Bill O’Reilly and Dostoevsky
I know Bill O’Reilly is done at Fox News. As a moderate, I enjoyed O’Reilly’s bold, fresh, albeit old-fashioned stance. He is anti-capital punishment, as I am. This is certainly an alienating decision with my brothers and sisters on the Right. (Side bar: do me a favor and watch “The Chamber” when you get a chance. It won’t change either position. It’s just a damn good book and a darn good movie.) He is an anti-abortion advocate, which certainly is an alienating stance to my brothers and sisters on the Left.
Examine: He was firm but fair to President Obama and loved the First Lady Michelle Obama (but who could not love her?). He disagreed with some of President O’s policies, but I watched him sit with Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West (love him to the Nth degree — who called him “Brother Bill”; I know, the kind Dr. West calls everybody brother or sister…but, wait! No, he doesn’t…), and the three hashed out some very difficult issues in the black community that are certainly not discussed on MSNBC, CNN, or on any other Fox show.
O’Reilly wasn’t/isn’t afraid to bring up the issues that no one wants to address. For this, I liked the show. Other than Tucker Carlson, who is a stalwart, no matter what your political aisle, I will have to pass on the rest of Fox News, unless the centrist Geraldo Rivera gets another show, my fave, the ever cantankerous Alan Colmes having lost his fight with cancer. I do like The Five, I must confess, but it changed after Bob Beckel had his back surgery. No one can run that table against the beautiful and smart Kimberly Guilfoyle, the witty Greg Gutfeld, et al., like the pre-surgery Bob Beckel. Occasionally, he hammers a point with pensive power and accuracy. But mostly, he is sadly sedate, obviously in still pain and on meds, and thus faded into the multi-colored but boring political tapestry of a 1970s couch.
I read comments from my brothers and sisters from the Left regarding Bill O’Reilly’s cancelation. They were, for the most part, just what I expected them to be. An adversary has fallen and we are glad. I always felt like Bill O’Reilly was never really given a fair shake from my buds on the Left. I would say, “He’s an advocate against Capital Punishment.” I would get, “Naw.” :No way.” “Who told you that?” Uh, he did. Many times. My friends on the Right would say, “Really? Yeah. It’s that New Yorker thing. Even the conservatives are liberals.” He was never a poster child for the Right, as many on the Left thought he was: the reason I felt him necessary, though I did at times find him even too arrogant for me.
He was called a racist. This was discounted by Tavis Smiley, whose opinion I greatly respect. Mark Levine, the Conservative icon did not like him at all, and was not shy about his opinion.
So, neither the Left nor the Right really championed Mr. O’Reilly. But the Folks did/do. Nary a person in the entire USA does NOT know who he is at least, and nearly everyone has a set opinion of him as well.
Regarding the allegations against him: I will have to say, as difficult as it is for me to say it, that I stand by the Murdocks’ decision to can his show.
He read my letters twice over the years on his show, and I will have to say that it made my day watching Mr. Pithy smile his wry Irish smile to this wry Irish Virginian hunkered down in Baja California obscurity. But when I read all the allegations against him, and the times that many were whisked away into Settlementtown, the sage of Levittown saddened me more than I can say.
Sure, we can all banter about icons from the Left and Right who have treated women disgracefully and gotten away with it scott free (President John F. Kennedy, President William J. Clinton — a favorite of mine, and a list of many other offenders from both sides). But O’Reilly was “about the folks”. I truly believed that. But delving just a hair into his phone calls to subordinate women makes me want to puke or cry or both. All alleged, I get it. But how many quacks does it take to make a preponderance of evidence that said quacker is a duck? Hell, I don’t know, but maybe Mr. Cosby has an idea.
I make mistakes myself and have not lived a perfect life. And sometimes “mistakes” are not mistakes, but sins and even crimes. No question about it. But I don’t represent “the folks”. I can’t hold that banner. I know what representing the folks is all about, having grown up as an honorable pastor’s son. Therefore, as coy as it sounds, I cannot be a hypocrite. I would much rather settle on being a bane. I can live with bane. Hypocrite, not so much. And as hard as I tried, I’ll bet anything that I could never greet the Pope from the “VIP line”. The “VIP Line”? I never knew there was such a thing. But what do I know? I’m just one of the folks…
I feel like a buffoon. I have probably been one for some time, but tonight I really feel like a buffoon. It has been said of Generation X, my generation, that we were the first ones to truly lose all our heroes. And as far as I know, it’s true. As the internet was invented, it shed light on the reality that all are fallible. Indeed. E tu, O’Reilly. One of the “folks” just turned off your reruns and settled back to where I was before all this shit from the Left and the Right hit the proverbial fan turned on thrash…I just picked up my copy of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and wiped off the dust and opened to the book mark yellowed with age. I began reading the book again. Not as voraciously as before. But reading just the same. And as the tv flickered in the other room like a dying, red light whore, I wondered why I ever put it down in the first place…