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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sandra Fluke's Crudest and Most Cowardly Online Attackers: A Literary Analysis

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM

click to enlarge SEE, "SCREW" IS A PUN. JOKES!
  • See, "screw" is a pun. Jokes!

Because she had the temerity to be a woman in America with an opinion about something, Sandra Fluke has spent the last week being both attacked and honored by people who have not read or watched the testimony she gave before Congress but still somehow know everything about her.

Rush Limbaugh, that angry pile of vanilla soft-serve, said the kind of things about her that he has long made a living out of saying about women, and now he's in hilarious trouble, especially since this time he made explicit what he often just implies. The Internet is chockablock with people who make Rush Limbaugh's implications even more explicit, many of them angry men who have decided to post anonymous attacks against Fluke because they claim she represents the thing that men hate most: A woman who wants to have lots of sex. Wait, what?

The current respectable right-wing online complaint against her is that the third-year law student is 30 years old, which somehow proves she is a liar, because all lawyers graduate at 13 like Doogie Howser. Also, they're mad because it turns out that she has previously expressed opinions on the topics about which she testified before Congress, which obviously is a terrible thing to do, as nobody with any expertise is as smart as people lacking it.

That's the arguments made by bloggers. The commenters, though, are rawer about it -- more Rush Limbaugh After Dark. From a site called MRC TV, here's a string of actual message-board comments in response to a somewhat less-stupid post titled "Sandra Fluke, Gender Reassignment, and Health Insurance."


Note that prim/horny first comment had 104 likes as of 10:30 P.M. EST. Since it's impossible that a human being could think of something so impossibly dumb and still somehow figure out how to manipulate a computer keyboard in order to communicate it, it must be deceptively complex modern literature. Let's dig in.

The comment opens in the first person, in a voice that we are meant to purport is Sandra Fluke's: "Pay for me to have SEX," this ersatz Fluke says, cap-shouting "sex" because it's a word that people who have had sex tend to holler to the heavens.

Then, like all Georgetown students, pretend Fluke drops in a "cuz" instead of "because," probably because it's hard to speak multisyllabic words around all the SEX in their mouths. After that, she proclaims herself an "insatiabl WHORE," cleverly demonstrating that insatiability by not having time to finish spelling "insatiable." Instead, overcome with horny Tourettes, she shouts "whore" and explains "because I'm having way more sex than I can afford to pay for." The end of this sentence circles back to the sentence's beginning, suggesting the fevered, forever loop that is the sex life of a Georgetown student, a sex life so intense that diaphragms or the monthly birth-control pills are quite literally burnt through, like tires when you're doing donuts, so taxpayers have to pony up for more.

Then, the first-person of the fake Fluke suddenly gives way to the third-person of commenter Bobit, just like the alternating perspectives Dickens pioneered in Bleak House: "LOL, what a dumb SLUT," Bobit writes. By wrenching us from one persona and into another, Bobit captures something of the alienation from self that a life of relentless, crotch-burning, consequence-free, taxpayer-funded Georgetown sex almost certainly leads to. Consciousness itself shatters.

Sandra Fluke's testimony has nothing to do with her own sex life, and there's something deeply unsettling about the mix of primness and lurid fantasizing going on all around, from Limabugh's wish to see sex tapes to the zeal that these anonymous commenters bring to imagining that law school students have time for Bacchanals.

And also again, don't forget that this tone was set by Limbaugh himself, who only apologized for using the words "slut" and "prostitute" but also actually said that he was surprised Fluke could "even walk" into the capital after all the sex she must have been having.

Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, and SF Weekly at SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF.

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Alan Scherstuhl


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