The New News
The thing I love about Fox is that they’re not afraid to shit on your face and tell you “we are taking a shit on your face.” I get over 100 channels, nearly all of which are attempts to shit on my face 24 hours a day, always disguised as something noble or serious, like on CNN. But when Fox produces shows like “When Dog Pound Gassings Go Wrong” there’s no mistake about what’s going on. Watching the ad for the shows, any rational being can see the question being posed: “hows abouts we take a shit on your face?” And even the best of us occasionally break down and respond by saying “ok, let it fly.”
So that’s what happened when I watched “The Pulse,” a news magazine show with the aesthetic of “Piper’s Pit.” Hey, I was in Salt Lake City with no time to ski. What else was I going to do? I just laid on my back and watched the Fox squat. The show is hosted by Fox’s news dude, Shepard Smith who’s like a cross between Maury Povich and, uh, Maury Povich. The first feature was an investigative report that looked to have been produced by someone with no idea that “The Daily Show” is satire. The newsgirl was interviewing a guy about the local Dominoes skimping on toppings or something and the camera would periodically cut back to her so she could give phony reaction shots in which she would do everything short of mouthing the word “shocking!” It was so much like “The Daily Show” that I kept laughing as though it were “The Daily Show.”
The next expose actually outdid the first. It was about a Thai form of speed dubbed, “The Crazy Drug!” My God I wish I had made that up. The drug is a more potent form of meth and it makes Thai people take babies hostage at knife point and it’s coming to America and you’re kids are going to use it and join the Manson family. This segment actually reminded me of a “Simpsons” episode rather than “The Daily Show.” Specifically, it reminded me of the McBain movie in which the villain has invented a new drug called spank, “twice as addictive as marijuana!” Then McBain breaks out of an ice sculpture and says “Ice to see you” before blowing everyone away, except for the villain who offers him a Salmon puff that shoots knock out gas into his face. Anyway, the mentality being ridiculed on “The Simpsons” is the same one being reveled in on “The Pulse.” By this point, I realized that, although I’d probably never watch it again, “The Pulse” is way funnier than the average sitcom . Also, do you remember the one with the museum of crime? And those hippies were eating a “California cheeseburger?” That was funny the same kind of thing.
The big selling point of this episode was a clash between Jenna Jamison and Fox’s windbag-in-chief: Bill O’Reilly. One of the good observations in Stupid White Men was that Clinton realized that we live in an era where there is no effective difference between saying something and doing it. Clinton would talk about protecting the environment, for example, without doing a damn thing, but most people were satisfied because they accept everything fed them. O’Reilly talks about how he is a master of critical thinking and uses the word “fallacy” a lot, so his viewers think he is logician and that they are smart for watching his shows and reading his books. But then O’Reilly says things like this gem delivered to Jenna: “Suppose a young girl looks at your site and decides that it’s cool and goes out and has sex with three guys at once.” Jenna laughed, which was the right thing to do, but she cut the laugh short and tried to address Bill seriously. Jenna, honey-chil’, you should have just let it go. You should have just laughed your fucking ass off. You should have pointed and that dumb motherfucker while you threw your head back and howled with the rest of us. Then you should have said, “well, hopefully at least one of them would know how to get her off.”
Of course, the whole thing was just an opportunity for Christian dads to ogle Jenna while simultaneously funneling frustration with their ugly wives and teeny weenies through Bill’s indignation. It was a nice snapshot of the mentality of the American social conservative.
Also, Bill O’Reilly tries to act tough, but he’s a pussy. He kept saying things like “people think that you’re a slut” instead of just coming right out and calling Jenna a slut himself. I don’t know, maybe it was a shimmer of compassion and decency. He never really went in for the Dr. Laura style kill – insulting and attempting to humiliate someone on national airwaves in the name of morality. But why go half way? Either do the Dr. Laura thing or conduct yourself like a human being.
That is all.