Archive for Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cheap shot doesn’t add to dialogue

March 22, 2009


Perhaps someone will be good enough to tell me how fat you are allowed to be before your opinions no longer matter. Surely conservative radio host Laura Ingraham had a specific weight in mind when she attacked Sen. John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, essentially dismissing her for being, in Ingraham’s eyes, overweight.

For those who missed the recent contretemps, it unfolded as follows:

First, Meghan McCain blogged that she is no fan of Ann Coulter: “I find her offensive, radical, insulting and confusing all at the same time.”

Whereupon Ingraham took up for Coulter: “Do you think that anyone would be talking to you if you weren’t kind of cute and you weren’t the daughter of John McCain?” she asked, in her best Valley Girl accent. Speaking as Meghan McCain, she added: “‘OK, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the ‘Real World,’ but then I realized that, well, they don’t like plus-sized models.”

McCain responded succinctly on ABC’s “The View”: “Kiss my fat ass.”

For her part, Ingraham first tried to ridicule the angry response to her gratuitous insult, asking rhetorically if it was OK to tell McCain to “lighten up.” When that didn’t work, she resorted to revisionism, saying on Fox News, “Let the record show: I never called Meghan McCain fat.”

She is telling the truth, of course — in the same weaselly, disingenuous way Bill Clinton was telling the truth when he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

Ingraham went on to add the boilerplate: “This contrived flap is not about me or Ms. McCain. It’s just another left-wing attempt to silence any criticism of the liberal agenda.” I suspect she would say the same if her sink were clogged. I suspect she says it in her sleep.

Apparently, she finds it easier to believe herself the target of some globe-girdling liberal conspiracy than to accept that she defined, demeaned and diminished a young woman based not on what she said, but on the fact that she said it while carrying more poundage than Ingraham approves. And beneath the cattiness, there is a serious issue here. I mean, if Ingraham believes McCain was off target and that Ann Coulter is actually a rational and even-handed observer of the day’s events ... well, it’s hard to imagine anyone saying that with a straight face, but for the sake of argument: If that’s the way Ingraham feels, why not make that case? Why not say Meghan McCain is wrong, is foolish, is jealous, is mistaken? Why suggest instead that she is too fat to be taken seriously?

That’s cruel.

If a man did it, he would be called a sexist. I asked my friend Michelle what a woman who does it should be called. “An embarrassment,” she said. “Insecurity with a really big salary,” she said. “Self-loathing,” she said.

It would be a mistake, she added, to believe that habit of clawing at one another in such a raw and visceral way is characteristic of all women. But it is characteristic of many.

As the father of a young woman, I resent the idea that she moves through a world where her worth is often defined solely and completely as a function of her physicality. That some men do this angers me. That some women do perplexes and appalls.

But if that’s truly the way of things, Ingraham could do us all a favor by providing hard numbers. How fat can a woman be, how much gray is she allowed, how big or small must her cup size be ... in short, how far afield can she stray from the perfect icon of American womanhood Laura Ingraham apparently represents, before she forfeits the right to be taken seriously?

Or perhaps we can agree that a woman’s physicality has no place in a debate about her opinions. After all, Ingraham could stand to lose a little fat herself.

Right around the mouth.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald.


Chris Ogle 9 years ago

“Kiss my fat ass.”

I need to remember that one.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years ago

I agree with Mr Boy Toy. Ole Pittsy suffers from selective commentary.

AjiDeGallina 9 years ago

Dr. Ingram is a shock jock and should not be taken seriously.

I really wonder why the GOP find her, Limbaugh and Coulter as their idols, while the dems barely suffer Al Sharpton.

Oh yea, because we have not lost our minds. thats why.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Pitts. Racial commentary. Insightful. Everything else. STFU

HermioneElliott 9 years ago

There is no connection between Meghan McCain and Sarah Palin. Palin went on national television and said some truly stupid things. Obviously she managed to alienate the staff to the point where they could not contain it any more. I have no idea why Dr. Ingram chose to attack Meghan on the basis of weight. That sounds more like a schoolyard remark to me. I remember a girl in grade school that we all called string bean because she was so skinny.

Maddy Griffin 9 years ago

AS usual Pitts is right on. I saw that episode of the "view" and thought the Republican party would be better off if there were more like her. She's a "No BS" kind of gal . I'm staunchly Dem but I really like her. And you can kiss my fat ass, too.

Scott Drummond 9 years ago

Ummmmmm, the leader of the "true" Republican faith, after whom Ms Ingraham has modeled her career, is El Rushbo, a severely calorically challenged American.

RoeDapple 9 years ago

Okay, after rereading post-coffee can tell I completely missed the mark on this one. Ingraham and Coulter both need disappeareded...... My party could look less like a circus if they would get rid of the clowns....

notajayhawk 9 years ago

AjiDeGallina (Anonymous) says…

"Dr. Ingram is a shock jock and should not be taken seriously."

Maybe that's why nobody does - except, apparently, the Democrats. Mr. Pitts seems to be an avid listener.

"I really wonder why the GOP find her, Limbaugh and Coulter as their idols, while the dems barely suffer Al Sharpton."

I really wonder how anyone could be such an idiot as to believe any of those three are spokepersons, let alone 'idols' of the GOP. It's pretty apparent from the comments on these message baords that the Dems spend a lot more time reading/listening/viewing than anyone else.

"Oh yea, because we have not lost our minds. thats why."

Can't lose what you've never had, Aji.

Orwell 9 years ago

Cheap is the only kind of shot Ingram ever had.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"This was the most puzzling presidential pick I could ever conjure up"

From right-thinker (and of course STRS), who truly have their thumbs on the pulse of America.


jonas_opines 9 years ago

"Maybe that's why nobody does - except, apparently, the Democrats."

And her 5.5 million weekly viewers/listeners? And apparently Fox News? Unless Fox News is, what, just a joke, and not to be taken seriously?

You put thought into posting at one point, notajayhawk. When did you stop doing that? Was it depression at losing the election or what?

fly_in_the_soup 8 years, 12 months ago

why are people talking about meaghan's booty when they should be talking about how intelligent she is . But that's the news for you forget talking about how these politicians are in bed with the corporations that are robbing us blind ,nah let's talk booty's . Unreal wakeup people our country is being thrown down the tube and our presdient needs all the help he can get to save it.

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