I like to think of Miss Sandra Fluke's contretemps with the madly admired Mr. Rush Limbaugh as, well, a fluke. She objected to his joke about her being "a slut" and "a prostitute," and hesto presto the part-time Georgetown University law student struck pay dirt. You object to my characterization of her as "part-time"? How could she be a full-time law student and still be appearing before Congress explicating the plight of coeds with $3,000 contraceptive bills or others suffering the heartbreak of being rejected publicly at the pharmacy for insurance coverage of a birth control bill? Then there was all the other media attention that came from Rush's little joke. Yes, I see it as a fluke, defined by the Dictionary of American Slang as "a fortuitous accident." Was not Miss Fluke felicitously named years ago before anyone ever thought of talk radio?
Surely, Miss Fluke now will become an outspoken advocate for contraception, fighting the good fight for free birth control five decades after the development of the pill. Could anyone have imagined the birth control pill's ability to engender controversy 52 years after it became a staple of American life? Surely, Miss Fluke will branch out, defending all kinds of gynecological innovations that trouble some, say, Catholics or Southern Baptists or secular humanists who are skeptical of Obamacare. Perhaps she will become a champion of the manly condom. Of course, she will pronounce on abortion whatever her religious convictions. She will become a latter-day Gloria Steinem. But my guess is her season of splendors will be short-lived. I mean, who is going to get exercised over birth control or other gynecological innovations in the 21st century? Once the election is over and the Democrats have no need to corral the mindless women who fall for this claptrap, Miss Fluke will be back at law school immersed in the mysteries of contract law. Her moment of fame really was a fluke.
Yet it did open my eyes and probably Rush's, too. Every few days for more than two decades, he has been hazarding a reckless joke and seeing how it plays. I have, too. Now, however, an audacious woman, Miss Kirsten Powers, has shown us the rancor and absence of standards that diminish our public discourse. She says she is a liberal, and I shall take her at her word, but she seems to me to be a very old-fashioned liberal, one who does not flinch at the evidence.