Daily Archives: January 9, 2003

Low Blow

“Michael Moore has a problem: Nobody wants to put him on television. “I’ve been on a total of two network shows in nine months,” the lefty filmmaker and author recently told The New York Times. “What’s going on with that?”

It’s a fair question.”

says Richard Blow identified by Tom Paine.com as the author of American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr. in an article entitled “Moore v. Coulter: Why Aren’t More Liberals On Television?”

And that of course means that Moore’s “fair question” is going to get an utterly dismisive response.

“After all, Moore’s book, Stupid White Men, has spent months on bestseller lists. His film Bowling for Columbine, “is the most explicitly political film in recent memory.”

Indicating only that Blow doesn’t get out to the movies very often, as Far From Heaven, Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Cockettes, The Quiet American, Rabbit Proof Fence, Igby Goes Down, and Barbershop are every bit as political as Bowling For Columbine , if not in some aspects more so.

“Its concluding interview with Charlton Heston reduced one of America’s leading gun fanatics to a state of embarrassing, self-incriminating incoherence — and not, as his apologists insist, because Heston has Alzheimer’s.”

And as dramatic as that concluding interview is, it’s impact is dwarfed by a montage sequence early in the film in which Moore details the enormous amounts of money the U.S. government has given to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin in the very recent past.

“Moore’s TV shutout is especially bizarre when you consider that author Ann Coulter, who’s about as conservative as Moore is liberal and also has had a recent bestselling book,”

It’s “bestseller” status neatly achieved by the high-powerd right-wing operatives who made Coulter a star, “bulk-buying” a book few ordinary Americans have any desire to read.

“is so telebiquitous she might as well have her own channel.”

An oversight sure to be corrected in the very near future — particularly if Bill Maher’s new HBO show featuring Coulter doesn’t pan out.

“And even more bizarre when you consider the fact that Democrats desperately need to counter the conservative dominance of TV and radio.”

Though most politically astute Americans would say that what the Democrats most desperately need is a party with a clue.

“As the Times reported the same day, “Democrats are scouring the nation for a liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh.” Why isn’t it Michael Moore? And why are there so few liberals on television?”

Blow asks — and then provides the answer —

“Ann Coulter gets on TV because she rules the medium; she’s poised, articulate and throws soundbites like spears. She’s also good-looking, which TV viewers (and, consequently, producers) love. And she’s provocative.”

He’s right about the spears. And the “ruling.” But there’s nothing provocative about so calculating a creature. She’s a circus sideshow act. A political version of the geek who bites the heads off of live chickens. However Ozzie Ozbourne, who used to chew off the heads of live bats, has in recent times morphed into an embodiment of paternal compassion.

Not in Coulter’s league, needless to say.

“Back when I was executive editor of George magazine I hired Coulter to write a monthly column for just these reasons. Our readers — especially the liberal ones — couldn’t get enough of her. Ann was the columnist liberals loved to read because she was the persona they loved to hate.

Every month we’d get sacks of mail from sincere, earnest liberals who were appalled that we’d print the words of “that woman.” Not a few of those readers spewed venom about Ann’s appearance, as if her good looks added insult to injury. Plus, Ann could get on TV with the chyron, “Columnist, George magazine” next to her name.”

Being a gay man, perhaps I shouldn’t be one to comment on the “good looks” claim.

Oh what the hell, she’s an ugly skank.

“When you’re trying to get people to read about politics, and you’re competing with magazines that feature sexier stuff, like movie stars and home furnishings, every little bit helps.”

And when you’re a masochist like Blow, no Dominatrix can be too severe. One wonders then why, considering her popularity, “George” is no more.

Perhaps Blow’s core audience was confused. He should have called the publication Ann. Surely that would have kept it afloat in the wake of death of its founder JFK, Jr.

Though his accidental death doubtless displeased Couler who prefers to see Liberal summarily executed.

“Now, Michael Moore isn’t ugly. In fact, he has a kindly, everyman face (which can belie a sometimes cruel nature).”

In other words “he’s ugly as hell, but I’m going to curry favor with you by not saying so outright.”

“He’s also funny and smart. But the sloppily-dressed, huffing and puffing Moore isn’t exactly ready for TV. If Michael Moore looked like Michael Beschloss, you’d see him on TV more. But not, I think, much more.”

Really? Roseanne was on for years. Drew Carey’s a star, and so is his leading cast member, the ostentatiously rotund Kathy Kinney

“The real reason that Moore doesn’t get on television is because Moore isn’t just a liberal. By today’s standards, he’s a radical.”

Aha! Now we’re getting down to brass tacks.

“Moore attacks the power of big corporations, including General Motors, Nike, and Wal-Mart. No, he doesn’t just attack them; he embarrasses them. And that makes people in television uneasy.”

At last — someone truly “Politically Incorrect.” But wouldn’t that be a plus?

“Ann Coulter is a Republican; she’s okay with big corporations. (She just thinks they shouldn’t be liberal.)”

And which of them, praytell, are? Can’t think of a one myself.

“But TV producers never know if Michael Moore will go off the reservation and start talking about, say, how NBC-owner General Electric polluted New York’s Hudson River. (The same phenomenon applies to Ralph Nader.) And so they don’t give him the chance. The irony is, if they did, and he did, it’d make great TV.”

The “reservation” metaphor is most telling. It’s the word reactionaries toss around when speaking of those African-Americans who’ve been encouraged to switch affiliations — the Democrats being the “reservation” that holds them back from the freedom they’re certain to enjoy in the party of Trent Lott.

“Why have conservatives have to dominate the punditocracy? That’s a larger discussion that I’ll devote several upcoming columns to.”

Can’t you tell how much I’m looking forward to them?

“But let’s start with this one lesson: Political discussion on television operates within very narrow parameters. Partisanship is fine. Attacking the very nature of capitalist America, as far-left social critics are wont to do, is not. And that gives the conservatives an advantage before anyone’s even opened their mouths.”

In other words the “parameters” of political discourse in this country are exceedingly narrow, and anyone who deigns to advance genuine critical analysis is destined to be censored. While those who call for anyone who isn’t on the Right to be killed is to be lauded.

Particularly by the likes of Blow, who’s clearly about as “liberal” as Ron Rosenbaum and Christopher Hitchens.

One awaits Blow’s next “exhalation” with weary amusement.