When you take two innocuous words and put them together: OMG THE CHILDREN!!!

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 22:33 EDT
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This is the sort of pseudo-controversy that inspired Jesse to put together our panel last Netroots Nation on the way that the pearl-clutching over profanity is used to silence not just liberal opinion, but basic common sense. Marcy Wheeler said “blow job” on TV, and now I’m contractually obligated—as are others—to point out that there are far worse things that saying “blow job” on TV. Such as shooting people in the face, authorizing torture, being a ginormous racist asshole who suggests murdering people with big mouths, or handing out the Pulitzer Prize to “journalists” who coddle your belief that it really is a national tragedy that the President got a blow job and you didn’t. Or maybe I should say “hummer”, if that’s what it’ll take to keep Howard Kurtz from passing out from shock.

Marcy made a very real point, and The Children and their need to be innocent of the words “blow job” were used to distract and dismiss her concerns that a bunch of criminals will get away with breaking the law because they’re Republicans who managed to secure the executive office under auspicious circumstances. And also that it’s stupid as fuck to say that investigating the Bush administration is hardly “politicizing” when Bill Clinton was impeached for a blow job in a partisan witch hunt.

Didn’t people say “blow job” on TV during the Lewinsky scandal? Did that not count because the target was an impure soul who had Teh Sexx, instead of a pure soul who instead ordered the torture of illegally detained human beings?

But what really makes me super stoked about the huffing and puffing of both Kurtz and the anchors on MSNBC is the implication that we can’t say “blow job” on MSNBC because of The Children. Let me get this straight: We have to watch our language because there might be children out there who, due to their strong interest in and understanding of the ins and outs of the use of special prosecutors to investigate sitting or retired presidential administrations, could hear the words “blow job” and start getting ideas? If so, would the phrase “oral pleasure” really suffice in going over the heads of these genius children? Do they know that “bitch” and “ass” and probably even “blow job” are said on network sitcoms now, which traditionally have a lot more interest from the Dick and Jane set?

If you think about it for a second, The Children falls apart completely as an excuse. Instead, what we have here is a whole lot of pearl-clutching to undermine liberal opinions, and not just a little bit of sexism about what is proper for ladies to say sprinkled on top. Whenever I hear people having heart attacks about the way that the new media is out of control and will let just anyone speak their mind, I suspect that this is what they fear—that you won’t be as easy to discredit forever because you said “blow job”. That instead of lowering the tone of the discourse, instead we’ll be asking people to act like fucking adults.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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