Random Thoughts and Salvos
O’Reilly versus Letterman: As many of you might know, I did my time on the O’Reilly Factor back in 1998. I was on the show twice. The first time he was all smiles and loved me. He invited me back. The second time he was rude, talked over me non-stop and made the most ridiculous deductions from my book. He is a master manipulator. So it was with immense pleasure that I saw him back in January being taken apart by David Letterman and then having it repeated a few nights ago on another appearance.
It wasn’t so much that Letterman beat him up with the facts, but that he gave him a taste of his own medicine and O’Reilly looked very uncomfortable. Letterman would not let him talk, would make wild deductions from what he had said, and at one point blurted out with incredible audacity, “60% of what you say is pure crap.” What I loved was seeing someone not serve up the usual lovefest between celebrities. He did not give O’Reilly the slightest shred of respect, and I have to say it, I loved it so much I watched it over and over again. I know Jon Stewart has done this to quite a few. I loved his appearance on the now defunct Firing Line. If this is a trend on television I am all for it. Check out the links.
Angelina Jolie and Oscar Wilde: I was talking to a friend the other day who is doing a documentary on Skid Row here in Los Angeles–the most desolate spot for homeless people I have ever seen in this country. She was telling me how much worse it has gotten in the past few years, as more and more mentally ill people are dumped on the streets downtown, and how there are fewer and fewer places to house them. I don’t know why, but it made me think of this segment on Anderson Cooper 360 about Angelina Jolie, in which he basically converted her into a latter-day Mother Teresa. I have always felt this way about charity: it makes me suspicious. But if you have a lot of money and a lot of decent intentions, that should be directed locally–to people in your neighborhood, to those in your city or country where you live. Otherwise, you are merely being trendy, looking for the limelight, trying to associate your name with something exotic and humanitarian.
Why doesn’t Angelina, or any of the other hundreds of LA celebrities who make obscene amounts of money, keep their charity in town? Give $20 million to build a great shelter downtown, a place to re-train people here who are down and out and in desperate need? I suppose it is not sexy enough. Charity and being decent to others begins at home, in how you treat those nearest you and not the other way around. I like what Oscar Wilde has written on this subject, i.e. the opening paragraphs of The Soul of Man Under Socialism. As he writes: “charity creates a multitude of sins.”
The Sensitive Male: Last year I spent a few months in New York City, working on the last chapters of the WAR book. I had a room in a friend’s duplex in the East Village. My window looked out on the terrace of another apartment building. As the weather got better, the people who lived adjacent to the terrace would come out and sunbathe, or entertain guests. I became transfixed by this man who lived there. He looked like Sting, about the same age. He was thin. He was the epitome of New Ageiness. He would do his yoga on the terrace. I would see him meditate. He would apparently bring business clients there and talk to them.
One day, I saw him talking to a very pretty young lady. He listened so attentively, with such sincerity. At one point, he suddenly got up and hugged the woman, who seemed a little taken aback. For days on end, I watched him–drink cups of herbal tea, stretch himself out while reading Parabola, water his plants with a sublime look. I never saw him eat. That would be too terrestial. Upon occasion I would see him on the street, and once I heard his voice. It made me cringe.
Why did he fascinate me? Or rather repulse me, the same way that Sting repulses me, not just the music but the man? Do I have gender issues? I have several gay friends and feel very comfortable among them. I like cats and can indulge my feminine side. So what is it? The men I have known like this are inevitably nurturing some kind of dark side. Well, we all are, that is true. But most men have an abundance of aggressive energy (women do as well, but of a different nature). This either comes out overtly or it is channeled into subterranean chambers.
A man of this type is not merely nice and sensitive, he is nicer and more loving than anyone else. He is competitive in that arena, and incredibly insecure at any sign that he might not be the best at this. Such types can be intensely passive aggressive. They use their sensitivity to seduce, to draw in. Their aggression comes out. And so their sleek, pleasant, feminine exterior frightens me. I know they like to consume people, just as his hug of that young woman seemed almost predatory. I know everyone has a dark side, including myself, and I am always on the lookout for signs of it in others. Not to put them down, but to find the humanity and the reality behind the appearance. Those who work the hardest to disguise this dark side are the ones who seem the most suspicious to me, and sometimes the most dangerous. The 21st century version of the Sensitive Male fascinates me this way, and he is a character I am including and dissecting in my next dramatic venture. More on this later.
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