UPDATE: 6:30 pm — Louis C.K. has pulled out of the event. He will not be performing.
Last night, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren took to her official blog GretaWire to proudly proclaim that she will not be attending the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner on June 8 in Washington D.C. In fact, she’s flat-out refusing to go. She’s also pleading with her fellow journalists to boycott the event altogether. So why is the veteran newswoman hurling so much vitriol toward the mostly-benign, wholly masturbatory black tie affair?
The answer: Louis C.K.
Arguably the most beloved comedian of the moment, C.K. is set to headline the dinner, slinging jokes for some of the most powerful politicians in the country as well as the reporters who cover their every move. And, Van Susteren isn’t having it. Although I’m not sure why she’s chosen now to say something – C.K.’s participation was announced in December of last year – the point is, she’s got plenty to say, as is evidenced below (the emphasis is mine):
The headliner of this year’s Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner is “comedian” Louis C.K. Comedian? I don’t think so. Pig? yes.
He uses filthy language about women…..yes, the C word…and yes, even to describe a woman candidate for Vice President of the United States. It isn’t just Governor Palin he denigrates. He denigrates all women and looks to the crowd to laugh.
I refuse to show any support for this guy or for the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Committee who hired him. I think the organization that hired him is just as bad as he is. It is no secret that he denigrates women.
The conspiracy theorist in me believes this is some sort of subterfuge in order to deflect some of the media’s attention away from fellow conservative media personality Rush Limbaugh (you know, because of that whole ‘slut’ thing). The more logical part of me sees this as yet another example of the mainstream media attempting to create pointed commentary and criticism around subject matter they know nothing about—simply to promote themselves and ultimately brand themselves as some kind of moral crusader. And if they (or Greta, in this case) need to vilify someone to accomplish this, so be it.
The situation reminds me a lot of people’s reaction to the kind of music I listened to as a youth (and still do): bands like Iron Maiden, Testament, Megadeth and Anthrax. Kids who didn’t listen to that stuff and a lot of adults called it “devil music” and claimed it was violent and angry—simply because of the way it sounded. But if they stopped to actually listen, they’d realize I was getting an education on how racism is horrible, how war without reason is wrong and even how we should respect the planet (and that was more than a decade before “eco-friendly” was a bankable concept).
You can rip just about anything out of context and squeeze out of it whatever agenda-supporting “evidence” you need. Fundamental Christians do it all the time with the Bible, namely with Leviticus, from which most of the anti-gay rhetoric originates. Sure, part of the book says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” What the hate mongers who yell this shit at rallies ignore is its historical context. It was written at a time after the Jews were delivered out of enslavement in Egypt and they, as a culture, were attempting to create and maintain their own identities— and part of that meant creating new life. It was a “law” of logistics—not one based on disgust for one man putting his penis inside another. If the act of male-to-male sexual intercourse would yield a baby every so often, those folks would’ve probably embraced the act. But these fundamentalists, like Van Susteren, use what works for them and pretends all competing evidence doesn’t exist. You never see one of these Christians waving a sign emblazoned with the words, “When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening.”
And while I’m writing about context. Here’s some context on Van Susteren. She and her husband, attorney John P. Coale, are close friends with Palin. In fact, Coale reportedly served as an adviser to Palin during her run for vice president. So, is Van Susteren really standing up for denigrated women everywhere—or is she simply sticking up for her pal? My cynical side tells me Palin was the one who alerted Van Susteren to C.K.’s remarks and urged her to ban the RTCA dinner because of them.
And if Van Susteren wants to talk about the ethical implications of C.K.’s words, let’s pause a moment to glance at the newswoman’s professional ethics: While certainly more levelheaded than a lot of her Fox News cohorts, Van Susteren has regularly interviewed Palin on Fox News. Tell me: Should a journalist – charged to remain “fair and balanced” – be interviewing her friends? Van Susteren even came under fire in November while covering Herman Cain’s presidential bid without revealing her husband’s friendship with Cain. And although Van Susteren eventually denied it, reports surfaced that Cain had retained her husband for an official consulting position.
So, what else does Van Susteren have to say about one of the most well-respected comedians of all time?
Here is a sample of what he said about Governor Sarah Palin and you tell me whether any member of the media should sit in the crowd while he speaks to them:
Louis C.K. says of Palin: “her f*** retard making c***” and “the baby that just came out of her f**** disgusting c***.”
To Palin: just “stick your t** in its mouth and shut up.”
And here is more: ”…her f***** retard making c****”
Need more to convince you? Here is what he says on twitter:
“I want to rub my father’s c*** all over Sarah Palin’s fat t***”
By the way, there is more, lots more.
There sure is more, Greta. And maybe you should’ve actually listened to “more” – that is, if you listened to anything at all — before demonizing a man for a few crass comments he made on a radio show. That’s right, folks. These aren’t even lines from his act. It’s all from an appearance on SiriusXM’s Opie and Anthony Show from December of 2010; it came a few days after his now-infamous drunken airplane tweeting, when he typed a series of gibberish and incredibly silly (and surely blue) jokes about Sarah Palin. And by the way, he later told GQ he regretted typing those things.
Like most everything’s-black-or-white-minded types, Van Susteren didn’t bother doing any contextual research before she unleashed her own hateful rant. If she had, she would know that C.K. has two young daughters and speaks about them honestly and lovingly throughout his stand-up shows and on his FX series Louie. He comes nowhere close to denigrating “all women.” In fact, he does quite the opposite. When he was married, C.K. talked onstage about how he loved his wife and found her sexier than ever after she gave birth to their children. Upon his divorce, C.K. made a conscious effort to leave his wife out of his act completely, to respect her privacy. And throughout his entire career, he’s regularly poked fun at men for their seemingly inherent shallowness. To a larger extent, C.K. makes fun of himself, continuously painting a self portrait of a man with a terrible body who is not at all physically attractive to the fairer sex and can offer little to nothing to a romantic relationship.
Van Susteren also failed to recognize that C.K. gave away $280,000 of his profits from his latest stand-up special Live at the Beacon to five charities around the world; $40,000 went to the Fistula Foundation, which aims to raise money for women – just women – in developing nations so that they can afford life-saving medical treatments.
Greta. Your attempted character assassination is ill-founded and promotes ignorance and hate—much the same way in which you claim C.K. has. I urge you to please stick to proper political journalism and analysis. And on a more personal level, you might want to be more transparent with yourself and surely more forthcoming to your viewers and Internet followers. You might want to get in touch with C.K. He can give you some advice about being honest.