I was going to leave behind that storm in the tea-cup but it won’t go away. It’s there, on the TV, in front of me every time I go to the gym. Besides, it may have a cultural meaning, or several meanings, after all. So, here it goes:
Last week, the television host Bill O’Reilly got into a tangle on “The View.” It’s a morning show for women. (More below.) What happened is that two of the three fat women show hosts walked out on him because of something he said. They walked off their own show, like that!
First, O’Reilly. He has an evening television program that’s very popular, one of the most popular in the nation, and his simple-minded books are bestsellers. He is a blow-hard, not very well-informed, a little obtuse, and stubborn. His English is uncertain although he obviously spends his morning coffee time reading the dictionary. He is also clearly an Irish-Catholic prude of the worst kind. With all this, O’Reilly is very effective when he decides to right a scandalous situation nation-wide. Several times, he has put the fear of God in lazy, or malevolent, or dishonest state legislatures and forced them to do the obvious or the obviously needed. He used forthright terror in each case and named names.
Now, “The View.” As I said, it’s a women’s show. It comes on a ten on the Pacific Coast. (That’s why I catch it a the gym and only there and then.) It’s designed by women for women. The hostesses are five women. One is Barbara Walter, an old journalist who has been over-rated all her life. Yet, she is a reasonable women although lacking in general culture. She has had the immense good sense to invest her large media earnings into her continued good appearance. She looks nearly as good as she did twenty years ago. I respect that. Barbara is a classical moderate DC liberal. The second hostess is a fairly foxy blonde who plays the token conservative very well although her lack of bulk is probably a handicap. The three other hostesses, one white, two black, are fat. They are not “somewhat overweight” like most of us, they are frankly fat. None of the three could buy her clothes in a department story if she had to. One is a brassy New-York-sounding woman whose name escapes me, and it does not matter. She wears maternity clothes year-around. The other is a black woman with a pretty and sweet face and a sweet disposition most of the time. She often displays common sense. The last member is Whoopi Goldberg, a very large black woman who used to be a good actress. She became a media person years ago by making shocking statements no one expected from a black person. She learned to be an African-American white upper-middle-class oral radical with little ghetto on her.
The show consists of these five women giving their opinions and discussing them among themselves, mostly about events on the front page of USA Today and in the evening news. There is a formula to the show, I think: Four parts of “same young actress arrested for DUI, and male celebrity beating up live-in girl-friend for the nth time;” one part political happening. They are not well-informed on anything they discuss; their opinions are without interest; their conversations are superficial to the point where it’s painful. The show is quite successful as I said. It’s Lifetime Channel masquerading as information.
I realize this all sounds bitchy. It’s bitchy, fairly so, but not especially condescending to those who watch The View, or O’Reilly for that matter. I too watch trash, almost every day in fact.
O’Reilly, known to be a fairly abrupt guy, was discussing the planned “Islamic Center” near Ground Zero with the women, who had invited him. At some point, he said, “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” That’s what caused two of the three fat women to walk off their own show for a few minutes. Here is a logically parallel statement:
“A dog bit me.”
Apparently, we are not supposed to make this kind of simple declarative utterance anymore. Instead, we are expected to say something like this, “A mean dog- that is not representative of dogs in general – bit me.”
See the ridiculousness. Of course, we should let not such bullshit pass, ever. Rational people must not submit. They must piss on political correctness wherever they encounter it in daily life. I do my bit every morning, right downtown of the People’s Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz. The girls at the coffee shop ask me discreetly, “The usual?” “Yes – I confirm- give me an Americano in a non-recyclable paper cup. Make sure it’s not fair-trade coffee. I like my coffee beans grown by scrawny, sickly little indigenous farmers.” I feel that, with this bit of satisfying childishness, I contribute to collective sanity.
The View is so successful because it performs an important social function many smell but no one talks about. The bulk of its attraction is its bulky women. Let me explain.
Most American women have trouble with the Green Dragon. Who would not? The media they watch, their movies, the women’s magazine they have to look at at the hairdresser ( or at the “spa”) overflow with young women, and with other not so young, displaying impossible body geometries. Many actresses are so improbably designed, they would not fly if they were airplanes. Things were not always like this: Take a good look at pictures of Marylin Monroe in her glory days and you will see a woman of modest proportions whose flesh hinted slightly at flab. There was no trace of muscle on that woman. Had she not died so unfortunately, she would have entered shortly into her physical decline. She was very attractive, I think but she was an attractive flash in the pan by today’s standards. Why,today, the epidemic of female pulchritude on our screens is ever spreading! Even television journalists with a law degree and a former career would have won the bikini part of the beauty contest in 1960. It does not seem fair!
The main thing to remember is that feminism has failed utterly in its overt message: Women want to be sex objects, not less so, more so than before because of the progress of leisure time. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at any Victoria’s Secret product and ask yourself if the company is successful.
So, if you want to have a morning program, and therefore, one squarely aimed at women, you face a severe dilemma. On the one hand, you have to provide many stories about the usually loopy behavior of highly sculptured media and movie female stars. In addition, you must talk about the villainous conduct of even more finely sculptured male stars. The first one procures a chance to say, ” tsu, tsu, tsu.” The second gives women opportunities to enjoy the sensuous pleasure of indignation: “What an absolute pig!” That’s a sure recipe. It’s been followed forever by (morning) soaps, the Life Time Channel, and all American general women’s magazines but one (Vanity Fair.)
On the other hand, the constant exhibit of supernatural beauty leaves ordinary women high and dry and it puts a bad taste in their mouths. As we know, women in America are often harried by too many different tasks and most are overweight, and increasingly so. And those I would not consider overweight in my limited, silly male vision consider themselves overweight anyway. So, what to do: You administer a drug that is habit-forming but that makes the users unhappy in the long run?
The answer given by The View is original. It stages fat women doing the right thing during the short segments of the show that deal with serious issues. You chose fat women who will invariably disapprove of what’s wrong, who support what’s right, who are always on the side of common liberal decency. You chose loud women, like Whoopi Goldberg (who is also articulate). You chose them mostly black as a mute but strong demonstration of the inherent open-mindedness of the show. It’s not that their corpulence is tolerated or ignored. Rather, your spokeswomen for all that is right and against all that is wrong have to be fat.
The View gives fat women everywhere gravitas in lieu of the stunning, ravishing, man-annihilating fantasies they would probably prefer.