Saturday, April 30, 2005

Weekly Jackass Number Twenty-One: Rosie O'Donnell

I wasn't really sure who my Weekly Jackass was going to be this time, but then I saw Virginia Heffernan's review of "Riding the Bus With My Sister" (hat tip to Ace) and all doubt disappeared. Here is a woman who went from one the sweetest gigs in television, and quite a bit of (inexplicable) adulation, into basically a laughingstock overnight.

I disliked (I hate the word 'hate') Rosie before disliking Rosie was cool, though. An ex-girlfriend who lived with me during a period of unemployment watched Rosie's daytime show without fail, and without fail, I found the experience excruciating. Rosie was given to such cutesy affectations as calling Tom Cruise a 'cutey patootie', but that wasn't the worst: the worst was that voice - my God, that voice! The stuff of nightmares.

Then there's Rosie's sexuality. The fact the she is a lesbian is immaterial to me. The fact that she throws it in my face, though, is another matter. If I have to listen to one more person talk about the 'courage' of someone like Rosie coming out... - please. First of all, she's got more money than anyone except Oprah and Bill Gates, so her financial future is secure. Homosexuality in the arts isn't exactly a novelty, either (though one hesitates to call Rosie a member of the arts community - her acting is horrific, her writing atrocious, and her blog beyond parody).

Let's get one thing straight - I despise discrimination in all its forms, though, like everyone, I'm sure I don't always live up to my ideals. I refuse, however, to salute someone because of who they like to sleep with. Frankly, I don't want to know about who's sleeping with whom, gay or straight, thank you very much, and it takes no 'courage' to have a preference for the same sex. Yes, I know, it does take a certain amount of courage to expose yourself to bigotry, and in some situations, coming out could indeed be courageous, but again, we're talking about a very wealthy woman in a very tolerant community.

Well, that's all well and good, you might say, but what about being a bad lesbian actress/writer/whatever makes someone a jackass? Nothing, of course - but now comes the politics. Oh, my, yes, the politics - Rosie is perhaps the most nauseatingly leftwing celebrity since Babs herself.
  • Exhibit A: Rosie went after Tom Selleck like a pit bull in a butcher shop after inviting him on her show. Why? Because he's a mean old NRA member, of course!
  • Exhibit B: While raising funds for Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign, she blasted Rudy G. for enforcing vagrancy laws in NYC in front of the live studio audience.
  • Exhibit C: Her breathtakingly ignorant view on Bush's 'coup d'etat': "The country was really taken over. It was a coup. This man was not elected, he sits in the White House and he's declaring war. That's a coup d'etat. America should be in the streets picketing. And our boys and our girls, our teenagers and 20- year-olds, are off there killing people. And war begets war."
  • Exhibit D: The famously brilliant Rosie on Bush's intellect: "The man is not the brightest bulb. He really isn�t. And to think he went to Harvard and Yale. Okay. The guy failed at every single thing he ever did in his life. He failed at every business. He was a horrible student. He failed, he failed, he failed and he�s now the president of the United States, giving a nine billion dollar uncontested bid to Dick Cheney�s former country�company�to rebuild Iraq."
  • Exhibit E: Rosie's stirring history lesson at a nearly deserted John Kerry campaign rally: "Every single thing this White House has done goes against the foundation of what our country was built on. For us to tell the United Nations we would ignore their doctrine and their resolutions, for us to say that we will not adhere to the Geneva Convention during this war [sic]. We are America, we are better than that. We were built on the foundation of freedom and truth and equality for all people. And the rich, corporate, horrible, horrible people who have been destructing [sic] and ruining everything this country was made on has [sic] been really unbelievably damaging to all of us spiritually, emotionally, monetarily."
I truly could go on and on and on: Rosie is one of those rare celebrities (okay, maybe not so rare) who seemingly can't get through an interview without saying something outrageously dumb. I can't wrap things up any sweeter, though, than executive producer of The Late Show with David Letterman Rob Burnett did: when Rosie declined to appear on the Letterman show over a perceived slight that is five years old (real mature, there, Rosie gal!), Burnett responded:
"...the last thing I want to do is get into a fight with a powerful celebrity who has a blog read by tens of people."
Ouch, that's gotta hurt...

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