Some Perspective on The View

by d

Photo from StarMagazine, which also can't believe the president has better things to do than watch MTV. Click for their article.

President Obama appeared on The View this week. There are a number of reasons this made the news. It’s the first time a sitting president has appeared on a live daytime talk show. The famous Barbara Walters was there to ask him questions. The View has a bipartisan panel and their questions aren’t screened beforehand.

Imagine my irritation when the news is also peppered with speculation and contempt. A local FOX station’s morning news correspondent off-handedly poo-pooed it as an appeal to the female demographic, with questions about womens’ issues. On MSNBC’s Countdown, Lawrence O’Donnell kept hammering home the question, Why? Why go on there? Really, why? What business does a sitting president have going on there in an election year? Like he doesn’t already know. (LO’D has gotten snarkier since he started subbing for Keith, and I do not like it.)

I don’t watch The View, but my mother does. I’ve watched the occasional segment, and on the whole, I’ve almost always liked the ladies, going back to its inception. And, from the time Barbara Walters began it, The View has been making headlines as a place where no one holds back. They are a round-table of feisty, opinionated women, who aren’t afraid of a spat or a rude joke.

This upsets people. A lot. How dare we put such outspoken, unafraid women on TV! How dare they be successful! Don’t they know they’re supposed to sit in plush armchairs and ask victims of sexual abuse how they feel?

It’s clear that none of these commentators have ever watched the show, or they would know that The View is not a soft forum. They talk about current events, unafraid to venture into religion or politics. The tabloids love to pick at them. Elizabeth Hasselbeck is the most right-wing person they’ve ever had, and she frequently gets into heated arguments with the other panelists.

Some people seem to think all this is irrelevant. It’s just women having a cup of coffee, right? Who cares? Uh, lots of people. The View is shown world-wide, these women are international celebrities. This week is Obama’s third appearance on the show, and a lot of other politicians have been on as well–any candidate with a national brand to build wants a spot on the show. Going on The View means you can reach a very big audience, and do so in a manner that makes you appear personable. It’s hard to be formal with Joy Behar around.

The View matters. For thirteen+ years, it has depicted women having genuine, intense, intelligent discussions. This is empowering and validating for the women who watch. Too many of the women on TV who aren’t actresses in character are either neutral news anchors or perky show hosts who are working hard to appeal, not prove themselves worthy of that attention.

Finally, I don’t understand why everyone latched onto this Snooki business. In case you missed the furor, the ladies hurled some silly pop questions at him, for laughs. Joy asked if Jersey Shore’s Snooki should run for mayor of Wasilla. Obama said he didn’t know who Snooki was. Point!

But then, the media began to fly to pieces. HE LIED! HE KNEW WHO SNOOKI WAS BEFORE! Quoth Lynne Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:

BUT OBAMA MADE A SNOOKI JOKE BEFORE: On May 2, 2010, Obama joked about Snooki during his speech at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner. “The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill. Snooki, J-WOWW, the Situation, and House Minority Leader John Boehner,[sic]

Uh, Ms. Sweet, you know those jokes aren’t written by the people who read them, right? He probably had enough of a briefing to deliver the joke well, and then forgot about it.

LIFE DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND SNOOKI. If the President did know who this crude pop idol is, I would be very, very frightened. The nation’s been in constant crisis since before he was inaugurated, and he’s wasting brain space on Jersey Shore? I don’t think so.

Lawrence O’Donnell was pushing this, too, in a really nasty way. My father said, “I have no idea who that is, either.” Later, she appeared on screen and my mother thrust a finger at her. “THAT is a Snooki!”

Yea, though I walk in the shadow of the valley of her hair...

My father’s eyes popped. “I’m glad I didn’t know.”

We should all be so lucky.

7 Comments to “Some Perspective on The View”

  1. Hm. I agree with your assessment of The View, although I really don’t watch it, either. And I certainly agree that President Obama should have and does have better things to do than watch Jersey Shore. I think there are just simply people who are going to seize on whatever they possibly can to paint Obama in a bad light. He doesn’t know who Snooki is?? No fucking way! Oh wait, yes he does! He lied, dammit, on international TV, he lied! He made a joke about her once! As if this has anything to do with ANYthing relevant to President Obama and politics in general. Even if Obama really was perfect, the Right would insist that that was an imperfection in itself. They’re like playground bullies, IRL trolls, whatever. They aren’t so much interested in delivering the news as they are interested in putting down President Obama. And any other Democrat or liberal they happen to run across along the way. Its pathetic.

    And, the fact that people make snide remarks about The View, the guests, or the women hosting it is not at all surprising. Why wouldn’t they? I’ll bet most of them are men (probably the majority of those men are also conservative), women who are conservative, and a lot of people who have never seen the show. As you seem to have already come to the conclusion of already. :p There will always be closed-minded people who are more concerned with being right or whether they’ve had their tender sensibilities offended rather than actual facts and experiences.

  2. I know only Sherri Shepherd among the ladies of the view.
    Whole Blogosphere was once behind her, making fun of one of the comments she made. It was something to do with the “would she teach kids that earth is flat”.

    • Aah, yes, I remember that. She is religious, and when she started on the show she had some… interesting views. To her credit, she’s learned a lot and now doesn’t seem quite so reactionary.

  3. Snooki is relevant— a good leader knows the significance of “common culture,” not just “high culture.” Obama won the presidency, at least in part, because he knows how to relate to the common folks on the street. A seasoned intellectual reads a great deal of things, including “low” topics.

    That said, “Faux News” and its coverage on “women” is limited to the people Bill O’Reilly finds attractive and agrees with. Remember that Lane Bryant ad they refused to air for “family reasons?” Apparently, 50% of the population counts as an unimportant “demographic.” Great article! 😀

    • True, I wouldn’t want a leader who was completely out of touch. I guess, at the root of it, I feel like this makes Jersey Shore a legitimate part of the culture, rather than a blip on the radar. (Please be a blip, please be a blip… dammit)

      I remember that commercial uproar! And I remember how he kept running the clip over… and over… and over again… Too indecent for normal television, lets watch that again…

      • At least now we know his secret fancy. That’s also why he’s eager to rant about rap music… he watches those videos again and again, for research purposes. That’s feminism, done Faux-style.

        That said, I’m probably the only person on this board to find Snooki’s hair cute! 😉

  4. LOL

    Every time I see her, I am reminded of ’60s mod styles. Totally cute in context! Oddly out of place outside it.

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