Friday, June 5, 2015

Rush Limbaugh Just Called My Former Boss "Stupid" and "Ignorant"

Well, sort of. Allow me to explain.

When I can, I take lunch at home, that way I check in on the family, and get to see Terri (my wife), even if briefly. On the run back and forth, I usually have Rush on. It is the only time I get to listen these days.

He caught my attention because he was touching on the teapot tempest over a bus advertisement in Pennsylvania that I had read about last night. It seems that a display ad on a bus, included the words, "Ziggin, Zaggin!" Don't read those words backwards or you may find yourself offended. And that was the story I had caught on the web the night before, that an offense, or a pretense of offense, had arisen when someone noticed that backwards, the message was, well, the backwards of "Ziggin, Zaggin!"

So Rush was on a tear over the pretense of offense, or the ease of injury, or whatever you would call the willingness to be offended by words that aren't even being used.

During his jeremiad, he mentioned a story about government employees let go because of the use of the word, niggardly, in some context or other. Not a fan of Wikipedia (after all, how can I trust an "encyclopedia" that has me as an editor?), I note that even Wikipedia realizes that confusion and ignorance reigns supreme in this nation over the perfectly fine, non-racial, Scandinavian word.

Rush was quite amused over the "Ziggin, Zaggin," story and the knee jerk response of a transit agency pulling down the display ad rather than challenging the silly objection. At that point, he recalled the story of the employment woes of the government employee whose vocabulary was broad enough to include "niggardly" and too broad for his or her own good. Rush described the firing supervisor as "Stupid" and as "Ignorant" for failing to realize that "niggardly" had no racial or racist component to it all.

And that's when I laughed. And that's when I realized that Rush Limbaugh just called Jay Sekulow, the Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, "stupid" and "ignorant."

Oh true enough, he was talking about a different "stupid" and "ignorant" supervisor at another place of employment.

But Jay Sekulow fit the bill on this one to a T.

Years ago, I wrote all of Jay's press releases, in a period running from about December 1989 until he and I joined the American Center for Law and Justice. After that, and until the ACLJ terminated my employment in September, 2012, I wrote many of Jay's Supreme Court briefs and petitions and many of his appellate court briefs (those not written by Walter Weber, our colleague) (like many attorneys on the top end of legal enterprises, Sekulow had discontinued the drafting of such documents as soon as about 1992 or 1993, taking the role of editor on the work of others). I seldom got feedback from Jay. I assumed then, and do now, that his light touch reflected complete satisfaction with my research, and my legal reasoning.

But there was that one occasion. And when he called me, I actually expected him to do it. I knew he would react to my use of the word "niggardly" because I knew that Jay often seemed more concerned about how matters appeared than how they actually were. In the case of the word "niggardly," as I reminded him then, there is absolutely NO RACIAL IMPORT to the word. NONE. But I knew that he would conclude that others would perceive it so and that we would surrender the linguistic field before the battle began.



Well, Rush, if you insist.