September 23, 2003
Bill O'Reilly's Crack-up on Parade!
enjoyed watching Bill O'Reilly being handed his ass in a hat
over the past few months by Al Franken, find this week's Parade magazine
in your local paper. It's downright disturbed -- like Norman Bates
1. Before the text starts, a childhood photo is shown with the odd caption "Bill O'Reilly grew up in Levittown, N.Y." He repeats the claim of growing up in Levittown in the article. This Levittown claim is Franken's first example that O'Reilly lies about his background. O'Reilly has already capitulated the point to Franken by admitting he grew up in Westbury, and has changed his website to say he grew up in "working class Long Island." Starting the article with this caption is throwing down some kind of gauntlet, but to whom and why?
2. The photo above the caption is spooky. His mother is centered with a perfect smile, and little Bill is in front, clear and happy. Meanwhile, poor dad is blocked by little Bill's head, his mouth is expressionless, and the flash glare in his glasses takes out his eyes. Father issues, anyone?
3. Two other pictures are on the facing page, one of little Bill's little league team and the other of Bill with a group of men in Hawaii. The caption by the little Bill baseball photo reads "I've spent a lifetime assembling friends who will look out for me." So one would think the men below are the baseball team reassembled to look after Bill. But wait: it turns out that as far as we know, Bill never spoke to any of his little league team again. About the men in Hawaii, the caption reads "John Blasi (fourth from left) has been a friend from the first grade." One can reasonably conclude that the other seven men in the photo were not friends from the first grade. Probably not the baseball team. Who are these guys? Several have their arms around each others and all look happy and loose. Except Bill, who looks grim, formal, and is far in the background, alone, almost as though he were caught by the camera while walking by. How sad.
4. In the article, O'Reilly writes "Cultivating and nurturing good friends is not easy. Every two years, I put together a trip for a bunch of my male friends. Some people are amazed I can get a couple of dozen guys to show up in a place like Hawaii for a few laughs and a little hell-raising. But these are people who know the value of friendship." The photo of Hawaii is dated 1999. There are eight men in the picture. Why not show a photo from 2001 or 2003? And does Bill "put together a trip" by paying for all his good buds? Hell, I'll go. And does he really consider getting together once every two years cultivating a good friendship? To sum up all these questions -- why should your one piece of evidence that you have friends raise so many questions?
5. The article is mostly about how awful people are: "weasels," "pond-scum," "selfish jerks," "the worst person this side of Saddam Hussein."
6. O'Reilly includes a sidecap listing "ten rules of effective parenting." Here's the thing. I can find no evidence Mr. O'Reilly has kids, or a wife. I've found several charity event announcements and he always attends alone. He clearly defines his relationship with John Blasi (friend since the first grade) in both the photo caption and text. You would think he might mention the source of his parental knowledge. Or the woman who is forced to deal with him on a full-time basis. He calls himself "a family man" on his website bio, but says nothing about specifics i.e. whether he has a specific family or just in favor of families in general. Does O'Reilly believe he has a wife and kids in Levittown, where he grew up?
7. Quote: "Many 'therapists' are looking out for your checkbook, not you. So let's disperse[sic] with the psychobabble." From this we can assume he will not be seeking professional help anytime soon, which means he may be that much closer to an involuntary commitment.
The theme of betrayal, coupled with the obsession with "despicable people," "selfish, manipulative people," "untrustworthy people," mixed with the odd assertions that he is from Levittown (not true) and has friends (questionable from this article), leads me to think that Al Franken has inadvertently managed to drive O'Reilly out of his mind.
I say inadvertently as it is my impression that Mr. Franken means no harm to anyone. Except Anne Coulter, but who doesn't want to see her head on a stick? In any event, we could see a big splotchy crack-up on national television at least as dire as Michael Savage's in the next couple of weeks.
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