Sunday, March 02, 2014

TV: Another idiot for the idiot box

If there's anything worse than being a talk show host on the chronically low rated MSNBC, it has to be being the lowest rated talk show host on MSNBC.  Ronan Farrow, as Lisa De Moraes (Deadline) noted, became just that last week.

Well at least he became something at last.

It's been such a struggle for him.


Not long ago we pointed out that Chaz Bono should never have been made the spokesperson for gay America.  GLAAD made then-Chastity their spokesperson shortly after The National Enquirer outed her as a lesbian.  In her role as Gay America Spokesperson, she informed the world that Mel Gibson was not homophobic because he'd always been kind to her.

Yes, but to those gay men and women whose mothers were not international stars so famous they're known by one name only (Cher), might Mel not be so nice to those?

More importantly, Mel Gibson had no history of attacking lesbians.

He verbally attacked gay men.  Giving interviews about what anuses are for and, yes, Mel is an ass but he's not a self-aware one so he shouldn't speak to what anuses can and cannot do.  Gay men were the targets of homophobia in his films as well.

So Chastity didn't know what she was talking about.

As we noted, she also went on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to declare Ellen DeGeneres "too gay" for TV.  She did this as ABC was attempting to decide whether or not to renew the sitcom Ellen.  Chastity later lied and claimed she didn't mean to say that.  (Anne Heche didn't buy her lie and let her have it.  Good for Anne.)  Chastity did mean to say it, she'd said it to print reporters.

She was a man trapped in a woman's body.  Chaz is now free to be the man he wants to be and more power to him with that.

But we went over all of that back then to offer, "So maybe children of stars should actually be required to accomplish something on their own in their own lives before they're treated as informed or experts?"

Ronan Farrow's debut on Ronan Farrow Daily makes that even more clear.

A gay man who can't be open?

That's the least of Ronan's problems.

He's gay and his mother doesn't want him to come out.  Remember, for all her decades of pretending to be a 'hippie,' it never got squarer than Mia Farrow.  This is the woman who, for example, is opposed to all abortions and used to have problems with birth control use until she was told she was coming off completely crazy and needed to pipe down.

Ronan sleeps with men.

This is not a secret.

It's nothing to be ashamed of.

He's been taught that it is.

That's probably the least damaging thing on this topic.

As a little boy, Ronan wanted to be a girl.

This alarmed Mia who put him into analysis.

And she was so happy with her little boy who no longer wanted to be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty and stopped crying to wear girl's clothing.

When you're told at a very young age that your urges are wrong?

You either reject that nonsense or you go through life afraid of making any real moves for fear that you'll embarrass yourself.

You can see the impact that childhood had on Ronan when he's in front of the camera.

He forever is about to have a moment of joy or passion before the cameras when, suddenly, it's as though Will Truman (Eric McCormack on Will & Grace) just whispered in his ear, "Take it down to the chest voice."

When you grasp that Mia (and an analyst) taught Ronan to act 'like a boy,' you grasp why he is start-stop and so conflicted on air.

It doesn't help that he's been billed repeatedly as super smart.

Ronan's not super smart in a way that helps a talk show host.

He has a level of intelligence, yes.

But he's always had problems relating to other people.

Emotional connections are a struggle.

Miriam Polar, that's all we'll say for now.

His trouble bonding and relating to people allowed him to excel at book smarts.

But when you're a TV talk show host, you really need interpersonal skills.

And when you lack them, it can be embarrassing.

Take, for example, what's going on in the Ukraine.  Wherever you stand on the issue (from CIA plot to everything else including Russian assault), you realize it's a serious issue.

But those who never developed social skills will embarrass themselves as Ronan did when he felt the need to gush  Yulia Tymoshenko "has amazing hair."

He was referring to the 53-year-old former prime minister who is often billed as "the leader of the opposition," not to a model doing a commercial for Herbal Essence shampoo.

Where do you go from there?

"Joining us now is German Chancellor Angela Merkel and, I must say, check out the rack on her!"?

His Tymoshenko moment was bad but the show went completely off the rails later in the week when do-nothing offspring was sort of the motif.  There was Ronan, famous for his parents (Mia Farrow, Woody Allen and maybe Frank Sinatra) interviewing the ridiculous failure that is Cecile Richards (the weak leader of Planned Parenthood).

Ronan didn't have a clue about  Cecile's mother Ann Richards, though he pretended to.  Cecile was also ignorant.

Or maybe she just can't stop lying?

Cecile was insisting that there was a similar charge in Texas, charge of excitement, like with her mother, around Wendy Davis -- the woman who found fame as a strong proponent of abortion but now that she's running for governor has walked that back.

Ann Richards never would have walked back her stance on reproductive rights and to compare the women is insulting on that aspect alone.

But it's also ignorant to compare the two.

Ann was a woman of many accomplishments long before she became governor.  And she held a state wide office (Treasurer) before that as well.

Ann also knew how to handle the press and wouldn't get caught in embarrassing missteps the way Davis does with the reality of her life being contrasted with the fantasy version she's pedaled.

And that's the real issue that Cecile's too dumb or too much of a liar to grasp.

Ann was popular in Texas and won the office of governor for the same reason that Hillary Clinton defeated Barack in the 2008 Texas primary.  In fact, Hillary could have carried Texas in the general election.

Texas women are strong and proud and they go about their lives as best they can.  Like women everywhere, they know a thing or two about discrimination.  But they keep going.

Where Texas is different than many other states is that you will see Democratic and Republican women pull together for strong women -- especially strong women who have persevered despite sexism, despite setbacks.  Hillary was that in 2008.  Ann was that when she ran for governor.

It's not just that Wendy Davis' resume is so light or that's she backed away from the stance that brought her national attention.

It's mainly that the national media created a narrative that would play on the national stage but won't play in Texas.

Davis is poorly trailing Greg Abbott currently.

That could change, the election is way off.

But unless Abbott implodes, he will likely beat her because she and her campaign don't know what the hell they're doing.

She can be strongly pro-choice and win Republican women in Texas -- they're not all anti-choice.

But Wendy Davis' big problem isn't her positions (except for backing off from them).

It's that she's a superstar.

She's a winner.

She's so very many things, crowned by the media.

Ann Richards?

Like many other successful Texas female politicians, Ann Richards was a fighter who battled.

She got knocked down and she got back up, over and over.

Did any woman take the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment more personally than Ann did?

They might have taken it as personally but it's hard to think they could have taken it more personally.

Ann fought and fought and fought again.

A minority of her supporters tried to dub her Queen Ann.  (This move was led in particular by a man named Dennis -- does Cecile even know this story, does she even know her mother?)  Ann very nicely told the group not to call her that.  She was governor, she explained, and she was so happy to be that. Dennis then suggested governor and queen.  And Ann lost the glowing smile she was famous for and used terms like "buster" and a loud voice to make clear that she didn't see being called a "queen" in a democracy as a compliment and that she had fought hard for every elected office she had held so don't insult her by calling her the "queen" of Texas.

Ann was never crowned.

Women -- Democrats and Republicans -- gave Ann the boost her campaign needed and she became governor and she's the last Democratic governor Texas has had.

Do not compare Ann to Wendy Davis.

If Wendy's got any real strength, she's yet to show it.

Texas women will bandy together around a female candidate if the woman reminds them of themselves or their mothers.  Because they are bonding over hardships and setbacks.  They will cross party lines if the woman reminds them of themselves.

Davis needs to lower the stardom and demonstrate how she can be a work horse.

She needs to lose the ridiculous hair, she's not Donald Trump's ex-wife, and either pull it into a ponytail (which Texas women relate to) or get it cut.

She needs to tone down the make up as well.

She's a little too 'starish' currently for Texas.

And Greg Abbott?

Greg Abbott is in a wheel chair.  He has been since 1984.  From that wheel chair, he's been on the state supreme court and successfully and repeatedly run for attorney general.  That's the kind of can-do spirit that Texans admire.

Cecile Richards is deeply stupid.

Making Wendy Davis a media star only made her a vapid blond with big hair.

If Cecile knew a damn thing about Texas politics, she would have already realized that Greg Abbott's not going to be beaten by a glossy 8 x 10 photograph.

In fairness to Cecile, she was the guest.

Host Ronan raised the issue.  He should have known the issue.  He didn't.

Besides calling her "abortion Barbie," he gushed of Wendy Davis, "I am a fan of hers, personally."

"No style, no sizzle, all fizzle."

That was one of Mia's ex-lovers call on Ronan's hosting last week.

He immediately compared Ronan to Merv Griffin.

We wanted to be clear this wasn't because both men were gay.

No, that's not what he was saying.  He talked about how superficial Merv was in interviews and how everything was incredible and amazing to Merv and all equally important -- the taste of a dish and Watergate had the same meaning for Merv.

Yes, "Heroes and Zeroes."  It's a special segment that Ronan plans to repeat.  His first "hero"?  Lena Dumham.  The racist Lena Dumham.  The cable non-entity was chosen because of her 'class' in responding to Jezebel's offering money for the real photos -- before airbrushing and retouching -- of Lena that ran in and on the cover of a magazine.

That story is so old.  February was ending and Ronan was blathering on about a January incident.

And how it made Lena a hero left us puzzled.

As did a later in the week choice of the Pope.

That might have pleased Mia Farrow but it only underscored that, at best, Ronan's noting actions, not people.  He'd be better off making it "Heroic Moves and Cowardly Stances" -- so that he was praising or calling out action and not praising or calling out someone just for being.

But from Lena to the Pope cleared it up for us.  Ronan's not the new Merv Griffin.

No, Ronan Farrow Daily is just an attempt to do the SCTV parody The Brooke Shields Show straight.

Ourselves, we can't wait to see Ronan perform "Whip It."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }