My first encounter with convicted felon-turned-radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy occurred when I was a teenager, playing an extra in a movie that was being filmed at my high school in the early ’90s (Adventures in Spying, I think; I never actually saw the movie). All of us extras were dressed in prom dresses and tuxedos and told to dance, and when Liddy entered the hall, to crowd around him and eagerly shake his hand, which I did. Several times.
I mention this story so you’ll understand the tangled history we share, Liddy and I.
Although I remember more about the dress I wore that day than I do about meeting Mr. G. Gordon Liddy, I clearly left an impression on him, since he went out of his way to offer me some personal advice yesterday, in our second encounter in 20 years (that I know of).
First, some background: the 78-year-old Liddy, who served four years in prison in the late ’70s for his role in Watergate, is currently the host of his own conservative radio talk show on satellite radio and in 160 markets through syndication. He uses his show to spew crazy right-wing rhetoric.
Last week, he had this to say about Obama’s recent Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor:
I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, “the race.” And that should not surprise anyone because she’s already on record with a number of racist comments … Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then … And everybody is cheering because Hispanics and females have been, quote, underrepresented, unquote. And as you pointed out, which I thought was quite insightful, the Supreme Court is not designed to be and should not be a representative body.
Yes, he actually equated being Latina to being an illegal alien, asserted that a Supreme Court of all white men is just fine, and implied that Sotomayor would make bad decisions on the Supreme Court because of PMS.
Being a woman with a brain, and someone who thinks the Supreme Court of America should, oh, I don’t know, actually reflect Americans, I naturally took offense to these comments, especially coming on the heels of all the other overt and subtle sexist and racist comments made about Sotomayor last week by people like Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh.
I was also puzzled by the strategy being employed — how exactly did the Religious Right think it could win anything requiring a majority vote ever again if it alienated women, and the only minority group they’ve had any luck attracting to the Republican Party in large numbers?
Mr. Liddy somehow came across my tweet, and the very next day, he answered my question! Well, he didn’t answer it, exactly, but he did give me some important personal advice:
So what G. (that’s what I call him sometimes) is telling me is that, rather than question the wisdom of espousing racist and sexist beliefs, I should basically just get a life.
Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that.
I guess it is true that if I join one of those awesome roller-derby teams, and stop reading, watching TV, or listening to the radio, I might be too busy and ignorant to worry my pretty little head over these things that are probably better left to older smart white men to figure out, anyway. And as @radseed thoughtfully pointed out in her tweet to me, "Silly @sarahwarn what is said by a host and broadcast publicly isn’t meant to be heard or thought about. Duh."
Sure, you could argue that his racist and sexist comments are being consumed and parroted by thousands of people around the country, and that maybe it’s just a little bit dangerous, irresponsible, and immoral to fan the flames of racial intolerance. And you could point out that Liddy’s "women are too emotional to be impartial" argument reveals more about his own insecurity rather than any scientific truth.
But I won’t make those arguments. It wouldn’t be fair.
You see, it’s not G.’s fault he can’t see this issue clearly — he’s a slave to his biology!
I guess I’ll ignore his advice, though, and keep on questioning things that don’t make sense to me, because I suck at roller derby skating, and because I think maybe that much wiser man who once said something about an unexamined life not being worth living was onto something.
But then again, maybe that guy just needed more hobbies, too.