POLITICS
10/11/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm Officially Shutting Down This 'Lipstick On A Pig' Discussion

What a trying day. What an insufferable news cycle. This is why Mission of Burma wrote the song "That's When I Reach For My Revolver." And this is why I am thankful that I have the good sense not to own one.

Chris Matthews teased the top of Hardball by saying, "By now, you may have heard of this 'lipstick on a pig' controversy." And, naturally, hot blood shot to both my temples. "Well YES, Chris. 'By now' I have, in fact, seen at least sixty seconds of your network's dayside coverage." But I restrained myself, because I know that occasionally Tweety will rise to the occasion, and shut some nonsense down, declaratively. One would imagine, that with the network pivoting to tonight's extra-Special Comment about...oh, what was it again? Wasn't it something that people think of as important? OH YES 9-11! Like I said...ONE WOULD IMAGINE that Matthews might be shrewd enough to not send his viewers into the media twaddle version of the Hadron Supercollider, where "lipstick on a pig" is shot at 9-11, leading to a black hole that would suck everything in the world that is not already sucking -- just as hard as it can -- into the sweet release of nonexistence.

But, no. Matthews proceeded to explain that tonight, "We'll talk to some Democratic and Republican strategists about it."

And I'm like: "TWEETY, PLEASE. Nobody needs to hear any more nonsense from strategists. This is a matter of linguistics and colloquial expressions. The phrase "lipstick on a pig" is commonplace, well understood, not freighted with sexist connotation, and it's not some sort of inside-the-beltway neologism."

Is it a swipe at Sarah Palin? Can anyone say definitively that it is? Of course not! And, really, how could they? When Palin is not gamely reciting her greatest hits on the stump, the McCain camp has got her locked up in Rapunzel's Tower -- updo in full effect -- away from anyone who would dare pose a question in her direction. For all anyone knows, Palin is a pig in lipstick, a silk purse sewn from a sow's ear, a turd in need of polish, OR NONE OF THOSE THINGS, but, heck -- I'm willing to reserve judgment until such time as she's mustered up the courage and the wherewithal to actually face the public she professes to serve and prove otherwise.

But the larger concern should not be with Palin, who, to me anyway, comes across as a perfectly capable brawler, deft with zingers of her own. Here's the major concern: The whole wide world went to bed last night, safe in the thought that tomorrow, we would all wake up and be able to say "lipstick on a pig" the same way we have done every bloody day of our lives. And I'll be good and goddamned if I'm going to let strategists, pundits, and news anchors take that away. NO NO. It is time for someone to say that we are not this stupid, that we are not this pliable, that we are not going to be led by the nose, and that, going forward, every single person on the television and in print who has the nerve to suggest that the use of the phrase "lipstick on a pig" is a deep matter that faux-experts need to dissect and decipher needs to be immediately trepanned with a railroad spike and thrown into a ditch.

I'm officially reclaiming "lipstick on a pig" for humanity. Further discussion is a non-starter. I warn you: THAT DOG WON'T HUNT. NOT EVEN AERIALLY.

UPDATE: Many have pointed out that Matthews made gamely efforts to shut this nonsense down as the show went on. Saints be praised.