“What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke,” pondered Rush Limbaugh, “who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex – what does that make her?”
(Translation from Limbaughnese to English: Paid to have sex = believes insurance companies should cover birth control.)
Rush concluded, “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”
As many of us know, this conclusion has resulted in a Rush Limbaugh backlash that has cost him at least twenty advertisers.
Some, however, believe the Rush Limbaugh backlash is unfair because left-wing media personalities have gotten away with equally misogynistic remarks unscathed. For example, apparently Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a “dumb twat” and the word that starts C with and rhymes with “runt.”
If you agree that Rush is being targeted unfairly, then you probably also sympathize with the word assume. The practice of assuming gets a bad rap because it involves making a conclusion without having proof. And I agree that assuming can, in fact, make asses out of people—like that time I incorrectly assumed a woman was pregnant. (From now on, I won’t mention the word pregnant unless a woman’s water breaks right in front of me.)
However, if we are going to give assume a hard time, shouldn’t we also have a problem with presume.
The definition of presume is “to take for granted, assume, or suppose.”
In fact, English language expert Bill Bryson says, “Assume, in the sense of 'to suppose', normally means to put forth a realistic hypothesis, something that can be taken as probable … Presume has more of an air of sticking one's neck out, of making an assertion that may be arguable or wrong."
So did Limbaugh assume or presume that Fluke was a slut?
Did Maher assume or presume that Palin was a dumb twat?
Am I assuming or presuming that the answers you provide to the two previous questions will give me insight into your political views?