Reply to Colorado Media Matters

As I have reviewed, today the Colorado Springs Gazette summarized the dispute between radio host Jon Caldara and ProgressNow. At the Gazette’s web page, “bmenezes” states:

OK, we’ll ignore the fact you’ve reproduced a lie from Ari Armstrong; he wasn’t just a “volunteer” for the Independence Institute, he was both a research associate and author who wrote some two dozen articles for them over the past 10 years, in addition to producing articles under his Independence Institute guise for other websites such as that of the think tank’s research director.

Following is my reply:

That’s Right, Attack the Messenger…

Rather than deal with the facts that ProgressNow is hypocritical in its stance against Caldara and that “bitch slap” is not an offensive term as popularly used by leftist commentators such as James Carville, ProgressNow has chosen to attack the messenger. Note that what ProgressNow has NOT done is refute a single one of my claims on the matter. The facts are what they are, regardless of who discovered them.

It would be pleasant if “bmenezes” would refrain from libeling me. The fact that the title “research associate” was added to some of the articles that I wrote FOR FREE for the Independence Institute does not make me an employee; I have never lied about any part of this. Nor have I written anything under any “guise.”

And it turns out that “bmenezes” is Bill Menezes from Colorado Media Matters, the group that first criticized Caldara. (I know this because I called him.) If he’s so interested in me listing my associations, then why didn’t he list his affiliation with Colorado Media Matters in his comment to the Gazette?

As I write on my web page:

I was paid by the Independence Institute for work on one paper in 2005 on a contract basis; never was I an “employee” of the Institute. Beyond that, I’ve written various articles for the Institute on a strictly voluntary basis. But the claim is typical of the left, which, as the heir of Marx, holds that ideas are the products of one’s material conditions. Of course, the left never thinks to apply such standards to itself. If ProgressNow wishes to get uptight about my casual relationship with the Independence Institute — which, by the way, has nothing to do with Caldara’s radio show — then, by the same standard, mightn’t we ask whether ProgressNow is giving Westword a pass for using the term “bitch slip” twelve times because Michael Huttner of ProgressNow once worked as an intern for Westword? But I don’t buy such claims on either side. ProgressNow is merely trying to weasel its way out of its hypocritical stance by attacking the messenger.

Menezes claims that I am a liar based on his incorrect assumption that “Ari Armstrong is a former employee of the ‘free-market’ think tank,” as stated on another post by Colorado Media Matters. What Caldara actually said, as quoted by Colorado Media Matters, is this: “Ari’s been a good friend and has done some work at the Independence Institute over the years.” Yes, I’ve done some work “over the years” — some free work, in every case but one paper. And, by the way, I did mention the contract work to the Gazette, but what the Gazette publishes is up to the Gazette.

It is Bill Menezes who is the paid hatchet man. I wrote about the spat between Caldara and ProgressNow because it’s an interesting story. I have been paid not one cent for that work. (I may, however, cite the work in future fundraising efforts for my personal web pages.) What’s your salary with Colorado Media Matters, Bill Menezes? How much do you get paid for character assassination? In a follow-up call to Menezes, he refused to tell me his salary, on the grounds that I am a “known misinformationist.”

When I asked Menezes what are his grounds for making that statement, he claimed that I failed to reveal my ties to the Independence Institute on Peter Boyles’s radio show. But who cares? It literally never occurred to me, because that loose association has nothing to do with the spat between ProgressNow and Caldara. Moreover, that association is not some big secret, as a quick search of the Independence Institute’s web page reveals. Nor has Menezes been able to point to a single factual error that I’ve made regarding ProgressNow and the use of the term “bitch slap.”

Yesterday Colorado Media Matters posted a lengthy comment by “E.B.” that continues in the same vein.

“E.B.” states, “However, Boyles uncritically allowed Armstrong to omit reference to his work for Caldara at the Independence Institute.” Apparently, Boyles did not know of that association, so he didn’t think to ask. And “libertarian blogger Ari Armstrong failed to disclose that he was a contributing author and research associate at the ‘free-market’ Independence Institute, of which Caldara is president.”

“E.B.” continues: “Additionally, Armstrong falsely claimed that ‘the public’s radio waves’ are ‘owned by’ stations that ‘bought the waves up’; in fact, the Federal Communications Commission licenses use of the broadcast spectrum.”

Again, Colorado Media Matters is not breaking open some deep dark mystery. Everybody knows that the FCC issues radio licenses. As is obvious to anybody but the prejudiced hacks at Colorado Media Matters, by the phrase “bought the waves up,” I was referring to the fees that radio stations pay for those licenses. I make this point perfectly clear in my post of January 28:

Even though the radio waves are today “public” — i.e., nationally controlled by the FCC — properly radio waves should be private property. And the owners of a radio station, the same as the owners of a newspaper, should have the political right to set speech policy for the station.

It is simply impossible, when talking live in a discussion format, to state every single point in an exactly precise manner. Nobody can do that. Not me, and not Bill Menezes or “E.B.” It is simply not humanly possible. Yet “E.B.” did not grant my statements a remotely sympathetic interpretation. I did not precisely state that radio stations pay for licenses, but my obvious point was that radio stations have to spend a lot of resources to run a station, and, by rights, they should own their frequencies. But, as I suggested on the radio, the left is not happy with such a proposal, because the left wishes to impose censorship on radio stations.

The complaints of Colorado Media Matters against me are petty, stupid, and vindictive. Moreover, they are a cover to rationalize the unjust and hypocritical attacks by Colorado Media Matters and ProgressNow against Caldara. (Colorado Media Matters is also silly to attack me, an atheist who supports gay rights, the separation of church and state, open immigration, and legal abortion, as I often carry the water of the funders of Colorado Media Matters. But, no matter — I claim Caldara as a friend, and that is enough to demonize me.)

Menezes sent me the following e-mails just a bit ago, after I told him on the phone that I was calling to formally interview him:

From: bmenezesATmediamattersDOTorg
Subject: Followup from Bill Menezes
Date: January 30, 2008 12:08:36 PM MST
To: ariATfreecoloradoDOTcom


Maybe I’d take you more seriously if you weren’t so obviously concerned with covering your tracks. The phone number you called me from is blocked so I have no way of returning the call, which isn’t surprising given how you concealed your ties with Caldara and the Independence Institute from Peter Boyles.

Plus, your question about my salary reinforces the idea that you’re concerned about red herrings and little else.

Bill Menezes
Editorial Director
Colorado Media Matters
720-219-1191 (o)

From: bmenezesATmediamattersDOTorg
Subject: What’s also really puzzling…
Date: January 30, 2008 12:48:17 PM MST
To: ariATfreecoloradoDOTcom

…is how rattled you apparently are about public disclosure of your ties to Caldara and the Independence Institute. One would think that somebody who has done as much work with them as you have in recent years would be touting such a relationship as if you were proud of it. Yet, you hide it in the shadows until it gets pulled out into the light of day. Why is that?

Bill Menezes
Editorial Director
Colorado Media Matters
720-219-1191 (o)

[In reply to my note about my reasons for concealing my number:]

From: bmenezesATmediamattersDOTorg
Subject: RE: Followup from Bill Menezes
Date: January 30, 2008 1:05:58 PM MST
To: ariATfreecoloradoATcom

Sorry, it’s easy to get taciturn when someone clearly is trying to pull a
fast one on you.

What on earth does my salary have to do with Jon Caldara’s use of misogynist

Bill M.
Colorado Media Matters

I have several responses to Menezes’s insane accusations. First, I concealed my phone number because I received a death threat some years ago (incidentally, for criticizing a right-winger). Second, I have concealed nothing about my associations. Third, it is extremely easy to get ahold of me, as I list my e-mail address on both of my web pages (as Menezes apparently discovered). Fourth, Menezes’s salary is relevant here, because he is claiming that I am biased by my loose association with the Independence Institute. If that’s the case, then, by his own standards, Menezes is obviously much more biased. (In fact, he is demonstrably biased, regardless of his affiliations.) Fifth, the entire complaint about Caldara’s use of the term “bitch slap” is a red herring!

Gazette Slaps ProgressNow

Today’s Colorado Springs Gazette editorialized against ProgressNow:

… ProgressNowAction has organized a petition campaign to convince advertisers to boycott Jon Caldara’s KOA radio talk show. …

As reported in the Rocky Mountain News, libertarian blogger Ari Armstrong found that three Front Range progressive newsweeklies — The Colorado Springs Independent, Westword and Boulder Weekly — routinely publish “bitch-slap.” He even found “bitch-slap” on a ProgressNowAction blog.

None of this concerns leaders of ProgressNowAction, who offer no criticism of liberal journalists who use the term.

“We’re much more concerned with what Caldara says,” explained Bobby Clark, deputy director of ProgressNowAction, in an interview with The Gazette. “Caldara has a tremendous sphere of influence. He is a paid spokesman for the right.”

So there you have it, in Clark’s own words. They don’t care if pundits on the left use “bitch-slap” — a common humorous slang — but they’ll organize a boycott when a conservative says it.

That about summarizes the case. However, the Gazette points out something else that I had not heard and corrects ProgressNow’s misinformation:

Clark blamed the Rocky Mountain News for “failing to disclose that Ari Armstrong is an employee of Caldara’s Independence Institute. The story didn’t tell you that, but it’s a fact.”

A fact? Hardly. Armstrong, a freelance writer, said he has volunteered articles to the Independence Institute on speculation, but the organization doesn’t pay him.

I was paid by the Independence Institute for work on one paper in 2005 on a contract basis; never was I an “employee” of the Institute. Beyond that, I’ve written various articles for the Institute on a strictly voluntary basis. But the claim is typical of the left, which, as the heir of Marx, holds that ideas are the products of one’s material conditions. Of course, the left never thinks to apply such standards to itself. If ProgressNow wishes to get uptight about my casual relationship with the Independence Institute — which, by the way, has nothing to do with Caldara’s radio show — then, by the same standard, mightn’t we ask whether ProgressNow is giving Westword a pass for using the term “bitch slip” twelve times because Michael Huttner of ProgressNow once worked as an intern for Westword? But I don’t buy such claims on either side. ProgressNow is merely trying to weasel its way out of its hypocritical stance by attacking the messenger.

For readers of the Gazette for whom this issue may be new, following is a list of my blogs on the matter.

Bitch-Slapping Caldara

Bitch-Slap Update Used “Bitch Slap” in ’07

Free Speech and Offensive Speech

“Why I Am a Liberal” Used "Bitch Slap" in ’07

ProgressNowAction has lambasted 850 radio host Jon Caldara for using the term “bitch-slap” on air. Michael Huttner, executive director of ProgressNow, told Lynn Bartels of The Rocky Mountain News, “If he doesn’t apologize, we will send an e-mail to tens of thousands more people to call 850 KOA’s advertisers and demand that they not be associated with Caldara and his shows demeaning women.”

However, Huttner’s own organization’s web page published the term “bitch slap” just last year. An entry dated September 9, 2007, states:

Biggest laugh line: “Mr. Bush cannot once again subcontract his responsibility. This is his war.” (Want to bet?) They also bitch slap Petraeus for his complicity before the election in ’04. They stop short of calling that a war crime, allow me to do that for them, besides, being a general IS a war crime, especially in the United States if you have kept your mouth shut for the last six years.

A screen capture of the relevant part of that web page has been archived at

On Thursday evening, I pointed out that the Colorado newspapers Westword, Boulder Weekly, and Colorado Springs Independent have used the term “bitch-slap” twenty times among them. On Friday I discovered that various other left-wing commentators have also used the term, including James Carville and Al Franken.

Now that I have also documented that Huttner’s own used the term “bitch slap” just last year, Huttner’s only responsible course at this point is to apologize to Caldara, to 850 KOA, and to Caldara’s listeners and advertisers.

Bitch-Slap Update

Welcome, readers of the Rocky Mountain News. This afternoon, reporter Lynn Bartels quoted me in an article about the dispute between ProgressNow and Jon Caldara regarding Caldara’s on-air use of the term “bitch-slap.”

Earlier, Bartels wrote an article giving the basic facts of the case. She pointed out that Bill Menezes, editorial director of Colorado Media Matters, first complained about Caldara’s remark. That organization posted its critique of Caldara on January 22.

Last night, in my post, “Bitch-Slapping Caldara,” I pointed out that the newspapers Westword, Boulder Weekly, and Colorado Springs Independent have used the term “bitch-slap” twenty times among them.

Bartels picked up on this point in her follow-up article:

But blogger Ari Armstrong noted today that three alternative newspapers have used the term at least 20 times between them.

The phrase has been used in Westword, the Boulder Weekly and the Colorado Springs Independent in stories ranging from sports to restaurant reviews to music reviews.

“ProgressNow is clearly going after Caldara because they don’t like Caldara,” said Armstrong, who lives in Westminster. “It has nothing to do with the term.”

Moreover, Bartels called up Westword:

Westword’s editor, Patricia Calhoun, noted the newspaper appears to have used the phrase 12 times in 12 years.

“But I did add bitch slap to a story in next week’s edition,” she said, with a laugh. “Frankly, I don’t have a problem with the term. In the proper context, sometimes bitch slap is all you can say.”

[Saturday, January 26 update: Bartel’s reworked article appears in today’s Rocky.]

If ProgressNow wishes to continue its witch-hunt against Caldara, I’ve found yet another target for them: Al Franken. According to, Franken makes the following remark in his book, The Truth, With Jokes:

These attacks worked on two levels. The obvious level was the literal. If Kerry thought terrorism was just a nuisance, then he was obviously the wrong man to lead the fight against it. But there was another level. The subtext of the constant attacks on Kerry’s toughness was that the Bush team was tough and Kerry wasn’t. It’s what blogger Joshua Micah Marshall called the Republicans’ Bitch-Slap Theory of Electoral Politics. By slapping Kerry around continuously, the President was sending America the message that “Kerry is my bitch.”

Yet, even after I pointed out the hypocrisy of going after Caldara while giving left-leaners a pass, Menezes was undeterred. In a comment posted with The Denver Post,Menezes argues:

The real question is why his bosses at Clear Channel, Lee Larsen and Kris Olinger, believe that Caldara’s approach represents a responsible use of the public airwaves. Perhaps Ms. Olinger or Mr. Larsen (or even Caldara) would like to speak in person to a domestic violence prevention group and explain why the use of terms such as “bitch-slapped” when applied to a verbal attack on a female, or “fiscal date rape” when applied to a political dispute about taxes, are appropriate and responsible ways of promoting opinion in the public debate.

Perhaps Caldara’s advertisers such as Tom Shane would like to explain to his female customers why he believes it is appropriate for him to patronize a program whose host blithely promotes abusive terminology that specifically targets women.

No, the real question is, why is Bill Menezes such a hypocrite?

Menezes is wrong in claiming that “the term-bitch-slapped literally refers to how a pimp might assault a prostitute to keep her in line.” It “literally” refers to no such thing. As I pointed out, “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.” If by “literally” Menezes means “most consistent with original usage,” then the term “bitch-slap” refers to striking a female dog. But clearly the meaning has evolved over time. To take another example of a term that has changed in meaning over time, the term “gay” was once taken to be demeaning toward homosexuals, but now homosexuals tend to adopt the term with pride.

To speculate a bit, I think that one reason the term “bitch-slap” has gained wider usage is that it does not make clear who is doing the slapping. Originally, the term usually seemed to mean “slapping a bitch.” But clearly today many people think of it as a “bitch” — an aggressive person — doing the slapping. As is obvious by a trip through any T-shirt shop at the mall, many women have adopted the word “bitch” as a term of empowerment, to mean something like, “I’m a bitch, I can take care of myself, so don’t mess with me.” “Bitch-slap,” in the sense of a “bitch” slapping somebody, is supported by a secondary definition from Urban Dictionary: “a method of assualt, used by females.”

Maybe now we can be finished with this issue.

… Or maybe not. 5:15 p.m. update: An anonymous reader sent me some additional examples of left-wingers who have used the term “bitch slap.”

James Carville: “A lot of Democrats on the Hill say, look, you guys come up here, and you ask us to do this, and we do it. And then there’s nothing behind us. And everything the Republicans do, they got that — the Wall Street Journal, talk radio, et cetera. We need guys like you guys [Buzzflash] who are doing really good work to, in essence, you know, bitch slap the bitches, and say: Look, here’s what you can do, and now here are some things you can do.”

Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio: “Bush takes a bitch-slap, Backs down on wage-slavery.”

“Wilbur” from Daily Kos: “We are being bitch slapped big time… Yes, the lefty blogosphere is being bitch slapped and it is going to go on for at least the next week, and I believe it is an important moment in the development of netroots politics.”

John Marshall: “Let’s call it the Republicans’ Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics. It goes something like this. On one level, of course, the aim behind these attacks is to cast suspicion upon Kerry’s military service record and label him a liar. But that’s only part of what’s going on.”

Buckeye State Blog: “Politico gets in last minute bitch slap at Bob Latta.”

The Left Shue (An Outlet for Progressives Who Are Working for Change): “House Dems Bitch Slap Kucinich and the Majority of Americans.”

The Agonist: “The Pelosi Bitch Slap.”

Thanks, anonymous reader. The people at ProgressNowAction really have their work cut out from them, if they’re going to purge the English language of the term “bitch slap.”

Also, thanks to the crew over at, who pointed to my original blog entry on the matter. (I do have a minor correction: I’m a former writer for Boulder Weekly and a former libertarian.)

Bitch-Slapping Caldara

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.” 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, 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 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.


Jason Salzman writes the following in today’s Rocky Mountain News:

By a real progressive, I mean someone who supports these kinds of things: raising the federal minimum wage to $11 per hour; a ban on construction of new coal-fired power plants; a government-run health-care system; the free distribution of condoms in public high schools; gay marriage; an increase in the capital gains tax; troop withdrawal from Iraq within six months; and the legalization and taxation of marijuana.

The first thing to note about this list is that it is not organized around any essential unifying idea. Some of the items involve more political force; others involve less. For example, I fully support the re-legalization of marijuana. I also favor domestic partnerships, though I care not whether these are called “marriages.” I support those things on the basis of individual rights.

Several of the other items involve more political control of the economy. But economic socialism is not “progressive;” it is regressive and reactionary. Imposing more severe wage controls would further violate the rights of employers and employees to interact voluntarily, and it would throw some inexperienced and low-skilled workers out of a job. Imposing socialized medicine would violate the rights of doctors, patients, and other parties to associate voluntarily, and it would lead to worse care, much higher taxes, and rationing.

What is stunning is that people who want to send in men with guns to prevent people from entering into voluntary agreements — and force them into involuntary arrangements — are sometimes called “progressives.” There’s nothing progressive about it.