The Denver Post’s PoliticsWest reported on January 24:
ProgressNowAction, a left-leaning advocacy group based in Denver, is promoting an online effort to pressure advertisers to stop supporting the KOA 850-AM radio show of Jon Caldara because Caldara used the term “bitch-slapped” on the air.
“The term itself is demeaning and offensive to women,” said Michael Huttner, executive director of ProgressNowAction. “It’s the kind of thing that minimizes the severity of domestic violence. We think it shouldn’t be used in any context.”
ProgressNowAction and Colorado Media Matters “must be working together to bring hyper-sensitivity to a new level,” Caldara said in an e-mail to PoliticsWest. …
On the air, Caldara played a snippet of the Democratic candidate debate interaction between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in which Obama said, “I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes,” a reference to Bill Clinton.
Caldara termed Obama’s response “a spectacular line” and goes on to ask [guest Ann] Coulter, “Was it fair to say this woman got bitch-slapped tonight?” …
The ProgressNowAction online statement, titled “Tell Jon Caldara’s sponsors: don’t pay for hate,” was also e-mailed to 3,000 people, according to Huttner, who said they have received 250 responses.
I asked my resident expert on women, my wife, whether she thought the term “bitch-slap” is offensive. She replied, “No; I think I’ve used it myself.”
Obviously, Huttner is not serious in claiming that the term “bitch-slap” “shouldn’t be used in any context.” ProgressNowAction.org refers on its main web page to “Caldara’s ‘bitch-slapped’ comment.” Apparently, Huttner thinks that using the term in this context is just fine. Furthermore, the post by Brittney Wilburn uses the term “bitch-slapped” three times:
Caldara’s “bitch-slapped” comment
By Brittney – Jan 24th, 2008 at 3:20 pm MST
Earlier this week, John Caldara, a local right-wing host on Denver’s 850 KOA radio, discussed the presidential candidate debates. During his talk, he asked his guest on-air whether it “was it fair to say” that Senator Clinton (NY) “got bitch-slapped tonight?” (The Jon Caldara Show, Newsradio 850 KOA, evening broadcast 1/21/2008)
Did he really say “bitch slapped”? I know he’s a talk show host. I know he pushes the envelope. But bitch slapped? He went too far. This comment rivals Imus’ “nappy headed hoes” comment.
We, as Coloradans should be outraged. And we should not stand for this hateful commentary.
Not only was this comment demeaning to women, it minimizes the severity of domestic violence women across Colorado experience.
Click on the link to sign the petition urging advertisers on his show to pull their adds and calling on Caldara to apologize.
Okay. The term “bitch-slap” is nothing like the term “nappy headed hoes.” Coloradans should not be outraged. They should chuckle at Brittney’s ridiculous hysteria.
If the people at ProgressNowAction are not a bunch of damned hypocrites, as I suspect they are, then they will also immediately demand that all advertisers with the left-leaning Westword withdraw their advertising dollars. For Westword has published the term “bitch-slap” not once, but twelve times (that I could find). Shouldn’t ProgressNowAction display twelve times the outrage toward Westword? Or is it that Huttner and Wilburn just hate Caldara, and they don’t really care about the term “bitch-slap?”
Following are all twelve of Westword’s use of the term “bitch-slap:”
1. December 19, 2006 — “Okay, it’s a bit far-fetched, and in the heat of the moment against the Knicks last Saturday, when Melo decided he would open-palm bitch-slap Mardy Collins in the jaw, then backpedal across the court, the odds that Melo was thinking about A.I. are about as slim as Nene hitting a three-pointer.”
2. March 8, 2007 — “I mean, Brooke is making herself look like the dumbass here, no question about it — but I would bitch-slap my friends if any of them ever said anything remotely like that to a complete stranger.”
3. August 10, 2006 — “First off, any band that has the balls to let an illiterate grade-schooler name its group after a handicapped jungle animal has the chutzpah necessary to bitch-slap Steve Perry and company back to their mommies’ open arms.”
4. December 21, 2000 — “Unlike the dishonest tripe of Gump, The Crow offered hard, direct sensuality, inspiring a hopeful reverie wherein Lee’s undead warrior might steal into Zemeckis’s crisp, digital world to unleash his dark rage upon Hanks’s little retarded monkey. Or at least bitch-slap him.”
5. July 2, 1998 — “Whereas the charts are no longer dominated by members of the Bitch-Slap-My-Ho brigade (they’ve been replaced by purveyors of innocuous R&B, Brandy style), the mega-sales enjoyed by Master P and others suggests that there are still a lot of folks out there who feel that a song’s no good unless it’s about drive-bys or downing forties.”
6. April 30, 1996 — “In one backhanded bitch slap, Schwarzenbach knocked the Sid Vicious-inspired snarls off a generation of ‘punk-rockers’ who, mimicking their favorite Offspring and Green Day videos, were easy to spot as they all stood in line at the local Walgreens with hair products in hand.”
7. June 1, 2006 — “Fresh off a brain aneurysm, Neil Young gives the right wing an earful, clobbering our befuddled Decider-in-Chief with a righteous bitch slap that exceeds forty minutes.”
8. August 9, 2001 — “A lush, languid bitch-slap in the face of perky teen pop idols everywhere, this CD shimmers most menacingly when the subterranean stylings of singer Liam McKahey meet the literate (at least by commercial-radio standards) lyrics of multi-instrumentalist/producer Davey Ray Moor.”
9. April 20, 2006 — “I don’t go to Pete’s Kitchen anymore; fighting my way through all the club kids and drunks and drag queens and rock stars has become more of a hassle than a Pete’s breakfast burrito is worth. Tom’s, on the other hand, remains a 24/7/365 roller coaster of the human experience, a shot of street life and nightlife and highlife and lowlife all rolled into one insomniac bitch-slap.”
10. January 27, 2000 — “Perhaps Rudnick, who wrote In & Out, intended the portrayals of Mansfield and Hastings/Korda as some sort of in-joke, a backhanded bitch slap: They’re two of the gayest straight characters in the history of filmdom.”
11. July 5, 2001 — “The focus isn’t Manson, you morons, it’s the schools your precious “overachiever” children attend. You’re just picking on Manson because he’s an easy target. You feel that if the world were a certain way and only “positive” messages were sent out to the kids, then everything would be perfect. What you need is a bitch-slap of reality.”
12. April 24, 2003 — “I’m not saying that any of A Vitamin Store’s customers have ever or will ever purchase ephedrine with the intent of doing anything other than treating their asthma, because if I did, Westword’s libel lawyer would bitch-slap me.”
Uh-oh: It looks like ProgressNowAction is also going to have to put an end to the left-leaning Boulder Weekly (for which I used to write). That paper has published the term “bitch-slap” four times:
1. 2007 — “They can technologically bitch-slap your computer and make it an offer it can’t refuse.”
2. October 17, 2002 — “Enter sex columnist Dan Savage, a gay man who, you may recall, licked his way into the national spotlight after infiltrating Gary Bauer’s 2000 presidential primary campaign. Savage calls Skipping his ‘Bork-Bennett-bitch slap’.”
3. October 17, 2002 — “Three different bars-two on the main floor and one in the upstairs lounge-stand ready to bitch-slap your thirst straight into submission.”
4. December 22, 2005 — “The Chargers looked unbeatable in last week’s Bitch-Slap in the ‘Nap, but they fired all their guns in their history-making effort.”
Unfortunately, it gets even worse. ProgressNowAction will also have to shut down the left-leaning Colorado Springs Independent, which also has published the term “bitch-slap” four times:
1. February 24, 2005 — “Youd think he would have learned his lesson in 2003 when Gangs of New York was nominated, and he and Harvey were bitch-slapped by the Academy for not only dragging poor old Robert Wise into their over-the-top Oscar politicking, but then deceiving voters by having a Miramax publicist ghost-write a praiseful column on Scorsese that appeared under the beloved wrinklys byline.”
2. July 22, 2004 — “In the context of today’s starkly polarized electorate — where pollsters claim only about 18 percent remain persuadable– a book that offers eloquent bitch slaps to everyone from milquetoast Democrats (paging Tom Daschle!) to robotic radicals (Chomsky anyone?) seems destined to be pulped in the rush toward partisan fervor.”
3. October 10, 2002 — “Bork-Bennett Bitch Slap… Savage, editor of Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, calls Skipping Toward Gomorrah his ‘Bork-Bennett-bitch slap’.”
4. March 22, 2002 — “Willis showed Vanilla the dark side of show business, and the dark side of his hand, as he repeatedly bitch-slapped Ice’s grill. “
For kicks, I did a quick Google search of “bitch-slap.” Among the hits are HollywoodBitchSlap.com, Bitchslap Industries, Bitchslap the band, Bitchslap Magazine, and Bitchslap! the DJ. In all, 125,000 hits come up.
But is “bitch-slap” really offensive to women? I checked the Urban Dictionary, and here’s the main definition:
The kind of slap a pimp gives to his whores to keep them in line or punish them. However, it is most commonly used to describe an insulting slap from one man to another, as if the slapper is treating the slappee as his bitch.
And Dictionary.com offers a definition from Webster:
Definition: to slap someone with an open hand, esp. in an attempt to put them in their place or cause humiliation
Example: Corporate America was bitch-slapped by the stock market.
Etymology: from black English, slapping a person as a pimp would slap a prostitute
Usage: vulgar slang; bitch-slapped, bitch-slapping; also used figuratively
It is clear, then, that originally the term often was used in an offensive way toward women, but it was not always so used. It is also clear that, today, the term is mostly used in a way that isn’t offensive toward women and that has nothing to do with women. Caldara’s usage of the term is totally in line with the way that Colorado’s leading left-leaning independent newspapers use the term.
I trust that ProgressNowAction is now more fully aware of the meaning of the term bitch-slap.