Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Muzzling" Rosie 

Salon.com's gossip column echoes a weighty question: GOP trying to muzzle Rosie?

Over at her blog Deadline Hollywood, Nikki Finke reports that the Republican National Committee's (maddeningly unreadable) Web site is out for Rosie O'Donnell's blood, perhaps signaling the beginning of some kind of campaign against the new 'View' co-host. Under a headline 'Dems' 'Rosie' view on the war on terror. Cut-and-run Defeatocrats across the country take their cues from Hollywood friends and advisors,' (ed: note the distortion of punctuation in the headline to make the GOP's site seem "maddeningly unreadable." The actual headline: Dems' "Rosie" view on the war on terror -- which is a bad pun, but not maddening unreadable. But they changed the double quotes to single quotes and then quoted it further with single quotes to create the maddeningly unreadable mess they complain about. Nice work, very nice work.)  the site lists O'Donnell's recent antiwar quotes from the show, followed by a list of her 2006 campaign contributions. 'Clearly,' writes Finke, 'the GOP's intent is to get ABC to fire newcomer-to-the-network, O'Donnell, or, barring that, muzzle her.' (Deadline Hollywood Daily)
So apparently Republicans' options these days are restricted to either shutting up, or being accused of shutting others up. There is no middle ground, no healthy testing of ideas through dialogue, no patriotic option of disagreement and getting all views expressed for Republicans. If they do not allow Rosie O'Donnell to say anything and everything she wants, no matter how disagreeable, on a national media outlet no less, and without criticism or even awkward silences that might imply criticism, then out come the charges of Repulican muzzlement.

At the risk of overgeneralizing, and perhaps even accidentally muzzling someone, it occurs to me that it is primarily a certain segment of the political spectrum -- and technically, it may not actually be a segment, but a 'ray' starting at a particular point somewhere west of center and then extending leftward to infinity -- that has lost much of its ability to hear criticism of its views without complaining that the criticism is an attempt to muzzle them and deny their free speech rights. No doubt I will hear from a few commenters informing me that right wingers are just as prone to exaggerating the slanders and calumnies arrayed against them, but, BUT, please bear in mind that when the right does it, there is not the charge of muzzling or denying freedom of speech. They generally prefer simply to use use the exaggeration to strengthen their charges that their critics are wrong and stupid. This loss-of-free-speech -- or perputually impending loss-of-free-speech -- paranoia isn't coming from the right.

I wish I were a psychologically attuned blogger like Dr. Sanity, Dr. Helen or Shrink Wrapped. Then I'd probably be able to explain this strange behavior -- inflating simple criticism into a Stalinesque attempt to stifle one's free speech -- as the obvious manifestation of an underlying desire to muzzle their own critics, projected onto ideological opponents who disagree with them.

Alas, I'm not, so I won't.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: