Larry Flynt

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James Taranto

We could hurl our usual shit-related epithets at The Wall Street Journal ’s hack columnist, but that would be letting him off too easy. Instead, we’ll take a shot at doing what James Taranto says Gabrielle Giffords can’t: write “900 publishable words.”

Giffords, an ex-congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in the head by a rampage shooter in 2011 and miraculously survived. She went on to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of sensible gun laws. After the Senate failed to pass the weakest guncontrol imaginable—expanded background checks—she shamed them in a New York Times op-ed.

Taranto’s response: “So we are supposed to believe that somehow in less than five hours a woman who has severe impairments of her motor and speech functions was able to produce 900 publishable words.” Excuse us, James, but wouldn’t it have been more straightforward to just spit in her face? Or were you worried Gabby’s “impairments” wouldn’t keep her from kicking you in the balls?

Taranto, by the way, offered zero research to back up his claim. But that didn’t matter because Giffords had hit the trifecta in Taranto’s hate stakes: She’s a Democrat, she’s a woman and, being a victim of gun violence, she makes assault weapons in the hands of lunatics look like a bad thing.

Taranto is the kind of troll who measures his success by how much angry feedback he generates. For years he harped away at things like affirmative action (notoriously implying that a rooster could get into college), hate-crime hoaxes (college kids exercising “free speech” with racist threats) and, of course, Obama. Taranto couldn’t hate the Presi dent more if he turned out to be Oprah in disguise.

Taranto’s nonstop bloviating year after year helped drag the GOP far enough to the right to hook it up with the Tea Party. His program boils down to a few simplistic talking points: Federal government is bad, private companies do no wrong, and if white men didn’t need something before, nobody needs it now. It’s an ideological bedpan that he can crap his entire agenda into.

But even government-bashing and racebaiting get boring, so Taranto tapped into another bottomless reservoir of venom: sexism.

In 2012, after the Aurora rampage shooting— in which three guys died protecting their girlfriends from gunfire—Taranto tweeted: “I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice.”

In midst of the blog barrage that followed, Taranto claimed his comment was an “errant tweet.” Bullshit. He meant exactly what people thought he meant: Women’s lives are secondary to men’s. His mea culpa ended up reinforcing his original comment, since it recast the boyfriends as vigilant daddy figures: From now on, girls, you’d better focus on making the menfolk proud of you!

Taranto’s Giffords and Aurora comments brought him waves of the contempt he so craves, but they turned out to be just warmups for his next resounding brainfart, the “War on Men.” Take a second to guess what that is. Forced castration? Bill O’Reilly’s dress-up fantasy? Wrong. It’s the attempt to protect women in the military from sexual assault. What else?

Taranto’s inner Neanderthal was prodded into combat in June 2013, when Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) blocked the nomination of General Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force Space Command. Helms had granted clemency to an officer who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

Good call, McCaskill. Outrage over rape and sexual assault in the military are at a high. Women are now fighting side by side with men. Why march backwards?

Taranto must have been praising the asshole gods. Finally, this was his Fort Sumter! He shot his whole load in the opening paragraph of his next op-ed: “Lt. Gen. Susan Helms is a pioneering woman who finds her career stalled because of a war on men—a political campaign against sexual assault in the military that shows signs of becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.”

In response, Senator McCaskill soberly noted Taranto’s “bizarre and deeply out-of-touch understanding of sexual assault.” The reason Taranto’s views look that way to sane people is because they arise out of a deepfestering chauvinism. Yes, you read that right. HUSTLER Magazine just called The Wall Street Journal ’s James Taranto a sexist pig! Sweet irony. We print spread vaginas for men to whack it to. We churn out movies like Monster Dicks in Young Chicks. How can it be that we are more enlightened about sexual equality than he is?

James, read carefully: You may be surprised to learn that male sexuality doesn’t always include assault. As for feminism, it’s not about claiming that women and men are the same— as you’ve accused the “leftist ideologues” of preaching—but that they are entitled to the same rights and protections. Men still swing dicks, and women still have vaginas. (We’ve provided backup for that on most of the pages in this magazine.) As for your tactic of “reframing the debate,” you’re not fooling us. It’s just the old game of derailing legitimate discourse into emotionally charged tripe. But please, go ahead and lump us in with the “lynch mob” of your critics. It’s good company.

We’ve already wasted enough words on Taranto. Let’s save a few for his boss, WSJ ’s editorial page editor, Paul Gigot: Hey, Paul, Taranto better have a photo of you doing something disgusting with your Pulitzer Prize that keeps you from firing him. But even that excuse wouldn’t be good enough. Thanks to you and Rupert Murdoch, The Wall Street Journal has gone from the most-carried, least-read newspaper in America to something we’d be embarrassed to wipe our asses with. What’s the word we’re looking for to describe your editorial standards? Oh, yeah. Unpublishable.

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