Awhile back I came up with something I called the Nithing of the Week, a sort of anti-award for those who by their heinous words or deeds so richly deserved condemnation. Eventually, A Heathen’s Day became difficult to keep up with what with things going on in my life, heart surgery, recovery, moving and various other family-related events including my son’s Gaucher Disease and a new focus on politics due to Tea Party extremism and Republican control of the House of Representatives – and not least the fundamentalist threat to our freedoms religious and otherwise.
Since it’s been awhile, I will offer again my explanation for these awards:
I am introducing a new feature today: Nithing of the Month. I will bestow this name on those whose behavior is deemed by me according to accepted standards of behavior in Norse Heathen culture, especially egregious or reprehensible.
What is a nithing?
Nithing (ON niðingr) A nithing is a villain, scoundrel, coward, vile wretch. A nothing could also be a truce-breaker or a traitor. A niðing deed (niðingsverk) is an ill deed, or villainy. A person guilty of this sort of behavior was held in contempt. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Shorter OED, 3rd ed, 1959) the meaning is “A vile coward; an abject wretch; a villain of the lowest type”. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) offers this definition “A coward; a dastard; — a term of utmost opprobrium.”
The word nið could be applied to those who failed to provide hospitality; it is also used in the sagas to describe libel, such as in a libelous verse written about another. Such an act could have dire consequences, as in the fate of the hapless Galti:
Brand…slew Galti the son of Ottar at the Hunavatn’s Thing on account of a libelous rhyme by Hallfled. (Landnamabók (3: IV)
My original goal was to offer the award weekly but as I said above, that became difficult and momentum once lost is difficult to maintain. Here I will resurrect it as a monthly award instead. And my first nithing for the year 2012 will be Rush Limbaugh, the March Nithing of the Month:
I name before all people Rush Limbaugh nithing for his libelous attacks upon Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law School, for standing up for women before a panel of misogynist Republicans in Congress led by another nithing, Darrell Issa, the committee chair, nithing. Let him stand shamed and condemned before all for his vile and reprehensible behavior.
Fluke was supposed to speak before Issa’s congressional committee about contraception. But Issa and his fellow patriarchs reframed the discussion as one not about women or women’s reproductive rights, but about religion, thus denying a woman’s voice – the sole woman’s voice – from the debate, essentially barring women from a discussion about their own vaginas.
Rush Limbaugh accused her of promoting casual sex (never mind that as Fluke pointed out, contraception can prevent growth of cysts):
“Can you imagine if you were her parents how proud…you would be?” he said. “Your daughter … testifies she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she wants President Obama to provide them, or the Pope.”
Not satisfied with being a total ass, Limbaugh went for the whole tamale:
“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
Limbaugh continued, rethinking his expert analysis of prostitution and promiscuity: “Ok, so she’s not a slut. She’s round-heeled.” But he wasn’t through:
“So, Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives…We want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
I see no reason not to call a spade a spade: This is one sick fuck, and he represents everything that is wrong with the conservative male in America: self-righteous, bigoted, sexually repressed, misogynist and, not to put too fine a point on it: ignorant.
It is not easy to outdo Bryan Fischer, but Rush Limbaugh has proven that it can be done. He has more than earned March’s Nithing of the Month.
You can join me and all sane and honorable men in denouncing Rush Limbaugh here. If you respect and trust women, I hope that you shall do so.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson is the author of A Heathen’s Day, which since 2005 has addressed the life and thoughts of a modern day Heathen. He is also the founder of the Mos Maiorum Foundation (www.mosmaiorum.org) which is dedicated to the study and support of Paganism as ethnic religion and writes for PoliticusUSA (www.politicususa.com)