The trouble with most obscene and derogatory words is that they’re so over-used, they’ve lost their oomph. Sixty years ago, when he wrote The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer had to make up the word “fug,” in attempt to replicate the speech of soldiers during a war. Printing the actual F-word would have landed him and his publishers in the clink and might have resulted in his best-selling book getting yanked off the bookshelves.
These days, anything goes, and far too many words are either overused or inaccurately used, with a resulting loss of impact.
We can start with the misplaced notion that Rush Limbaugh is somehow an ‘entertainer.” (Google his name and the word “entertainer” and something like 312,000 references come up.)
Calling what Rush Limbaugh puts out “entertainment” is as ghastly as calling a public decapitation “a comedy show.” Rush Limbaugh is no entertainer. He’s just an abusive gasbag. He tells lies. He twists meanings. And when he libels and slanders people in public broadcasts, those people could, and should find a legal avenue to sue him off his perch.
Case in point, Limbaugh recently slandered a law student who dared to testify before a Congressional committee in favor of medical coverage for birth control. He called her a prostitute. He called her a slut. He declared, "She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex." No such thing, as this video of her testimony clearly demonstrates.
In light of this, words like “liar” and “slanderer” ought to be used by the press to describe Limbaugh, rather than a mild statement like “not true,” that characterizes what he says, but not the personality that issues the words.
As for the rest of decent America, declaring that “Rush Limbaugh is a liar and a gas bag,” would probably have triple the impact of calling him an “asshole,” which may be true in a metaphorical sense, but which is overused and considerably less specific about what Limbaugh has done to deserve an opprobrious epithet.
Not completely dissimilarly, when Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum state things about Obama, or the economy, or American history that have little or no basis in truth, the press shouldn’t label them “false” or “not true.” They should be labeled what they are. They’re lies. Clear, boldfaced, deliberate, disingenuous, and often malicious lies.
Which makse the Republican candidates who issue these liars little more than self-serving liars.
But back to Limbaugh’s slander of a law student. In today’s foulmouthed, free-spewing climate, “self-serving liar” delivers a powerful counter-impact to anybody who dares label an innocent woman a “whore” or a “slut” because Limbaugh doesn’t agree with her political point of view.
Another thing to call Limbaugh would be a “profit killer,” whose appearance on a broadcast station tends to suck the revenue out of its bottom line. Reminding national advertisers that sponsoring Limbaugh tends to interrupt their advertising plans and suck the black ink out of their bottom lines would go a long way toward keeping Limbaugh off the air, and in the sewer, where his outrageous personal attacks belong.