Hey, people. Apologies for the absence. A couple things are going on, one affected by the other. A few weeks ago I decided to try to streamline the content here so we can give you even stronger, kick ass quality. I have plans to gather the team and contributors to really knuckle down and spruce things up. In the meantime, my grandpa died. So, where I planned to start tweaking and ferreting around, this time has turned into a reflective, quiet pocket.
I’m still out here, just thinking about things, waiting, giving myself space. I wanted to give viewers and followers a heads up because your support and interest is valuable to me, we’re all in this wacky life together, and you’re owed an update.
“It was a joke.” That’s his excuse. During a recent episode of Fox & Friends, Bill O’Reilly, the infamous conservative talking head, made a poorly placed comment on the hairstyle of Maxine Waters, a Democratic representative. A recording of her giving a speech against Donald Trump played on screen while O’Reilly reacted live. Instead of keeping his commentary professional, he decided to let everyone know he hadn’t actually been paying attention because he was distracted by Maxine’s “James Brown wig.” (There’s also a point to be made about black hair and all that AND men diminishing women in general when they say something at our expense and think we’re all going to have a laugh about it, BUT I’ll save that for another time. Dude’s just gone and thrown all his rods in the fire. He stays busy.)
In all honesty, if someone like Dave Chappelle had made that joke, I would have laughed. But even then, Chapelle would have used it to make a larger point about black and American culture. Bill O’Reilly isn’t a comedian, and he doesn’t illustrate any informational points about American culture, except a glaring one: if you talk sense to a fool, he will call you foolish.
O’Reilly’s apology (and the rest of it he could find in himself to bother with) was nothing more than that age-old shoulder shrug that takes the responsibility off the speaker and makes the butt of the joke seem like they’re over-reacting. We’ve all heard it and have even said it. “It was just a joke!” Sometimes it is. But what makes the difference, I feel, is not just an apology, but changed behavior. To show it’s been understood that no offense was meant and to restore respect. We can’t yet see if this is what O’Reilly will do with Maxine, but we can gather enough information from his past to assume that he’s not sorry, and when he said it was just a joke, that’s all he expects to have to say.
On Smash Up, I try to keep the focus away from the gratuitous nature of our current political and social climate. I don’t see it as doing any good to always be up in arms about who said what now or what so-and-so did. People will always be up to something. Kamala Harris said, “I think too many people get distracted from the task at hand with visions of wonder about their future, and it’s misguided and a bad use of current time.” Instead of fixating on a dream of how things could be, get your feet moving toward that vision.
But I decided to go ahead with this one, because O’Reilly and others like him are, to me, the machinery that keeps patriarchy and prejudice running. The words he chooses or doesn’t choose–his exaggerations, lying, and excuses are the grease that keeps us ill at ease. He’s given himself over to the fame that comes from being a shock jock. However you feel about O’Reilly, you can’t deny he’s a prominent public figure; he didn’t get that way by twiddling his thumbs while everyone else was saying, “Gee, that O’Reilly guy might be interesting…”
In his book, “The O’Reilly Factor,” he shirks personal responsibility because he’s just “telling the truth.” He writes, “The reader might be wondering whether I’m conservative, liberal, libertarian, or exactly what […] See, I don’t want to fit any of those labels, because I believe that the truth doesn’t have labels. When I see corruption, I try to expose it. When I see exploitation, I try to fight it. That’s my political position.” Even if he does hang up his coat at the end of each night and sigh, “When is the world gonna get it?” He still chooses to wake up every day and continue the side show. He’s active in his own image. So, with that in mind, I decided to do some digging into how he got to this place. My hope is that with this knowledge, we can be less distracted by the juggling and fire blowing.
(And he and I have the same birthday, which just insults the name of good Virgos everywhere. At least Beyonce is also a Virgo too, so she compensates for all our wrongs.)