My media diet is severely restrained here in Weimar. BBC Worldwide Service nights, New York Times via internet before breakfast, and Herald Trib, Guardian, TLS, and NYRB nine to eleven a.m. in Student Center of Anna Amalia Library, in home in time for “Larry King Live”, today blessed by a rollicking intro to the 46 year old black lesbian Wanda Sykes, a D.C. area gal and marketing major who became a National Security Agency procurement officer. She found this ultimately so boring, she started cracking wiser and wiser.
Such as her stint last year at the White House Correspondents Dinner where she dragged Rush Limbaugh over the coals for his meretricious politics: for example, hoping Obama would fail. That qualified in her judgment as Al Queada type stuff. She fantasied that he was the 22nd World Trade Center terrorist who missed his flight from an overdose of his favorite drug. Bushies booed! “You think wanting Obama to fail is not terrorism?”
Now it just happened that by a fluke, as I sought out my nightly BBC source, Rush’s signal broke through the Keneally-Heaviside electronic cloud. The AFN sponsored daily pickup had Rush referring incessantly to Imam Obama, twizzling Birther nonsense, and extemping intemperately on Obama’s “contention” he was a Christian. Reinhold Niebuhr would have freaked out at his lack of logic. Imagine the intellectual energy our Armed Forces would get listening to this daily drivel. Rush as Theologian! All of it slyly slamming the Reverend Wright.
Sykes is equally attractive as a lesbian spokesman. She explained how much harder it was to explain her sexual proclivity to her Army Colonel dad and mom than her color! No black “coming out”. You’re just there. And her French friend is a knockout. She had twins, and Sykes went into a fake tizzy over the possibility that Mel Gibson might be the inseminant! “Will you have more kids?” asked Larry. “Only if she has them before I turn fifty. No more diapers then.” Her easygoing style does more to disarm Prop 8er than polysyllabic discourse.
And her Laura Schlessinger putdown was equally civilized. In all her media years she’s never ran across a black that volunteered to discuss a recent program! She speculates that Dr. L was so surprised to have a black listener that she blew it. And she mocked the credentials of Dr. L. No psychiatrist there. Not even a psychologist! “A physiologist, for God’s sake. Might as well take counsel from a masseuse!”
The remarkable difference between Rush and Sykes is the latter’s freedom from hatred and putdowns. Rush stokes the fires of America’s under-lettered and bewildered. Wanda smiles her teasing ways to a collective giggle. Rush’s cheap shots are laying down a landscape of permanent distrust. Limbaugh and Fox want to win the next election. Sykes’ desire is a society in which damn foolishness is mocked away, give or take the next election. I hopes she gets the imminent HBO Emmy!
Another version of this piece appears in Broad Street Review.