Thursday, April 20, 2017

O'Reilly Departs

The big headlines today are that after many years as more or less the face of Fox News programming, Bill O'Reilly has apparently sexually harassed one too many women for even Fox and is no longer on the air. I never was irritated by O'Reilly the broadcaster that much, because I never once watched his show, and by Fox standards he didn't seem to be a dingbat like Glenn Beck or truly dangerous like Sean Hannity. But he was the first and primary Asshole on the Air there, and I suppose it does make his departure newsworthy.
And the sordid details of his departure--serial sexual harassment--, which comes on the heels of Roger Ailes departing Fox for the same reason, should make most decent people blanch and vow never to watch Fox News again. Of course, that is not going to happen; it's funny how otherwise morally rigid and judgmental conservatives will make exceptions and twist themselves into absolute contortions to justify the bullshit of their own tribe. And I done listening to "well, both sides are equally guilty." No, they're not. One side isn't completely and totally hypocritical, and what moderate and left-of-center people don't have is a third of the country making excuses for them in public. I don't know a whole lot of people that watch Fox News regularly; after all, they tend to be either assholes or ignoramuses, and I try assiduously to avoid both in my life. But of this small group, one--one--has been revolted by the O'Reilly story, to the point where he said two months ago that he had stopped watching. As opposed to three others that were just fine with O'Reilly's, and Ailes before him, serial sexual harassment--but couldn't understand why, referring to sometimes-reasonable and acceptable facsimile of a human being Shepherd Smith, who came out of the closet in recent years as gay, "that faggot" is still on the air.
The people that watch Fox are the spiritual descendants of the people in the crowd that lined the road to Golgotha and thought it was their duty as Jews to curse, spit on, and throw things at Jesus of Nazareth on his way to his fate. And if that offends some of you that read this column--too fucking bad. Grow a conscience.
And what killed me about the entire O'Reilly experience is that people actually took him seriously in areas he has no expertise whatsoever. How does Bill freaking O'Reilly get two books published about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Or a book about the killing of Kennedy? (all of them were awful and added nothing to the vast literature on both, by the way). This cult of fame and television exposure in this country has reached nauseating levels. There are millions of people out there trying desperately to get good work published, in any form, and shit shovelers like O'Reilly get millions to peddle nonsense. And O'Reilly is hardly the only one. There was a note in the news yesterday that Andrew Cuomo, who wrote a book a few years ago that has sold, according to publishing industry records, 3200 copies, reported on his income tax return this year that he has made $773,000 off that book. So he got a million dollar payment to write a book that no one bought and probably fewer have read. And you wonder why he is the poster child for "Children of Privilege?"
But Cuomo, odious as I find him much of the time, is still hard to imagine as a sexual creep. I don't imagine Cuomo is easy to work for, but I really can't see him calling female staffers and talking junk while masturbating. And that was apparently O'Reilly's standard deviation, the act that followed the power-tripping that defines harassment. Just one more conservative hypocritical cretin sent off to retirement, after making millions and holding the bozos in the thrall for decades, And one more stain against Fox News, not that that is going to make a difference to the people that actually watch it, who are truly the Lost Generation(s).

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