The Tall Blonde Woman in the Short Skirt With the Big Mouth
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Today is the devil's day, a celebration for the evildoers; that's right, it is 6-6-06. Drop the 0, you get 666. As the L.A. Times notes, this day "has become an ideal date to launch music, records, books â€¦" Jeffrey Godsick from marketing at 20th Century Fox says about 666, "It's partly superstition, partly fear, partly reality â€¦ These numbers seem to have a significant impact."
And on this day, the devil herself -- the Tall Blonde Woman in the Short Skirt With the Big Mouth (TBWSSBM, or TBW for short) -- has a new book out. You know who I'm talking about. I will not mention her name, nor the name of the book, the publisher or any of her previous books. She is releasing her book today as "a little tribute to liberals." The time has come to ignore this woman.
Of course, TBW is ready to bask in the glow of the huge publicity many journalists, reviewers, talk show hosts, bloggers, opinion shapers, editors and just plain chatterers will give her, despite her being one of the most destructive, irresponsible, foul-mouthed, fact-challenged, racist provocateurs in public life.
I urge you, I challenge you, I beg you, to ignore this woman. Find the inner discipline. The world will be a better place for it.
In case you think I'm exaggerating, or overreacting about TBW's destructive mouth, here are a small handful of the many dozens of appalling things she has said to get your attention, to get your blood flowing, to suck you into her world. She manipulates you. Then you enable her.
- In a syndicated column: "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport and dropping daisycutters wantonly throughout the Middle East " (Daisycutter is a nickname for the 15,000-pound bomb, the largest conventional bomb in existence.)
- From the N.Y. Observer : "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
- On Fox News' Your World, TBW declared that former President Bill Clinton "molested the help." She has also referred to Clinton as a "very good rapist."
- In a syndicated column she wrote: "And mind you, this was before we knew Gore was clinically insane. Back then we thought he was just a double-talking stuffed shirt who seemed kind of gay."
- In various interviews, TBW asks "whether America might be better off if women lost the right to vote."
So Mr. Media Makers, what do you think? Isn't it enough already? It is you, and all of us, who have turned TBW into a super "celebrity." Progressives, liberals, critics, many normally fine, intelligent men -- and almost all of them are men -- are to a great extent responsible for the enormous wealth, fame and disgusting success of TBW.
It is time for all of you who hate her so much, who want to get next to her so badly, who can't stop writing about her, interviewing her, attacking her, hanging out with her, flirting with her, sucking up to her, and yes, going blubbery brained apoplectic because she frustrates you so much, to face the hard truth.
You have an addiction.
You who suffer from TBW addiction are virtually a who's who, an all-star team of liberal and progressive male journalists, some of whom have devoted countless columns and whole sections of their books to TBW. I'm talking about you, Mr. Progressive Funny Guy (PFG) now on the progressive talk network, who writes books about liars that give all that publicity to the lies.
And you, Mr. Left Wing Media Critic (LWMC), who writes for that venerable left-wing rag with no pictures -- for you TBW is almost a cottage industry. You feel it a personal responsibility to let the world know about TBW: "It's degrading to have to write about [TBW] again. As a pundit, she is about on a par with Charles Manson, better suited to a lifelong stay in the Connecticut Home for the Criminally Insane â€¦" "Her books are filled with lies, slander and phony footnotes that are themselves lies and slanders. Her very existence as a public figure is an insult to our collective intelligence."
So why are you writing about her? Do you think your audience doesn't know this already? Are you expecting right-wingers to find your column and change their ways?
Mr. LWMC is stuck with the "baffling phenomenon of the bestselling Barbie-doll terrorist-apologist," who continues to be celebrated by the very media she terms "retarded" and guilty of "mass murder."
Mr. LWMC continues: "Make no mistake. [TBW] may routinely call for the murder of liberals, of Arabs, of journalists, of the president, among many others. She may compare adorable Katie Couric to Eva Braun and Joseph Goebbels and joke about blowing up the Times building. But instead of ignoring, laughing at, or perhaps most usefully, sedating her, we find TBW's blond locks and bony ass celebrated by talk-show bookers and gossip columnists -- even a genuine book reviewer -- from coast to proverbial coast."
And by you too, Mr. LWMC. Stop. It would be better if you wrote about someone else.
Here I have to admit a suspicion -- maybe there is a secret deal going on here that goes something like this. You TBW -- you say the most outrageous things, and sell some books. Then I, Mr. Generic Media Critic will call you a terrible person, the worst kind of person, but admire or point out certain provocative things about you -- your hair, your legs, your skirts -- and then you will sell more books. But I, too, will sell books, lots of them, or get many people to read my column. And then I can go on shows and attack you. And you can go on shows and attack me back. Such a deal!
This obsession with TBW is a disease that knows no bounds. Look at Mr. N.Y. Times Media Critic Columnist (NYTMCC) who, during one of the last book hypes, went on a "date" with TBW at cool-sounding restaurant Bella Blu on the Eastside and then sat in Bryant Park the day after to talk about it. Mr. NY Times Media Critic Columnist wrote: "Hate moves units and TBW has the best-selling books to prove it."
Hey, are you interviewing David Duke these days? You wrote, "Startlingly thin and pretty." This is news? "Her book cover suggests she had the fat content of a can of Diet Coke." You continue: Her "beauty is not cuddly and accessible â€¦ her good looks are undoubtedly a part of the draw." Hmm, a potentially bad case.
Not to pick on the N.Y. Times guy, here is Mr. Salon Guy Critic: "Liberals see TBW as a Republican she-devil with skirts so short you can see her brains." Wow, how short is that? She's "definitely the last woman still carrying the torch for the long dead Red-baiter Joseph McCarthy." "Others view her as the blonde babe savior promised to the American right in the pages of fundamentalist scripture." Hmmm, Salon guy has a worse case than N.Y. Times guy. In his phone interview, he begins: "I'm looking at the gorgeous photo of you on the cover of your new book â€¦ Is there a difference between Republican beauty and Democratic beauty?"
Then there is Time magazine. By choosing TBW as one of the 100 most influential people in America in '05, and featuring her on its cover, with a very nice soft-hitting piece, Time shows just how far down the right-wing road it has gone. Of course Time assigned the story to a man, Mr. Time Magazine Writer (TMW) who dubbed TBW "iconic," because "she epitomizes the way politics is now discussed on the airways," while he excused her vitriolic hate speech as a put-on, or "from her heart."
Just in case, reader, you thought this TBW obsession was an American problem, here is Mr. British Media Observer (BMO) writing for the leftie Independent penning many thousands of words suggesting that there are actually liberals who "are gripped in fascinating awe, by her scorching invective." Never mind Americans, Mr BMO is in sick awe himself. He adds: "More satisfying for her than all the rest, she has succeeded in driving to fury U.S. liberals, the people she baits for sport." "They have shaken the thesaurus for damning soubriquets: Bitch Goddess, Conservative Fembot, Right Wing Telebimbo." Ah, what interesting marketing and branding.
Mr. BMO continues: "What her fans can't resist is the confidence, the political-correctness-be-damned certainty, the sheer balls of [TBW]. Even liberals can get swept along on the [TBW] wave: Instead of methodically taking her to task, point by forensic point, you find yourself gobsmacked into stunned silence by her brio. She's difficult to interrupt and, if you do, trickier still not to sound like an earnest killjoy, a slave to PC who just doesn't get the joke."
"She's also a hypocrite. She lambasts liberals for name-calling, even though barbs and insults are her idea of small talk. She condemns the liberal press for judging women by their looks, before announcing, 'I don't think I've ever encountered an attractive liberal woman in my entire life.' She slates the liberal media, dismembering its flagship TV shows as citadels of Bolshevik bias -- and then accepts their invitations to promote herself on their airwaves. One of [TBW's] books refers to former NBC's breakfast anchor Katie Couric, known to everyone else as America's sweetheart, as the 'affable Eva Braun of morning TV.' Couric had her on the show, anyway, and the two women inevitably clashed. [TBW] enjoyed it: 'Everyone loves a catfight.'"
So the progressive critic might ask, What's the problem? We are exposing this woman and her crazy ideas. I will tell you what the problem is. The content of her books and the utterances that, you argue, call for your attention are based on a collection of bunk ideas, wild verbal nonsense and disgusting ethnic and gender insults. None of you believe any of it. If these remarks were uttered by virtually anyone else, you wouldn't give the ideas or the speaker or writer the time of day. Are you trying to get interviews with the Fat Right-Wing Loud Mouth who is addicted to Pain Killers (FRWLAPK) or the Bald Right-Wing Internet Guy with the Fedora? (BRIGWF). No. They say some nasty things, and there are plenty of other wingnuts out there, if saving the world from bad utterances is the goal.
And Mr. Salon Critic adds: "[TBW] dishes out a fresh book full of hypocrisy, distortion, and half crazed rants. â€¦ Can't conservatives find a better champion than this?" Well, why should they? With addicts like you giving her all this attention, she's the best thing right-wingers have going. You suggest that if there were liberal TBWs, "you would give them the same kind of attention," but as you say: "There just aren't any on the left."
You may have a point there. Our side, the side of goodness and light, not oil, global domination, racism and right-wing nuts, may not exactly have very many TBWSSWBMs. It's true that Gloria, while a hot 70, is past her prime. And yes, Molly, is not exactly right, she's too funny and cuddly. And Barbara, well I agree, she's a little earnest. After all, she was willing to wash dishes and do dirty laundry to show the world how hard it is to survive on minimum wage and get no respect -- but hell, she was on the bestseller list for a very long time. There is Katrina, who is known to wear a short skirt from time to time and talk intelligently on television. How many of you have interviewed her lately? Maybe it isn't just the short skirt that does the trick -- maybe it is the short skirt attacking liberals that creates the addiction?
Media-Makers, you need a 12-step program, some tough love, an intervention, a confrontation. You know that to interview this woman or otherwise lavish attention on her is wrong. It goes against your true values as humanistic people hoping for a better society. I do believe that you, as writer, journalist, interviewer, value reporting on issues of importance, talent, quality or recognized intellectual accomplishment.
I know what you are going to say -- that you go out of your way to say how off the wall she is; how her facts often don't add up; how she is provocative for the sake of attracting attention, so you are really not getting sucked in by her. Right? Wrong. You know as well as I do how media works. She frames the issue, and you have to respond or just report. You attack her and, you reinforce what she says, making wacky people happy, and selling her hundreds of thousands of books -- each and every one of you. It's time to stop.
Let's face it. Many men, myself included, have been tempted by tall blonde women in short skirts, and maybe we even failed once or twice to exercise completely proper judgment. But, and this is important, we have been able to draw the line. No getting sucked in by conservative women yearning for a return to McCarthyism. You guys have crossed the line. If your brain is going to go to mush, at least have it melt over a woman with good values who cares about kids, feeding hungry people or at least likes abstract art.
Guys -- including many, many men not referred to in this article -- there will be a 12-step program on fighting addiction to TBWSSBM starting soon. I expect to see you there.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.