“Outrageous” can mean many different things — from provoking offense or outrage to being extravagant or in bad taste.

Some examples:

1. A dual award goes to Newsweek and to writer Niall Ferguson.  Ferguson wins it for a story in the magazine on President Obama that a simple fact-check finds is riddled with inaccuracies and poor argumentation.  Newsweek wins it for responding that they don’t do fact-checks, even for their cover stories.

2. Rep. Todd Akin’s claim that rape victims from “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant have led to a great deal of condemnation and he has since apologized. But Akin (with Paul Ryan) co-sponsored a bill in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that would allow taxpayer funds to be used to end pregnancies caused by rape — but only what it calls “forcible rape.” Frankly, “forcible rape” and “legitimate rape” seem to be the same concept. And both opposed reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

3. News last week about Gov. LePage’s secret plan for a special session right before the election sparked a good deal of commentary, including my own. As Mike Tipping, to whom the tape was leaked, writes today, “By being so secretive while at the same time so openly partisan, LePage once again gave lie to his campaign pledges to be ‘the most transparent governor in history’ and to ‘put people before politics.’ At this point, both those phrases have turned from political slogans into political jokes.”

This incident adds to a long list, but came a little too late to make it into my co-authored book of quotes on tea party governors, which has a substantial section on LePage.

4. With the death of Phyllis Diller, here’s a clip that surely epitomizes a certain meaning of “outrageous.”

Yes, it’s Phyllis Diller and Liberace.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.