Yes, We Know, Rosie is Not Size 2. Move On.
Huffington Post media columnist Rachel Sklar analyzes what she views as FoxNew's anti-fat prejudice today, citing the Hannity & Colmes segment I appeared on last Friday as an example. Although I agree with most of Rachel's interpretation, I wouldn't say it's so much anti-fat prejudice as a disproportionate and inappropriate focus on women's looks, which seems to get in the way of a rational discussion about the substance of their opinions.
In other words, if we want to debate whether Rosie insinuated the troops were terrorists, fine. But the idea that it's somehow valid to endlessly denigrate her physical appearance is just so ridiculously and gratuitously beside the point, it should go without saying. Except that in every single public debate about Rosie of which I've been a part - and there have been many - her detractors have brought up her body, face, or sexuality (which is equally irrelevant!)
Witness the following abridged transcript from the show last Friday:
Hannity & Colmes, Friday, May 25, 2007Might I add that Curtis isn't exactly svelte himself and, to top it off, was wearing a red beret to disguise his bald head?
Hannity: If we referred to America as a terrorist nation - if we called our troops terrorists - and she did say it - if we talk about our president as being a dictator ought to be tried at the Hague - these irresponsible comments were accepted by ABC - why does she get a pass, because she's a liberal?
Julia: You know, I don't actually think she called the troops terrorists, but I don't think that's really about this, this is really about ...
Hannity: Excuse me, I'll read you the quote "655,000 Iraqi civilians have died, who are the terrorists?"
Julia: Listen, I absolutely understand what you're saying, but as far as ABC is concerned this is really about the money, it's about the ratings, they're not concerned about the political viewpoints.
Colmes: By the way, Julia, ABC has denied that the dressing room was trashed. That was in the Post, it was reported, but it's been denied. So we don't know whether it happened or not.
Julia: But we do know that they drew mustaches on Elisabeth Hasselbeck's photos. That's third grade behavior!
Colmes: But that was not Rosie. Here's the deal, Ellis, on this show we talk a lot about Imus and Opie & Anthony and defending their right to say things that are over the top. We should also defend Rosie O'Donnell's right to say things that we agree or disagree with - it doesn't matter whether we agree with her or not - this is not about agreeing with Rosie ... It's about the right to say what is a point of view - extreme though it might be - that you can still say it and not be criticized or ridiculed for saying that point of view.
Ellis Henican: And most of us who are in the business of providing provocative and engaging opinions understand that that's something precious we really need to defend. The fascinating thing with Rosie is she's brilliant at getting under the skin of people that she disagrees - she angers Curtis and she angers Sean. Why does she rattle you guys so much, that's what I want to know?
Julia: Absolutely! Why do you care?
Ellis (to Curtis Silwa): Who cares!? Who cares what she says!? She got under your skin! She rattles you!
Curtis Sliwa: The blob has her own blog!! If you're a sycophantian lackey of Rosie O'Donnell, you can see her at home stuffing the cookies in her face, the blob working her blog!! (mimes stuffing cookies in his mouth)
Julia: But once again, you're making ad-hominen attacks! Why go and insult her attractiveness? That's absolutely unacceptable. If you want to insult her viewpoints, do that, but why go for her attractiveness?
Colmes: Good for you! Good for you, Julia!
Curtis: Excuse me, the fact that I'm watching her attack my President and my country, and she looks like Linda Blair in the Exorcist with her head ready to explode!
Julia: But this has NOTHING to do with what she looks like! You said earlier that it ultimately came down to the fact that Elizabeth is cute and Rosie isn't. But if you had two men in an argument, at what time would you ever hear them say "Oh, you know, this fight is really about their relative attractiveness." You would never, ever, ever hear anyone say that!
Curtis: Elisabeth Hasselback is the only person on that hencluck show called The View who has any decent basic values about America.
Colmes: I think Julia is exactly right. You don't like the way she looks and that should not be fair game! Julia, you're exactly right.
Ellis: It's anti-fat prejudice maybe!
Julia: It's just unacceptable to draw her personal appearance into any of these arguments and we've time and time again gone back to the fact that she's supposedly a "fat lesbian." That's just irrelevant!
Curtis: I didn't say that, you said that! I said "the blob has her own blog!"
Ah, the irony.