As JW and I have been living in a hotel for the past 10 days, and as my desk is only a few meters from the TV, I have watched a lot more CNN than I normally would. As a result, I have some observations that I would like to share.
First, TV viewers in the United States love drama. Everything is “Breaking News”, from a shooting in a hospital in Nevada to a falling ceiling in a theatre in London to GDP growth. And when something truly dramatic is happening – I am thinking here of the recent school shooting in Colorado, they remain on the story on camera nonstop, even when all they can report is that they thus far know absolutely nothing.
Then of course there have been the moments of comedy.
“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.” Followed by, “Jesus was a white man too… verifiable fact.” These declarations were made by Megyn Kelly, a presenter on Fox News, who quickly became an object of ridicule. Not only did Jon Stewart predictably cash in on her idiocy, but even Don Lemon on CNN was not able to discuss the matter without cracking up. On one hand, I can understand the controversy created by the statements as they were divisive and could even be seen as somewhat racist (hello, Fox News). And of course people who aren’t white might be angered for the sake of their children who, as I understand it, are most often presented with a Santa and a Jesus who more closely match their own skin colour or ethnicity. While Santa’s modern origins are northern European and therefore white, we should remember that he is a mythological character, entirely fictional, and so can be any colour we’d like to make him. It would also be helpful to note that the original, non-fictional St Nicholas was Greek and therefore rather swarthier in skin tone than the Dutch Sinterklaas.
Two aspects of this story were comedic to me. First was the inane nature of the specific claim that Jesus was a white man. I’m not actually sure how “white” should be defined, so maybe it’s true, but the fact is that Jesus was a first century Jew and would therefore not have had the white skin of a northern European. I think his skin tone would have been somewhere between olive and brown, but that is just my inexpert guess. Ms Kelly, however, in making her claim with unabashed certainty, made herself look ignorant and ridiculous.
The second comedic aspect, at the same time tragic, is that Ms Kelly’s statements blew up into controversy and became headline news. Why wasn’t she just ignored? She was certainly fair fodder for The Daily Show, but why did CNN talking heads waste so much time on the matter? Really, fellow Americans, should we care what Megyn Kelly thinks about Santa and Jesus?
Which brings me to my new favourite thing – some ZZ Top lookalike cracker who lives in a swamp. Really, what the fuck is “Duck Dynasty” and who cares what this cracker said? It is probably GQ Magazine that should apologise for interviewing him in the first place. They seem to have forgotten what the “G” in “GQ” stands for.
Can we please get back to the real news now?