Thursday, May 04, 2006

MSM's Reluctant Epiphany-- Stephen Colbert is HOT!!!

See update from comments at Political Physics at the end of this post.

Okay, let's put aside all discussion of: comedic theory and whether self-deprecating humor is more evolved than its ancient ancestors of irony and satire (not!); whether Colbert was playing to the room or to those of us in cable-land and cyber-space; the sycophantic & disgusting chumminess of the WH and its Press Corps; what it means to go over the line & who gets to decide where the line is drawn. Ultimately, those issues are not what this very hot debate is really about.

Sure, we all have our opinions on these topics, and, as the President pretends to feel, reasonable people can disagree. My own opinion, one with which he would likely disagree, is that the powerful often lose their sense of humor along the way to the top... most likely because no one likes to be laughed at for being considered pompous, whether true or not. (How many Republicans do you know who actually have a decent sense of humor? Few enough to count on one hand?)

The real reason that the WH and its Press Corps, and, by extension, the cable news guys, the less-than-moderate members of the GOP, the ReligiousRighteous-- that whole unlikely cabal of electoral votes-- are so threatened by Stephen Colbert, is because they know, even if only subconsciously, that there are a lot of us women who find him incredibly appealing. In fact, we think he's damn hot!

Is it his boyish charm, or his incredibly expressive eyebrows, or his ability to maintain focus, or his lean build? Or, maybe it's that twinkle in his eye, or the wry grin? Sure, he's got all that and more, including being incredibly smart, which is another big turn-on for many women. But, it's really because the man is an honest-to-goodness testosterone unit like we haven't seen in years-- and especially not in journalism-- that we are all so enamored of him.

Name just one man in the MSM-- just one other man-- who could have, and would have, stood there on that dais for 20 minutes, and kept both his charm and persona intact, while within reach of the President, an often testy man, who is considered to be in pretty good shape for his age, not to mention all of those Secret Service guys standing by who have no compunction against removing vegetarians and Quakers from the Republicans' no-longer-open-to-Americans, pre-screened political events. [tick tock, tick tock] I can't think of many, either, although I'm betting that Kurt Vonnegut and Lewis Lapham and Bill Moyers and Garrison Keillor might have been up to creating their own versions of such a spectacle. But, among the usual suspects, the ones we so affectionately refer to as the MSM, I'm drawing a complete and total blank.

The other team prefers to make light of Colbert's nerve, insisting that we do, after all, live in a society where one is free to speak one's mind. Tell that to Cindy Sheehan, who was removed from the SOTU speech for not complying with the federal T-shirt code, or to the Colorado Three, who were removed from a Republicans-only, but tax-payer-funded, event in Denver, not for anything they said, but on the basis of their car's bumper stickers. Tell that to the Quakers and other anti-war and peace groups who have been monitored by the Feds. (It's all so secret, I'm not even sure which agency.) Tell that to Moyers, whose outstanding public affairs program, NOW's, very existence was threatened by a Bush appointee-mole because of Moyers' own truth-telling, prompting him to retire from the show prematurely, in order to prevent it from becoming a conservative lightning rod.

Of course, there have also been a few generals, and a senator or congressman here or there who have spoken the Truth and suffered its Consequences (the Republicans' talking point denials not withstanding). All the more reason to be impressed by Colbert, for having witnessed their firings and ostracisms, and being marginalized by the MSM, and still being man enough to stand up there alone, under the lights and the President's glare. The other men I've mentioned, as appealing as they may be, because they are just enough older than we are, just the tiniest bit, might elicit a response from us more appropriate to an uncle or a father. Besides, none of them are in the MSM. Even Moyers, who has spent most of his adult life in both broadcasting & journalism, cannot properly be called a member of the MSM.

It is more than ironic that a woman of a certain age, one who is past the age of caring only about a pretty face, and yearns, instead, to see a real man in the Public Square-- slaying the dragons that threaten our Constitution and our way of life-- it is ironic that she must turn not to athletes, elected officials or those who jealously guard the power they wield in their fiefdoms-- and wallets-- but must look instead to the Arts, to find a Real Man. It is surreal. A man who merely pretends on TV to be a Republican sycophant appears to us as more manly than his intended targets of irony.

I can forsee Lyssa Strada instituting an annual post on our own version of the sexiest men in public life, timed each year to coincide with the aftermath of the WHCA Dinner (if it survives) . In the spirit of this occasion, I would like to nominate Vonnegut, Lapham, Moyers and Keillor, as well as the inimitable Colbert. They are all Real Men.

Any other nominations?

UPDATE! UPDATE! Laughingcat, who also posts here, nominated a few more candidates at Political Physics...

I nominate Joe Wilson and Ray McGovern

For facing up to the dirty power players and still maintaining their integrity, and the integrity of all men (and women) in the "intelligence community," an oxymoron if ever there was one. For Joe and Val to sit at the dinner, laughing and applauding Colbert, knowing that Rove was also in the room? I'd have been shooting daggers of ill will Rove's way. Joe and Val are a class act if ever there was one. And Ray taking on Rummy in a public forum is bold, strong, and noble. These are real men, unlike the pinhead meanspirited vermin in charge. (And I know I'm beginning to sound like the Captain in the Tintin series in my invectives!)

"If not here, where? If not now, when?"

[This piece is cross-posted at Political Physics]


Anonymous AuntyAlias said...

Wonderful post. I agree that Colbert's courage is very sexy and I'm a boomber granny.

9:25 PM  
Blogger samcandide said...

The mind is the largest erogenous zone...

(The comeback: On you maybe...)

10:48 PM  
Blogger Tiresias said...

My nominee isn't very hot because he's dead, but he still ranks up there for courage: Edward R. Murrow.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

Just because he's dead, doesn't mean Murrow is no longer relevant. In fact, I'm hoping that he and perhaps some other luminaries might put in an appearance here.

Thanks, Aunty A.

And Sam, how will that be portrayed in your dream image project?

9:08 AM  

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