Yes, Rush Limbaugh said something really dumb and awful again. Here, editors Jennifer Wright and Ashley Cardiff discuss why it’s dumb, how it’s dumb and attempt to parse exactly what he meant recently when he said, “You know how to stop abortion? Require that each one occur with a gun” while discussing the Sandy Hook shooting.
Jennifer: Huntsman. I just want to say, go Huntsman.
Ashley: Do you want to say something relevant, though?
Jennifer: I am bringing this up because I want it to be clear that not everyone in the GOP is some sort of fringe lunatic.
Ashley: You have to pick your battles, buddy.
Jennifer: Because people who listen to Limbaugh surely get the impression that everyone who is a republican is also out of their mind.
Ashley: Well, considering that his is the “most-listened-to” show, I’d wager that distinction is lost on many of said listeners. Recall, last time Limbaugh royally fucked up and we discussed it, his fans came out of the woodwork to be all like, “You just don’t get his sense of his humor. He’s very dry.” Like Limbaugh is actually some heavyset Steven Wright who dislikes women and nonwhites.
Jennifer: I have difficulties with the idea of abortion, but I think it’s pretty clear that shooting a group of schoolchildren is different than eliminating a cluster of cells inside your own body. If we are going by that logic, you should also have to shoot sperm masturbated out, on the notion that you prevented it from making a child.
Ashley: Wait, what? We need to shoot sperm as masturbating men ejaculate? New plan?
Jennifer: That seems reasonable, I guess. Let’s go get a talk show.
Ashley: Seems easy enough.
Jennifer: No, I mean, all I mean is that there are things that are children and there are things that have the potential to become children, and those things are different. Children are small meatloaf-like people who are out in the world, breathing unsupported.
Ashley: Wait… are you trying to say there’s a difference between getting an abortion and going around shooting babies to death? Also, not to split hairs, but “meatloaf-like” is a pretty fair way to describe a fetus.
Jennifer: Well, no, it’s not like a meatloaf you can touch. If you died, the meatloaf inside you would die, too. If something cannot live unsupported, it is not an individual, it is a tumor. Or a terrible parasite. You know, maybe I should never get pregnant. I don’t know.
Ashley: But if it talks and walks, then it’s a meatloaf? I’ve never seen a particularly mobile meatloaf.
Jennifer: You know what I mean. Babies are sort of like screamy meatloafs for a few years. But it’s still not okay to shoot them. They do have the potential to live without feeding on your body, and thus, they are individuals. If you died, someone would get that kid some formula, and it would go on.
Ashley: I appreciate that we’re taking a hard line on not shooting babies. Remember that, folks, The Gloss: we don’t shoot babies, regardless of their meatloaf-like qualities.
Jennifer: Because it’s different than having an abortion! Babies are out in the world, living on their own, tossing up their tiny berets like Mary Tyler Moore!
Ashley: I think we can agree it’s best not to shoot babies.
Jennifer: No. We should not shoot babies. Having an abortion is different than shooting a baby.
Ashley: Back to the statement. How, for example, might an abortion “occur” with a gun? Does he mean shooting pregnant women in the stomach? Does he mean carrying the child to term and shooting the baby after the birth? If it’s the former, that’s obviously problematic, what with everyone here agreeing that shooting people (and babies and sperm and meatloaf) is bad. If it’s the latter, though, I think Rush Limbaugh has a more limited understanding of abortion than we previously assumed.
Jennifer: No, no, he means shooting the child after you give birth. Because we were sad when Sandy Hook happened. But not sad about abortions.
Ashley: Well, that doesn’t hold water.
Jennifer: You know, one of the sad things about Sandy Hook – in addition to everything, everything about Sandy Hook was heartbreakingly sad – is not just that they were all going to celebrate Christmas and have weddings, as the Limbaugh caller suggested. It was that we can imagine how deeply these families loved and WANTED their children and the unimaginable grief that must follow that. That seems very different from a woman who, say, does not want to carry her rapist’s baby to term. Those seem like different situations.
Ashley: I’m sorry, Jennifer, but you seem to be… exercising… nuance. I hardly recognized it after three years working on the internet, but… yes, I believe it’s there. Unmistakable.
Jennifer: I mean, I think it was summed up 40 years ago with the slogan “every child a wanted child.”
Ashley: And “No unspeakably horrible Old Yeller situations!” which wasn’t a slogan, but apparently needs to be.
Jennifer: We grieve not just for the unfulfilled promise of those children but for the families who loved them.
Ashley: Look, it’s obviously an appalling, insensitive, aggressively stupid statement free of critical thinking and, worse still, humanity. There’s also the whole issue of using a bunch of murdered children to lather up one’s anti-choice agenda with something topical…
Jennifer: Look, I probably couldn’t get an abortion. And I’m pretty up front about that with people before I sleep with them. They know if I get pregnant, I’m keeping the kid, and I’m naming it “meatloaf.” But this is obviously insane person logic.
Ashley: Meaty’s a cute nickname for a boy, I guess.
Jennifer: Yeah, I think it’ll make him pretty tough.
Ashley: You going somewhere with this?
Jennifer: I am just saying that this is not coming from a mindset where I think having an abortion is an easy choice. I do not see it as something to be considered lightly just because I do not see it as akin to shooting a baby.
Ashley: Jennifer, nobody sees abortion as easy. Nobody loves abortion. Nobody roots for abortion like it’s their home team.
Jennifer: Goodness, no.
Ashley: What this comes down to is Rush just needs to sit back, take a break, get a nice glass of some peaty scotch–whatever $2000 bottle he’s got lying around–maybe crush up some hydrocodone and sprinkle it in there, and think about why he says the things he says.
Jennifer: I don’t think anyone should shoot babies.
Ashley: You’re really going out on a limb there.
Jennifer: I’m not afraid to take a stance.
(All photos via Getty)