Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Sluts

Ed Schultz, a liberal talk-show host, has called Laura Ingraham, a conservative talk-show host, a right-wing slut (and later a talk slut) in a recent program:

Laura Ingraham has the honor of having written one of the worst books I have ever read. But that doesn't make her a slut.

The problem with that particular slur is that its effect is directly dependent on classifying women based on their sexual behavior. A slut is bad because sluts "give it away." To specify that one is talking about "talk" rather than sexual acts doesn't really make a difference. It still smears other women while appearing to attack only one of them.

Sometimes slurs like this become general slurs, used against all people, and the connection to one particular group fades away. But I don't see "slut" as having reached that position.