In our society, and rightly so: “racism” is a loaded, emotional charge against someone. Even if the accused is innocent, the charge and the ensuing pile on reaction can damage or even wreck the career of that innocent person.

    Do I really need to list the persons damaged by accusations (whether legit or not) of racially tinged actions in some way or another? Do I really need to demonstrate the emotional heat and the career damage surrounding such accusation? In this last election cycle alone:

    “Macaca”
    Biden was hit for something about convenience store clerks
    Bill Clinton was hit
    John Lewis hit McCain over something McCain was not doing: bringing Rev Wright into things
    Sarah Palin was hit – even by you – over unsourced rumor about diner conversation – which rumor originated with California bloggers who have historic connections to David Axelrod.

    It’s obvious that some persons in politics believe racial accusation causes damage.

    Beyond politics, look at the damaged:

    Kramer (whatev his name is)
    Imus
    William Bennett
    Every corporation Jesse Jackson ever blackmailed
    Duke Lacrosse players
    Jena, LA

    Innumerable private citizens and companies damaged by individual false accusations. Most of us probably know people who have personal experience with being falsely accused and then wasting time with inevitable EEOC inquiries – or at least we know people who know people.

    I’ll throw in Bill Cosby, who was labeled “self-hating black man” and whose reputation has suffered

    I will say that Juan Williams, of FoxNews, is an example your “badge of honor” point. He seems to be thriving after being accused of racist writings and thoughts. Such seems to be helping his career. Still, that doesn’t excuse his malicious or blithe accusers. Also, that some Americans empathize with him does not change that (tens of thousands of?) other Americans have been swayed to believe him a racist. It seems unlikely that Juan Williams is pleased about that.

    As for your

    I assume you are also outraged that Prelutsky called the Obamas’ former church “racist” and gave himself permission to savage Michelle Obama because she attended this church.

    Lately, I’ve tried very hard to not throw around accusations of racism. However, as best I recall, my original entry onto this blog came via Memeorandum, and consisted of me giving examples of where Rev. Wright was preaching racist, anti white theology. I’ve yet to see a persuasive argument to the contrary. Michelle Obama deserves to be savaged for 20 years of attendance at that church. Any effort to ignore her culpability is an effort to bend and skew history.

  11. gcotharn says:

    One more: Mel Gibson – classic case of career and reputation damage.

    The point is not whether or not Mel Gibson deserves such career and reputation damage. The points are:

    1) the charge is emotionally heated and is damaging to career and reputation, and
    2) some damage occurs even if the accused is innocent.

    This second part is especially pernicious, and is an especial reason why malicious and blithe accusation is offensive.

  12. Kathy says:

    Biden was hit for something about convenience store clerks
    Bill Clinton was hit
    John Lewis hit McCain over something McCain was not doing: bringing Rev Wright into things
    Sarah Palin was hit – even by you – over unsourced rumor about diner conversation – which rumor originated with California bloggers who have historic connections to David Axelrod.

    And the above individuals’ careers were ruined, right?

    I’ll throw in Bill Cosby, who was labeled “self-hating black man” and whose reputation has suffered

    1. Give me objective evidence (or any evidence) that Bill Cosby’s reputation has suffered.

    2. Noam Chomsky, Ezra Klein, Benny Morris, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Lerner, Eric Alterman, and many more well-known Jewish writers and thinkers who support Palestinian rights and a two-state solution and who criticize orthodox (small o) Jewish opinion on Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians are routinely labeled “self-hating Jews” (Klein most recently when he objected on his blog to anti-Semitic comments by some of Ann Althouse’s readers). Have their reputations suffered?

    3. … leaves room for justifiable accusation of racism. Neither maliciously skewed nor blithely considered accusations are justifiable.

    This, of course, begs the question.

    4. I was pointing to the irony of Chris Kelly condemning Prelutsky, then immediately making a more damaging assertion than Prelutsky made – an assertion (racist tinge) which is virtually unparalleled in it’s ability to ruin public reputations.

    You ignored my answer to this. I will re-post it:

    “On the right, being called racist is rather a badge of honor. It’s certainly not “damaging.” No one’s political career was ever ruined by having a public reputation for racist thinking or language. Or, more specifically, I should say that no white politician or media pundit, etc., was ever ruined professionally or personally by accusations of racism against black people. Several (at least) political careers and/or personal reputations have been ruined or seriously damaged in cases where white people were being accused of racist language or behavior by black people. Black people pay a much heavier price for public accusations of racist intent, language, or behavior on the part of white people, than do white people for public accusations of racist intent, language, or behavior on the part of black people.”

    5. However, as best I recall, my original entry onto this blog came via Memeorandum, and consisted of me giving examples of where Rev. Wright was preaching racist, anti white theology. I’ve yet to see a persuasive argument to the contrary.

    Many intelligent arguments have been made countering the notion that Rev. Wright was preaching racist, anti-white theology. That you do not find them persuasive is not a reliable indication that Rev. Wright was, in fact, preaching racist, anti-white theology. Personally, I do not think any of what Rev. Wright said in the sermons of his that were made public is or was racist. Provocative, yes. Controversial and even inflammatory, yes. But not racist. And not necessarily untrue, either. Speech can be truthful and inflammatory at the same time.

    Michelle Obama deserves to be savaged for 20 years of attendance at that church. Any effort to ignore her culpability is an effort to bend and skew history.

    No, she doesn’t. Michelle Obama does not deserve to be savaged for attending Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years. She doesn’t. She did nothing wrong. If you were to say to me that she deserves to be criticized for attending Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years, I would still disagree, but I would also acknowledge your right to object, and to criticize. Respectfully expressed criticism is always acceptable. But you said she deserves to be savaged. Does she deserve to be savaged by calling her a bitch, worse than a female dog, ugly, and without style or taste? If not, how would you want her to be savaged?

    6. One more: Mel Gibson – classic case of career and reputation damage.

    The point is not whether or not Mel Gibson deserves such career and reputation damage. The points are:

    1) the charge is emotionally heated and is damaging to career and reputation, and
    2) some damage occurs even if the accused is innocent.

    This second part is especially pernicious, and is an especial reason why malicious and blithe accusation is offensive.

    Mel Gibson richly deserved the criticism and condemnation he got. If that condemnation damaged his career, that’s his fault. Although I did not see “The Passion of the Christ,” I read most of the reviews and commentary, on both sides, and including Gibson’s attempts at self-defense — plus, I am aware of the anti-Semitic things he has said since then. One thing I did not know until recently is that Gibson based the film on the gospel of John — which happens to be an outrageous polemic against the Jews. John is the gospel that gave rise to the “Christ-killer” canard against the Jews. I find it highly significant that Gibson chose to base his film on that gospel, and not, for example, on Matthew, which is the most Jewish-influenced part of the New Testament and which even I, Jewish and not wanting to be anything else, enjoy reading. Or he could have based it on Luke, which is the gospel that “Godspell” was based on.

    You seem to put Gibson’s career on a higher plane than the hurt and pain he caused with his anti-Semitic tirades.

    Having said this, I’m not sure Gibson HAS experienced any dire harm from being (justly) labeled as an anti-Semite. He just bought the Malibu home of David Duchovny and Tea Leoni for possibly as much as $11 million (the exact amount is not known). He owns another house in Malibu, an oceanfront property; plus he has a home in Costa Rica AND he owns an entire island in the Fiji group.

    *I* should be so damaged.

  13. gcotharn says:

    1. I haven’t taken a poll; I”ve only subjective opinion. Wouldn’t you agree that some number (tens of thousands?) of Americans now believe Bill Cosby has some type of prejudicial view about black people – as a group – being unnecessarily lazy and/or less intelligent than non black people?

    2. I assert your listed writers have been criticized for having idiotic views. I know of no significant, widely publicized accusations of anti Jewish prejudicial views having been leveled against them. Does your list of writers believe Jews are tricky or greedy or thieves or whatever? I know of no one who thinks that.

    Similarly, does anyone believe Klein believes Jews are greedy or tricky or whatever? I glanced at the Althouse kerfuffle. She had a couple of Jewish commenters making quips aimed at Jews, as is common. Klein maliciously, wrongly played the Jewish prejudice card. Althouse commenters have varying opinions about the esteem in which Klein holds faithful Jews, but none that I know of have accused Klein of anti-Jewish prejudicial thinking.

    3. Is your complaint that I shorthanded “malicious and blithe” for “maliciously skewed and blithely considered”? I’m guilty. I cannot deny that I used the shorter phrasing.

    4. On the right, for certain personalities/businesspersons looking to promote their careers (Limbaugh types, Ann Coulter types) certainly do welcome controversy – including controversy over racism.

    Is Burt Prelutsky looking to promote his writing career via controversy? A solid argument can be made that he is, in his own small way, doing just that.

    If we stipulate Prelutsky is tweaking liberals as part of a strategy designed to attract racial condemnation and subsequent publicity: does this now make it virtuous to proffer maliciously skewed and blithely considered racial accusations against Prelutsky? Does this mean Prelutsky’s reputation and career are now unendangered by false accusations? If Prelutsky is strategically tweaking liberals: ought I not feel bound to defend him against invalid accusation?

    To the last question: I ought defend against invalid accusation where possible, due to the then they came for Burt Prelutsky, and I did nothing argument. LOL I never before imagined defending Burt Prelutsky!

    Here is a good place to thank you for allowing this to be a forum for launching a defense against invalid racial accusation. I know you disagree about “invalid” with mostly every fiber of your being. Therefore, you show tremendous virtue and generosity in allowing my comments, and in addressing them with your own thoughts. Thank you. Truly.

    Here, I stop, for now, b/c I’m uncertain I understand the final points of your 4. You say white people’s careers/reputations have been damaged when they’ve been accused of racial whatever by black people. We agree.

    Do you next say black accusers pay a heavier price (than white accusers) for accusing white persons of racist whatever? If this is your point, I agree with it, yet: why is this significant to our discussion?

  14. Kathy says:

    1. Tens of thousands? I have no idea. Some number? Probably. Two? Ten? 50? I have no idea. I’m betting there are more Americans who’ve never heard of Bill Cosby and/or who’ve never heard of the book he wrote and/or who haven’t read it and know nothing of any controversy, than there are Americans who think less of Bill Cosby.

    2. In the United States, American Jews who actively and/or publicly oppose Israel’s military and political policies vis a vis the Palestinians, and object to the uncritical support given to Israel by the U.S. government, are routinely labeled anti-Semitic. I have no idea what you mean in this context by “anti-Jewish prejudicial views.” Traditional stereotypes of Jews, as in greedy, tricky, etc., have nothing to do with the anti-Semitic label being attached to Jews who support Palestinian rights. They are called anti-Semitic and self-hating because of the fact they oppose Israeli policy toward Palestinians, not for any other reason.

    And re this: I glanced at the Althouse kerfuffle. She had a couple of Jewish commenters making quips aimed at Jews, as is common. Klein maliciously, wrongly played the Jewish prejudice card.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, it was only a couple of commenters, but what they said was anti-Semitic. Perhaps, not being Jewish and living in a part of the country where there are very few Jews and where Christian fundamentalist views are very strong, you don’t recognize anti-Semitism when you see it. Saying that Jews control the media is a classic anti-Semitic smear. It’s not a “quip.” And Klein did not “maliciously, wrongly play the anti-Jewish prejudice card.” You are not in a position to make such a statement with such certainty and judgmentalism. I mean, who the hell do you think you are? You’re not Jewish! Who are you to tell anyone that Ezra Klein’s perception of anti-Semitism was malicious and wrong? That is the most offensive thing you have ever said to me. And that’s saying a lot.

    3. No, that’s not my complaint. You’re telling me you don’t know what “begging the question” means?

    Miscellaneous:

    You say white people’s careers/reputations have been damaged when they’ve been accused of racial whatever by black people. We agree.

    No, I haven’t, and we don’t.

    Do you next say black accusers pay a heavier price (than white accusers) for accusing white persons of racist whatever? If this is your point, I agree with it, yet: why is this significant to our discussion?

    Because the only time you ever complain about false accusations of racism is when the individual being accused of being racist is white, and the object of that individual’s racism is black. When a black person is accused of being racist for saying negative things about white people, that is always true and real racism to you.

    I know you disagree about “invalid” with mostly every fiber of your being. Therefore, you show tremendous virtue and generosity in allowing my comments, and in addressing them with your own thoughts. Thank you. Truly.

    You’re welcome, but I don’t do it out of generosity. I do it out of outrage. And I can do no other. I cannot let lies, distortions, and ignorance go unchallenged. Yours or anyone else’s.

  15. gcotharn says:

    1 @ 5:58
    At least we agree that Bill Cosby suffered damage (which is something), even if we do not estimate similar degrees of damage suffered.

    2A @ 5:58
    It doesn’t look like the “anti-Semitic” of which your Israel-Palestine-Chomsky-writers are accused equates to the offensive racial ignorance of which Chris Kelly accuses Burt Prelutsky.

    2B @ 5:58
    I think I’m a human being with a brain. Goyim are not precluded from having accurate conceptions of slurs. Mr. Klein has his opinion. I have my opinion that he is wrong, and my suspicion about his malicious intent to damage Althouse’s reputation and credibility.

    Althouse’s commenters are raucous, ironic, sarcastic. How many Jews have I heard complain/joke that Jews control the media? Must be at least 20, maybe 40 or more. Must I provide a list of this also? Public consumption quips alone – about Jews and media – are likely available on Google, and the American’s quotes are likely 90something % from the mouths of Jews.

    3A @ 5:58 – Malicious, Blithe, Begging the Question
    You said, @ 12:36

    you appear to assume that accusing someone of racist leanings is malicious or blithe *by definition.*

    I said, @1:47

    [malicious and blithe] leaves room for justifiable accusation of racism

    For instance: it’s neither malicious nor blithe to say Mel Gibson’s statements were racist. What are we arguing about here?

    3B @ 5:58
    Aha! Now I see it. Black persons are damaged when those black persons accuse white persons of racist actions! And you are calling my attention to the plight of those black persons who are accused of racism; you are saying I never believe these black persons are innocent of the racism they are accused of. I will take your remarks to heart. I cannot immediately recall a black person who was so victimized. If you can think of an example, I will Google and read about it.

    3C @ 5:58
    Duly noted.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Last parts of your 3:35 comment:

    5A @ 3:35
    B/C I find the arguments in favor of Rev. Wright’s and Michelle Obama’s guilt persuasive, therefore I do not condemn Prelutsky for agreeing with those arguments.

    5B @ 3:35 – Savaged
    I believed you were using savage and criticize interchangeably, therefore I used savage and criticize interchangeably.

    6A @ 3:35 – Gibson
    I repeat: “The point is not whether or not Mel Gibson deserves such career and reputation damage.” I only used Mel Gibson as further evidence that racism is an emotionally charged and damaging accusation in our country.

    I said nothing which discounts the pain Gibson caused. I empathize with those who were hurt. I hurt for them, for all of us, when I saw those statements.

    6B @ 3:35 – Dire Harm vs. Damaged
    Absence of “Dire harm” is not in dispute.

    6C @ 3:35 – House in Malibu
    If I ever purchase a multi-million $ home, you are welcome to damage yourself via coming to live in it for awhile.

  16. Kathy says:

    At least we agree that Bill Cosby suffered damage

    We don’t agree on that. I don’t know if he “suffered damage” and you don’t, either, although you think you do. Have you talked to him? I don’t even know what you mean by “suffered damage.” What does that mean?

    I think I’m a human being with a brain.

    I grant you the human being part. I suppose I have to agree that you have a brain, too, since you can perform certain neurological functions (like typing) that would not be possible if you did not have a brain. But it doesn’t go much farther beyond that.

    Goyim are not precluded from having accurate conceptions of slurs. Mr. Klein has his opinion. I have my opinion that he is wrong, and my suspicion about his malicious intent to damage Althouse’s reputation and credibility.

    The comments on Althouse’s blog post to which we are referring were anti-Semitic. Period, end of story. I can’t do anything about your opinion, but it’s wrong, nevertheless.

    I believed you were using savage and criticize interchangeably….

    You had no reason to believe that I was using savage and criticize interchangeably, since they do not have the same meaning. I suggest you consult a dictionary.

    If I ever purchase a multi-million $ home, you are welcome to damage yourself via coming to live in it for awhile.

    🙂

  17. gcotharn says:

    suffered damage

    For instance: if two persons (your “probably” minimum) were persuaded that Bill Cosby harbors racist sentiments, then Bill Cosby’s reputation suffered damage.

    savage

    You wrote

    I assume you are also outraged that Prelutsky called the Obamas’ former church “racist” and gave himself permission to savage Michelle Obama because she attended this church.

    dictionary.reference.com
    “Savage, transitive verb
    12. to attack or criticize thoroughly or remorselessly; excoriate: a play savaged by the critics.

    Therefore, your sentence could easily read

    gave himself permission to [savagely criticize] Michelle Obama because she attended this church

    Now, what am I to think? Bitch … [who] looks like James Brown is savage criticism, but you are not speaking of that, because I already condemned that in clear terms in my very first sentence, @ 11:00 A. Am I to have no confidence in your reading comprehension?

    Whats left that I am not outraged about? Prelutsky criticized Michelle Obama over attending Rev. Wright’s church, and she certainly deserved savage criticism for that, therefore you must be speaking of my not being outraged about criticism of her church attendance (I’ve already condemned everything except “glamour” and “style”, and they don’t really rise to “savage” level, imo). So, I wrote, by way of explaining my lack of outrage:

    “Michelle Obama deserves to be savaged for 20 years of attendance at that church.”

    It’s obvious that I meant she deserves to be savagely criticized for attending the church – especially as I’ve already criticized the James Brown thing. You could consider my words as my very own vote of confidence in your reading comprehension skills. Or, you could consider my words evidence of either ignorance or hypocrisy.

  18. Kathy says:

    However, I did not write “savagely criticize.” I wrote “criticize.” And common sense would tell you that without the modifying adjective “savagely,” the word “criticize” does not mean “excoriate” or savagely criticize or criticize “remorselessly.”. If I had intended my words to mean “savagely criticize” I would have written “savagely criticize.”

    For instance: if two persons (your “probably” minimum) were persuaded that Bill Cosby harbors racist sentiments, then Bill Cosby’s reputation suffered damage.

    You have not answered my question. In what would the damage consist? What would be the harm caused to Bill Cosby if two (or even more than two!) persons read Bill Cosby’s book or a review of it and formed a negative opinion of him thereby? Even more to the point, are you saying that any open or public criticism that has the effect of, or could potentially have the effect of, negatively affecting the esteem in which Bill Cosby is held, is a bad thing? I mean, from Cosby’s point of view, of course such criticism would be bad — but you seem to be saying from a larger societal consideration of the public good, any negative publicly expressed views that negatively affect a public figure’s reputation are deplorable and should be condemned.

    … Michelle Obama over attending Rev. Wright’s church, and she certainly deserved savage criticism for that …

    This is the only part of the paragraph it’s in that makes sense in terms of my being able to parse the meaning of your words, so it’s the only part to which I can respond.

    We fundamentally disagree over this notion that Michelle Obama deserved to be criticized — much less savagely criticized — because she was a member of, and attended, Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years (or however long). Rev. Wright did not say or do anything that was racist, and just because *you* happen to be offended by his opinions does not mean Michelle or Barack Obama are obligated to take your opinion into consideration when choosing where to worship.

    Also, your assertion that Michelle Obama deserves to be “savagely criticized” for attending Rev. Wright’s church, and mine that she does not, are both opinions, not fact — in the same way that critics of Bill Cosby’s book who say that his views on certain aspects of the black community are racist and make him a self-hating black person, *as well as* people who say that his views do not make him racist and he is not self-hating, are opinions, not facts. So if the aforesaid public criticism of Bill Cosby is deplorable because it “damages” him (whatever that means), then to be consistent you would have to agree that the public criticism of Michelle Obama with which you so eagerly concur also is deplorable because it damages HER.

  19. gcotharn says:

    From the beginning, two points:

    1. The First Lady doesn’t deserve classless sniping about her personality and her looks.

    2. The accusation of racial animus is toxic – even if the accused is innocent.

    Some number of American citizens hear the allegation and believe it. Even a false racial accusation hangs around, in the ether of our societal conversations, for the rest of the life of the falsely accused, and even after their death. For example, thirty years after Bill Cosby’s death, some Americans will see him on television and say: “it’s a shame he was racist”, i.e. it’s a shame he harbored racial animus against black people. Bill Cosby’s reputation has been damaged with many Americans who never read his words, and who took their cues from the pile-on of toxic accusations about Cosby’s racial animus :

    ZAHN: In a series of speech, Cosby launched out-and-out offensive again parental irresponsibility, juvenile delinquency and personal values in the low-income African-American community.

    COSBY: The more you invest in that child, the more you’re not going to let some C.D. tell your child how to curse and how to say the word nigger is an accepted wonder. You’re so hip with nigger, but you can’t even spell it. When are they going to say, not here, not on my watch?

    ZAHN: His words, surprising, perhaps even shocking, sparked a national debate.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were Bill Cosby’s remarks racist or were they right on?

    MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”: Bill Cosby is feeling some heat today for recent comments he made.

    DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: At the podium, he raised some eyebrows.

    ZAHN: The criticism was swift and harsh, that Cosby was — quote — “a race traitor,” publicly airing the dirty laundry of the African- American community.

    COSBY: I haven’t even started on dirty laundry.

    It’s moral to vehemently disagree with Bill Cosby. It’s immoral to say, without carefully accumulated justification to back it up, that Bill Cosby’s opinions generated from racial animus. It’s especially immoral b/c accusations of racial animus, in our society, are especially toxic and emotional, and are inevitably damaging to the reputation of the accused.

    I agree with your point that sometimes the actual careers of the accused do benefit from racial accusation. However, careers do remain at risk; the allegation does remain toxic and volatile. Making a false allegation, about this toxic subject, is an offense against decency. We ought think twice, even three times, and get all ducks in a row, before making racial allegations.

  20. walkerdev says:

    Hey Kathy took your advice and sent Prelutsky a little email. During the first one he said IF I were a racist, it’s people like me that make him that way. The second one, I have pasted below. He pretty much takes my email line by line without really addressing anything.

    Thought someone here might be interested in his response.

    In a message dated 03/24/09 17:04:10 Pacific Daylight Time, walkerdev@hotmail.com writes:

    Caricature? I read the column. I even backread a few others. It was not a caricature. In fact, he took it pretty easy on you. I think he was going for sarcasm when he said you were not a racist, BUT.

    ****(I was referring to my article, not Kelly’s.)

    Either way, I don’t really care. You are no one. Just a dying breed. And now that your good old boys have been run out of power, you have nothing but a few poison pencials and a keyboard. I don’t even think you actually think. The only thing in your head is a bunch of entitled bitterness, delusions and misfires all lodged in there together.
    ****(I take it you’re happy about the fact that Obama and the Democrats are ensuring that your kids and their kids will live in an impoverished America.)

    But I do have a question. Did you ever think you would see the day when the Christian Right and the Racist (I’m sorry poor choice of words Racialist) radical fringe would be such public bedfellows. Try backtracking your readers? But you already know that don’t you? All of you guys do.
    ****(Frankly, I don’t know what you’re yammering about.)

    But how does it feel to watch your influence dwindle down to absolute cranks and wingnuts. The fiscal conservatives have fled your camp, as have the independents and libertarians. You’ve got nothing left but illiterate foot soldiers, trying their best to muddle their way through your propaganda.
    ****(I hate to interrupt a self-righteous tirade, but former Obama acolytes like Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of the very left-wing NY Times have turned on him recently.)

    Capt., just tell them who to shoot already.
    ****(So much for civil discourse. Ms. Walker, if you deign to write back, please let me know your age, in which state you reside and what you do for a living. I like to know who’s at the other end of an e-mail.)

  21. Kathy says:

    2. The accusation of racial animus is toxic – even if the accused is innocent.

    Some number of American citizens hear the allegation and believe it. Even a false racial accusation hangs around, in the ether of our societal conversations, for the rest of the life of the falsely accused, and even after their death. For example, thirty years after Bill Cosby’s death, some Americans will see him on television and say: “it’s a shame he was racist”, i.e. it’s a shame he harbored racial animus against black people. Bill Cosby’s reputation has been damaged with many Americans who never read his words, and who took their cues from the pile-on of toxic accusations about Cosby’s racial animus

    Look, Greg, I frankly don’t know what you’re upset about. Bill Cosby writes a book and goes on tv to promote it and says some provocative things and people react. SO WHAT? What is it you’re objecting to here? You’re making up imaginary future and present conversations, you’re leaping to conclusions that are unsupported by any evidence, and you are somehow under the impression that asserting racist intent or racist language or subtext is equivalent to rape, or murder. Like you’re accusing someone of a heinous, terrible crime that will mark them for the rest of their lives even if they are acquitted and found not guilty.

    I just don’t understand where you’re coming from on this. “Guilt” and “innocence” are legal terms, Greg. They apply to crimes and other violations of law, rules, or regulations that can be factually proved or disproved using scientific investigative techniques, rules of evidence, etc. You cannot definitively determine that Bill Cosby or Burt Prelutsky are guilty or innocent of racist intent or belief. You can only bring personal experience and whatever understanding of social and cultural history you may have, to bear on an argument that Cosby or Prelutsky or Sarah Palin or Rev. Wright or anyone else you care to name are behaving or speaking in a racist manner.

    If you truly believe that expressions of point of view, informed by personal and historical and cultural experience, is equivalent to irresponsible accusations of criminal behavior or intent that can “ruin” someone’s life if expressed out loud, then, in my opinion, you are crazy.

    Accusations of racial animus may indeed be “toxic,” as you say, but what does that prove? The entire subject and history of race in this country is toxic. Racism is a toxic issue because there is a real, live, actual toxic history behind race in this country. You can’t eliminate or ameliorate that by asking people to self-censor their own thoughts and words and perceptions in order to protect someone else’s “reputation.”

  22. Kathy says:

    Hey Kathy took your advice and sent Prelutsky a little email. During the first one he said IF I were a racist, it’s people like me that make him that way. The second one, I have pasted below. He pretty much takes my email line by line without really addressing anything.

    Wow. Charming fella.

  23. gcotharn says:

    Thoughtful reply.

    Racism is a heinous, terrible thought crime in our society. Accusation truly will “mark them for the rest of their lives even if they are acquitted and found not guilty” – just as if they are marked with a scarlet “R”.

    Part of the problem, and this is hinted at in your reply, is that many in our society assign too much credibility to the accuser, too much heft to the mere existence of an accusation. Innocent persons are marked, tainted, in illogically harsh ways.

    You allude to the impossibility of proving one’s innocence to a legal standard. This only makes the accusation more pernicious. An accuser does not know the mind and heart of the accused, yet launches accusation anyway, and society responds with illogically harsh damnation. The innocent accused is without possibility of exonerating defense. One cannot prove a negative – even if one if Bill freakin Cosby. Or tas.

    Given this current societal reality, I continue to urge caution before making such accusation. Lack of caution and care, in our current circumstances, is offensive. The possibility of damaging an innocent person is high.

  24. Kathy says:

    You have an astonishing ability, in your comments here, to give an initial, surface impression that you are acknowledging the points you’re replying to — “Thoughtful reply”; “this is hinted at in your reply”; “You allude to…” But it’s an illusion, and as I continue to read, I realize that you are just repeating the same things you said before. You say stuff like “thoughtful reply,” “you allude to,” etc. It appears like you’ve read what you’re replying to. But you don’t respond to it. The “thoughtfulness” of the reply you are responding to does not in any way cause you to address the substance of that reply. Even more, you take the other person’s points and somehow turn them into verbal bridges to segue back into your original argument without ever truly addressing the point that you’re turning into a mechanism to repeat what you’ve said before. Example: “You allude to the impossibility of proving one’s innocence to a legal standard. This only makes the accusation more pernicious.” That takes my breath away. It’s just mind-blowing. It’s not even that you miss the point. It’s that, instead of addressing the point, you subvert it. You turn it back on itself, like a loop, doubling back to hook it to the same argument you made before — even though that argument you made before no longer addresses the now-new point.

    It’s truly the most astonishing rhetorical style I have ever seen in my life. But it means, essentially, that you are having a monologue with yourself, and all I’m doing is enabling you to do that by continuing to make original, new, fresh arguments to support my point. You just take those arguments and tack on the words, “This only shows that [fill in the blank with whatever point you’re arguing] is really true.”

    I know I’ve said this before, but God help me, I have to stop responding to your comments. Standing up to ignorance is important, but it’s impossible to do that with any effectiveness if the person I’m talking to just repeats what he said before, and before that, and yet before that, with only slight variations in syntax.

    I wish you no ill, Greg, but this has got to end, and I’m the only one who can end it. You go your way and I’ll go mine.

  25. PC says:

    If she were white you’d have no problem with it. Affirmative Action scores again.

  26. aNYNAMOUS says:

    THIS TO THE TOWN HALL AN BURT ” THE WHITE BITCH” PRELUSTKY. THIS GUY HAVE THE NERVE TO CALL A FEMALE LET ALONE A BLACK FEMALE A BITCH, I KNOW YOU MADE BECUAUSE OBAMA RUNNING SHIT AND YOU JUS A HATER AN YOU SUPPOSE TO BE A CRISTRIAN MAN SO I PRAY THAT GOD PUNISHES YOU MAKES YOU SUFFER FOR DISRESPECTING HIS HOME AN NAME FOR YOU ARE A MAN OF GOD AN MADE A REMARK SO DUMB AN IMMATURE AN FOR THE RECORDS YOU LOOK LIKE A GAY SANTA CLAUS THATS LIKES TO SUCK DICK FOR PRESENTS ON X-MAS. AN ALSO HAS THE ODASSITY TO MAKE COMMENTS ABOUT OUR BLACK ACTORS AND TALK SHOW HOST DONT BE MAD BECAUSE OPRAH CAN BUY AN SELL YOUR WHITE ASS, DONT BE MAD BECAUSE WILL SMITH AN PRESIDENT OBAMA’S WIFE’S LOOK BETTER THEN YOURS, YOU GOT HATE IN YOUR BLOOD N YOU SHALL REEP WHAT YOU SOW, SO IF THIS DONT GET YOUR COMANAYS ATTENTION MAYBE ITS BECAUSE YOUR THE BITCH, BITCH, YOUR MAMA A BITCH, YOUR WIFE A BITCH, YOU DAUGHTER A BITCH FUCK IT YOUR WHOLE FAMILY ARE BITCHES AN YOU CAN SUCK ON MY RICH BLACK DICK BITCH!!!!!

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