Cynical Soapbox: A Vocabulary Lesson for Rick Santorum

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live did a skit called “Yet Another GOP Debate”, and had the debate participants seated in order of current importance.  Herman Cain and Mitt Romney were seated in the center of the stage, Rick Perry was off to the side and facing in another direction, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich were locked in a janitor’s closet, Ron Paul was in the parking garage and Rick Santorum was seated in a gay bar in the Castro district.  The premise is actually funnier than the skit, though you are more than welcome to watch it here and let me know if you think it’s legitimately funny and I’m just missing something.

It’s possible.

But no, here’s the thing: Rick Santorum apparently took great offense to the SNL skit.  Here’s a large chunk of an article discussing it:

[quote] New Hampshire radio station WGIR asked Santorum on Sunday about the sketch — the former Pennsylvania senator said that while he hadn’t yet seen it, he had been “hammered” for his support of conservative principles.

“We’ve been hammered by the left for my standing up for the traditional family and I will continue to do so,” Santorum said. “The left, unfortunately, participates in bullying more than the right does. They say that they’re tolerant, and they’re anything but tolerant of people who disagree with them and support traditional values.”

Santorum has been a frequent target of gay-advocacy groups, who have denounced his stances on gay marriage and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Last month, the candidate said that the gay community had “gone out on a jihad” against him for his stance against gay marriage.

“I welcome the criticism, go ahead. I’m going to stand up for the values that made this country great,” Santorum said. [end quote]

My favorite picture of Rick Santorum. Entirely unrelated to this story (click to see why it exists) but frigging hilarious nonetheless.

Well.  Allrighty, then, Rick.  You asked.

The first time I read this, I was irritated by how whiny you sounded, like, “Waah, they made fun of me, I haven’t even watched it but I’m just going to spout off about it and make noise about how beleaguered I am because I’m conservative.”  Pfft, whatever.  But then?   The more I read it–and I went back to that story a few times–I got angrier and angrier.

Bully?  Really, Rick Santorum?  Bully?

OK, let’s see…the Oxford Dictionary defines a bully as “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker..”  Or those struggling to be recognized as legitimate.  Ones you have the power to draft life-altering legislation over.  People you want to try and stuff back in a closet, and neglect to defend, like the time the openly gay soldier got booed at a Republican debate.  Remember when you did nothing to reprimand the crowd for their behavior?  Nothing.  Not one thing.

 

The thing is, bullies, and bullying, is a legitimate, real, and horrific trend in this country, kids kill themselves over being bullied (largely because of the air of intolerance you promote), and YOU DON’T GET to co-opt this word because someone said something that may or may not have upset you, if you had bothered to take the time to watch it.  Did SNL spit in your lunch and kick you?  Write insults on your locker?  Send you threatening texts?  Every day?  And then taunt your sister after you’re dead?  No.  What they did is called satire, “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”  I’m willing to bet that those feelings that you’ve got aren’t prompting you to consider suicide, or making you want to stay indoors and away from everyone else, or that you suddenly have fewer friends.  I would put money down, though, that the feelings you have are a mixture of anger and resentment, a much-deserved shame that is finally surfacing thanks to the embarrassment you must feel for the light that’s shining on your unacceptable and bigoted behavior.

Bigoted: having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.

And let’s take a moment, Ricky, to talk about your choice of the word “jihad”, as quoted in the above passage.  Again according to the Oxford Dictionary online, a jihad is “from Arabic jihād, literally ‘effort’, expressing, in Muslim thought, struggle on behalf of God and Islam.”  Those who declare the jihad are the righteous, so…great job undermining your own attempt to sound like you’re fighting the good fight.  I get that you’re busy trying to draw an analogy between the gay community and the Islamic community, which as we all know is the enemy (she said facetiously) and yet…is exotically intriguing despite being scary.  I’m just going to let that thought dangle for a while, keep drawing analogies as you will.

And regarding this idea of “special privileges”, which you mention in your explanation about why gay people do not belong in the military…

Special: better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

Privilege: a special right , advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

What special privilege is it that allows people to be honest about their sexual orientation?  It seems more like a right to me.  Here’s the full statement, for those who didn’t listen to him in the clip above:

[quote] I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don’t ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military.[end quote]

So, do you think inclusion = special privileges?  Because that’s wouldn’t be correct; inclusion simply means “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure”.  Do you think the non-gay soldiers are going to suffer from gaydiation poisoning?  Do you think the military is going to sponsor gay-only rodeos in Afghanistan now?  Because that would be a special privilege, and one about which you could make a case for getting your knickers in a twist.  (I mean, who’d want to miss a Brokeback Hoedown?  I bet it would be fabulous.)  But you see, that’s NOT WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.  The soldiers will serve, and they can be honest about who’s in the pictures of the people they love, who are home waiting for them, or deployed elsewhere, or maybe in the neighboring bunk.  And you’re lying when you say that “any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.”  What you mean is, only hetero-activity has a place in the military.  Ironically, maintaining anti-gay policy is, actually, the special privilege.  When you hang a sign on the door that says “No Homos Allowed”, that exclusionary reality makes your heterocentric bent a special privilege, no matter how you try to douchewash it.

I know you don’t want to hear this, Rick, but here’s the truth: Words.  Have.  Meanings.  Before you go shooting your mouth off about who said what, or who gets to enjoy which privilege, you need to take a moment to determine what it is you want to say, and then speak accurately.  A dictionary might help.  You’re in the public eye, so you have to expect satirical takes on what you do and say.  You’re in the public eye, so you have to learn to be sensitive about the psychic abuse kids undergo, and how it can result in the worst sort of loss possible.  You’re in the public eye, so you’d better expect to have to answer for your promotion of policies of exclusion.

At the end of this, I’m going to stand with my LGBT friends, who are open, and inclusive, and interesting, and fun, and don’t shut the door on me even though I’m straight.  The new Spock is gay; you gonna stop watching Star Trek movies, too?

 

Your loss.  Because this movie was AWESOME.

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17 responses to Cynical Soapbox: A Vocabulary Lesson for Rick Santorum

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Exactly. When in reality, people like him should hang a shingle out their front door that says “Lion Chow Expert”. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  1. When I heard he was whining about being “bullied” on SNL and by those on the left, I wanted so much to make fun of him about it and express his hypocrisy, but I couldn’t have done it better than you have just done. Good job

    Like

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Hey, thanks! I literally read the article about it like five times, and got angrier with each reading. I couldn’t let this one go; it’s unconscionable.

      Like

  2. JP

    Righteous smackdown. Oh, and another thing? Little Rickie Santorum trips my gaydar. Which would make all that hysterical homophobia just another instance of a self-loathing, Republican closet case.
    You wait and see.

    Like

  3. JP

    …plus he’s a whiney-ass little baby. “Wahhh, all the cool kids are making fun of me….waaaaaahhhh!”

    Like

  4. Amy

    Until these choir boys drop the “traditional values” shtick as a supposedly qualifying…or even relevant political…um..stance…, they are sitting ducks for people with an ounce of smarts or satire capabilities. And I say yay to that. I mean, come on! I don’t mind if people are squares, but do they need to be so mean to everyone else? Great blog! Awesomely put-all of it! For the record though, I bet he will feel bad when he sees the skit isn’t really about blasting his superior morals so much as pointing out that he’s way behind.

    Like

  5. Gary Hardcastle

    I have many reasons to want to live a long life, but among them is the desire to see a trivial pursuit question along the following lines:

    “True or False: Santorum, the by-product of a certain variety of male-male sex, was in fact named after this homophobic US Senator of the early 21st century who was later discovered to have held marathon gay orgies at his remote Pennsylvania compound “Greasetopia”?”

    Like

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      One minor amendment to your trivial pursuit question…it should read “the frothy by-product…” Then, my friend, I am with you all the way.

      Like

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