June 2011 is probably going down as the month known for dicks and wieners. It begins with Anthony Weiner tweeting images of bulging underwear and ends with the suspension of a political commentator for calling Barack Obama a dick.
First, here is the definition:
1. Chiefly British — A fellow; a guy.
2. Vulgar — A penis.
3. Vulgar — A person, especially a man, regarded as mean or contemptible.
Let us also not forget the slang term for dick. It means a detective.
“I thought he was kind of a dick,” said Mark Halperin, who was not referring to Barack Obama as a sleuth. Whether he meant mean or a penis only Halperin knows. Despite the ambiguity, MSNBC suspended Halperin for saying this.
White House Spokesman James Carney also labeled it as inappropriate to call a president a dick.
Frankly, a president needs to be forceful at times. There probably isn’t a man who has served in that office who has not been a dick. What makes the suspension of Halperin hard to accept is that dick can be a reference to male genitalia or a mean-spirited man. Who knows which Halperin was talking about? Does it even matter?
The uproar over this is ridiculous, especially when the prior administration is taken into consideration. George Bush and Dick Cheney took their share of genitalia jokes and no one was suspended. Bush was often compared to the female anatomy. Other political sages noted that it was appropriate that Cheney’s first name is Dick.
Bush and Cheney were not just the butt of obscene jokes either. They gave as good as they received. There were a couple of instances where Bush and Cheney muttered far worse than Halperin did on an open mike. Bush called a New York Times reporter a “major league asshole” for which Cheney agreed “Bigtime.” Then there was the time that Cheney told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to “Go fuck yourself.” Neither Bush nor Cheney apologized for these incidents.
The Weiner scandal has barely left the front pages, but everyone can remember how journalists loved to play headline games with Weiner and his tweeting. Whether it was “Weiner Vows to Stick It Out” or “Weiner Withdraws,” the connotation is clear. No one dared bleep these. Instead, headlines like this were plastered for all to see, along with the obnoxious crotch shots of Weiner’s wiener.
For the last two years, members of the Tea Party have had to dodge labels of teabagger. As far as I know, no commentator has been kicked off MSNBC or any other news program for calling the Tea Party members an obscene slang term at least as bad as dick.
Despite Joe Scarborough’s protestations after Halperin’s comment, dick is not one of the seven banned words for the media. This is not a word that needed to be bleeped out. Some people might think it disrespectful to call the President a dick, but he has been called much worse.
All these examples are far worse than what Halperin said. Actually, Obama has been called far worse by his political opponents than the one sentence remark by Halperin.
Obama has been dressed up on posters as Hitler and called a Nazi and a communist. Realistically, these are a lot more hurtful and mean spirited than calling the President a dick.
Politics may as well become a Larry Flynt production because sex keeps popping up as the main topic despite the country hurling itself towards a default on its deficit. More and more, Americans are enamored by this blend of politics and sex. If it keeps people interested in politics, then it is probably not such a bad thing. Yet when a well-respected commentator like Halperin gets punished for a relatively mild obscenity, then perhaps we haven’t got this sex and politics thing figured out. It seems that we cannot decide whether to be amused or outraged. All that leads to is confusion.