Thursday, October 05, 2006

Smokescreening privilege

Slate published this lovely indictment of why we all seem to dislike Bill O'Reilly so much. I never could quite put my finger on it. The article is actually quite old (2001), written as a review of O'Reilly's then-new book.

Best (weirdest) passage:
Yet O'Reilly, like many other people, clings to the fantasy that he is a stiff among the swells. He plays this chord repeatedly in the book, a potpourri of anecdotes and opinions about life in general and his in particular. He had a very strange experience as a graduate student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (which let the likes of Bill O'Reilly through its ivy-covered gates, he is careful to note, "in an effort to bring all sorts of people together"). Other Kennedy School students, he says, insisted on being called by three names, none of which could be "Vinny, Stevie, or Serge." Their "clothing was understated but top quality … and their rooms hinted of exotic vacations and sprawling family property. Winter Skiing in Grindelwald? No problem." They tried to be nice, but Bill was nevertheless humiliated, in a Thai restaurant, to be "the only one who didn't know how to order my meal in Thai."

The Slate article is hilarious. Please read it. It's not just about Bill O'Reilly, though - let's remember this critique about anyone who cannot handle their own privilege, and so prefers to create a smokescreen of poverty and powerlessness. What an insult to those whose marginalization is much thicker than mere smoke.

To face one's privilege is to accept responsibility for using it to further justice. So what is O'Reilly's smokescreen (and that of almost every politician today) really for? Just a question.

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."

- Karl Marx Jesus Christ (Luke 12:48)

1 comment:

srcastic said...

I saw this too, and loved it. O'Reilly is so full of BS - it is just a sad commentary on society that so many idolize him.