The worrying side of what’s acceptable to women in 2011

Feel free to call a bloke a sex addict….but never call a woman a slut.

MSNBC anchor and commentator (chiefly on radio) Ed Schultz has agreed to take a week’s unpaid leave from his job, after referring to conservative commentator Laura Ingraham as “a right-wing slut”. It’s that new word we can’t say any more again…..following an obsessive exchange of media views by feminists and others last week: there are no sluts. Deal with it. Thus, his remarks have been deemed ‘unacceptable’ – a word first popularised by Gordon Brown, meaning ‘things and statements with which I disagree’.

Resorting to insults is rarely a good idea when trying to win an argument. But there is of course the question of whether Schultz is right or not.

First off, who is Laura Ingraham? Well, she’s a 47 year-old person with ‘right-wing’ views, although the description continues to mean nothing in 2011. But as a conservative, she was born that way and clearly has no desire to change. As a Dartmouth undergraduate, she was a staff member of the independent US conservative newspaper, The Dartmouth Review. In her senior year, she became the paper’s first ever female editor. She wrote quite a few ‘controversial’ articles during her tenure – in fact some that MSNBC would find ‘unacceptable’. For example, Laura penned an Oped calling a gay rights campus group “cheerleaders for latent campus sodomites”.

One Jeffrey Hart, the faculty adviser for The Dartmouth Review, described Ingraham as having “the most extreme anti-homosexual views imaginable,” adding that “she went so far as to avoid a local eatery where she feared the waiters were homosexual and might touch her silverware or spit on her food, exposing her to AIDS”. Today, she has all kinds of media outlets, and hosts  The O’Reilly Factor , a Murdochite rant on Fox News Channel where she enjoys her own segment, ‘The Ingraham Angle’.

On Fox News in 2008, Ingraham told an interviewer that critic Ed Maher “Bows down at the altar of Hugh Hefner” – which may have been her way of suggesting he’s a w*nker, or that Ed is keen on male fellatio – we shall never know.

So she’s a bigot who likes to dish it out in a fearless manner. I say ‘bigot’ rather than ‘independently minded’, because many of her fears and outbursts are based largely on ignorance: not always – some of her statements I agree with – but mostly. Center for American Progress media analyst Eric Altrmanwrote in 2005, “this woman is more full of sh*t than anyone I ever met in my life”.

Thus words like ‘heat’ and ‘kitchen’ spring to mind. If she’s that much of a toughie, you’d expect her shoulders to be broad enough to shrug off Ed Schultz’s ‘slut’ insult.

However, the puzzling thing is why he chose that particular word. It’s true that Laura is infamous for having posed in a leopard print mini-skirt for a 1995 New York Times Magazine cover story on young right-wingers. But one needs more than this under one’s suspender belt to attain slut status.

Most probably, Schultz was referring to Ingraham’s epic search for a husband….the suggestion being that, good Catholic girl or not, she shagged her way through a whole lot of frogs in her search for a Prince, and has also broken off two engagements along the way. She has, during her career as an allegedly secret slut, dated luminaries major and minor such as Dinesh D’Souza, Robert Torricelli, James V Reyes, and Keith Olbermann.

Maybe she is a slut, or maybe everything has been so morally eroded by now that it’s become very hard work to earn the soubriquet. But what struck me about this non-story (‘the media talking about the media having spats with other folks in the media’) is the way the gender agenda is once again to the fore. Eric Bolling, also a talk host, discussed the comments with his panellists last night, and offered to help Schultz, because “perhaps his lashing out was a product of drinking or doing drugs.”

It’s the Moscow Asylum strategy again: anyone who still believes in the existence of sluts must be mad. But anyone calling a woman a slut is unacceptable. (What, even if they’re mad? Isn’t that mentalist?) And anyone who believes in degrees of rape must be a deluded dinosaur, and fired immediately.

Ingraham is homophobic (literally) but we mustn’t say that because she’s a woman. She cracks tasteless jokes about Third World country inhabitants, but we mustn’t say she’s racist.

However, Dominic Strauss-Kahn is a sex-beast, which of course he would be – being a bloke an’ all. Ken Clarke thinks rape is a jolly good thing and some women are gagging for it, and being therefore lower than vermin, it is fine for radio host Victoria Derbyshire to harangue him like some  tabloid…..what’s the word I’m after?…..slut, yes, that’s the one.

On her own admission, Germaine Greer shagged half of the London glitterati in the 1960s, but she detests the word slut. She’s keen on the word eunuch though, when attached to women: sells a lot of books, does eunuch. And sex-addict is a good one, because all men are beasts, ooooo they are, in’t that right girls? – and bloody useless in the supermarket. And they get man-flu.

Here’s an interesting factette: of the top ten rated celeb sex-addicts at Ranker, just one is a woman – and she was an alcoholic porn star.

Anyone, there’s our answer in the penultimate line: to be a slut, you have to be making porn movies. (The list from 10 to 20 lists two more girlies by the way – both porn stars). But to be the male equivalent, all you need to do is turn up.