simplyjan

A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

And Now I Call It “Rush”

Some call it the Inner Critic. Some call it the Editor. Steven Pressfield calls it The Resistance. Once upon a time I called it Oscar – grouchy and impossible to please. At other times I’ve called it Nagini, like the serpent in Harry Potter that whispers cruel poison that no one but me can hear. This week, however, I discovered that it has another name: Rush Limbaugh.

oscar nagini rush

Everyone knows that Rush is a verbally abusive jerk. It is his chosen form of “entertainment.” In the past, I’ve just ignored him, pretended he didn’t exist, made sure that at no point would I ever be found within hearing distance of his voice. That’s what the program scan button is for on the radio. If for some reason that doesn’t work, the off button never fails.

Over the past couple of weeks, however, Rush has created such a maelstrom that I’ve been unable to escape it. First there was the uproar over his comments about Sandra Fluke – a well-educated, well-spoken young female law student who wanted to speak up for something she believes in. Because what she believes in is women’s reproductive rights, she found herself square in Rush’s crosshairs.She’s a “slut.” She’s a “prostitute.” She wants us to pay her to have sex. She should record and post videos for our enjoyment. It was ridiculous – ridiculous, mean, misogynistic, and crude. It was his attempt to reduce this woman, and anyone else like her who might dare use her voice in the public arena, to nothing more than an object to be bought, used up, and discarded. We don’t have to pay attention to objects, you know.

Then this week he moved on to attack another articulate, outspoken woman: Tracie McMillan, a journalist and author of the new book, The American Way of Eating. Of McMillan he says the she is just an “authorette,” another one of the “young, single, white women” threatening Americans’ freedoms. He belittles her work and her talent, adding the –ette­ to show how he doesn’t consider her a real author.

As I’ve found myself drawn into these stories and the furor they have created, I’ve wondered why. Why does this feel so personal that it has captured my attention now? I don’t listen to Rush! I don’t give credence to his vitriolic words or opinions! Why now?

I realized that it’s because his words and his attitudes, are so familiar to me. These are the words and attitudes of my Inner Critic, my Editor, my Resistance, my Oscar, my Nagini. “You aren’t worth anything. Why should anyone listen to what you say? You’re a nobody. Your ideas don’t matter. You should be embarrassed. Don’t even try. Shut up!

As this poisonous attitude has paraded across the public square recently, I’ve noticed something for the first time. These words don’t have to have the last say – in my life, in my voice, in my writing, in my courage, in my efforts to make a difference. Everywhere I look, I see women and the men who respect them speaking up to say, “This isn’t ok. Leave her alone. Let her speak. We can learn from her. She is precious, valuable, and worthy.” I hear the truth. I feel the surge of power. I am encouraged to take a risk.

No, these words do not have to rule my life or my writing. Yes, I can ignore them anytime I choose; only I’ve learned that sometimes I don’t need to ignore them. I need to hear them, to allow them stoke the fire inside me, to mobilize me and my like-minded friends and colleagues to rise up to action. Somewhere out there, women are being attacked and they are buying into the message they hear that they aren’t worth anything. On their behalf, we must speak:

“This isn’t ok. Leave her alone. Let her speak. We can learn from her. She is precious, valuable, and worthy.”

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10 thoughts on “And Now I Call It “Rush”

  1. Thank you for having the courage to share these words. My blog and site are Cathy’s Voice because it took more than 35 years of my life to begin to find it. I heard those same words you shared. I heard them from the people who were suppose to love me, teach me, guide me. Parents, teachers, and yes..even “church folks” said those things. I still get scared. I still keep quiet at times I should speak. But I am so much better than I ever was and I improve all the time. That is why I write and why I share my story. I believe you have so much to share with others and have a way of touching lives. I am looking forward to learning more about you and your story.

  2. Thank you for these powerful words. I struggle with many of the same things. I just posted this to RevGalBlogPals’ Facebook page; more people ought to read it!

    • Thank you, Songbird!

      You know, for quite awhile now I’ve been feeling more and more discouraged by the increasing backlash against women that I see happening not just in the church, but throughout our society. But lately I’ve noticed something so important – voices. Strong women’s voices. Voices of men who respect and support us. Voices that are joining together saying that enough is enough. I am encouraged. I want my voice and yours to be among the voices being heard. While there are days I struggle to believe it about myself, I do have something to say – at least sometimes. And so do we all. We cannot let our bullies – inner or in the public square – silence us.

  3. Amen. Thank you for sharing.

    I also never listen to Rush, and wish I didn’t have to hear his words now. I’m not convinced that the petition to end his show is the right way to go about this. I do think telling his sponsors we won’t support them if they support him is fair.

    But I’ve been struck by how many people are unwilling to speak against his words just because there is Bill Maher on the “other side” speaking almost as offensively. I don’t watch Maher’s show either. Even if I agree with him, I don’t think he raises the level of public discourse.

    So your post is helpful, because it reminds us that words that try to silence people (from either side) should be condemned. Just because a jerk on the Left says something bad doesn’t mean we shouldn’t scream from the top of our voices when Rush goes off the deep end.

    • Yes, Marci! It doesn’t matter which “side” is lobbing the word-bombs. Words used to hurt, words used to silence, words that don’t productively add to public discourse, words that belittle, demean, or shame – they should all raise a united uproar from us. In these instances, the words are used against women. Other times they are used against minorities. Regardless, we should stand together against them.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Thank you for this. I needed it too–I had such similar feelings, and your words have synthesized them for me.
    BTW, got here through RevGal facebook page.

  5. Thank you Jan. Well said.

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