Rachel Maddow made an excellent point on her program Monday night: when you try to censor something in America, it has the bizarre side effect of making the thing you’re trying to censor even more popular, causing people to actually seek it out to find out what all the hubbub is about.
This is something that has never registered with Republicans and right-wingers.
And so the story goes for Doonesbury, the political cartoon by Garry Trudeau, which is taking on the subject of transvaginal probes thanks to the outcry over Virginia’s recent and extremely horrible rape by the state law, and the Texas law that has been in practice for months now. This has prompted several papers to refuse to carry the cartoon, while others have moved the strip to the editorial pages, because, all of a sudden, the thought of women’s lady parts being the center of discussion is somehow unacceptable, even when women’s vaginas seem to be the one and only obsession concern of the deviants lawmakers in their party (see: Rush Limbaugh, attacks on Planned Parenthood, criminalizing single mothers, vilifying prenatal screenings, the five man “expert panel” on women’s contraception, etc.).
Why the trepidation over running the cartoons? Let’s take a look at some of the explanations:
“Given that the Georgia General Assembly is considering an abortion bill — House Bill 954, sponsored by Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, which would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy — I made a unilateral decision not to publish the ‘Doonesbury’ strips intended for publication this week. Quite simply, I thought there was a real possibility that readers might confuse the topic of this week’s ‘Doonesbury’ with Georgia’s proposed abortion legislation.” ~Athens Banner-Herald
Yes, and we wouldn’t want them to get confused and possibly throw a wrench into the passing of that Georgia law, now would we?
“Editors believe he has expressed that opinion in a manner that skirts, if not crosses, the boundaries of good taste expected in a family newspaper.” ~CA Reporter
“Went over the line of good taste and humor.” ~The Oregonian
“I am concerned about the graphic content.” ~Rock Hill, SC Herald
I love how they’re talking about “good taste” here, because most women would consider a forced, state sanctioned transvaginal probe to be beyond the pale. And graphic content? Imagine how graphic it must feel to be forced to experience the shaming mechanism of that transvaginal probe wand firsthand.
I have to say, I’m curious and perplexed at the sudden blushing of these rags, when the war on women has been shamelessly promoted, loudly and proudly via the Republican Party since their 2010 election victory. If you’re going to regulate the country’s collective vagina more than you regulate the criminals on Wall Street, we might as well see it in practice, since hundreds, if not thousands of women will be subjected to these policies, and since women make up the majority of the country’s population – they might as well know what to expect, especially since Republicans tend to be purposely obtuse when presenting these bills.
In Texas, the papers seem to want to protect Gov. Rick Perry, whom Rachel called Governor Vaginal Probe, twin to the other Governor Vaginal Probe, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who is mentioned by name in the strip and who enthusiastically signed the sonogram bill into law last year. He’s also being floated as a possible running mate for Newt Gingrich’s ain’t-never-gonna-happen presidential ticket.
But once again, we have moves from major newspapers across the country that blow the myth of a “liberal media bias” straight out of the water. I doubt one, if any of these newspapers had the guts to take an editorial stand in support of women during the many battles Republicans have waged against them since 2010.
Believe me, if we actually had a liberal media bias in this country, this strip would be run on the front page, no questions asked.