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Monday, February 14, 2011

On Morley Safer's Bullshit

Sexism is never a good look. Neither, to be sure, is Morley Safer's of late rheumy-eyed expression (see above) -- but that's another kettle of fish altogether.

Back on point. Sexism is particularly bad when your career has been so ensocelled in "60 Minutes," the pinnacle of American investigative journalism. To wit, from the New York Times:

At the height of a messy internal dispute a few weeks ago, members of the exclusive Century Association in Manhattan traded unusually tart and testy e-mail messages.

But the words of a single member stood out for their harsh tone: those of Morley Safer, the longtime correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

As the Century debated whether to sever ties with an all-male club in London, Mr. Safer described a prominent female club member as “whining,” “self-pitying” and “vindictive.”

And he seemed to compare demands for gender equality to the need for special accommodations for “nudists and transsexuals,” according to e-mails obtained by The New York Times.

Greeat. But it is not that much of a surprise. On May 16, 2005 this blog wrote on the occasion of Safer championing Harry G. Frankfurt's stupid little book On Bullshit on 60 Minutes:

" ... Safer lacks the gift of taste, so necessary to become a distinctive cultural figure for the ages, like Montherlant or Mircea Eliade. Safer also lacks the powers of concentration necessary to taste's cultivation. And so, Safer champions naught else but utter shit, like, for example, the sloppy paintings of Botero, or the pretty but distinctly upper middlebrow opera of Renee Fleming.

To call Kierkegaard's works "dreary (however psychologically dark and ground-of-being)," and, in its place, to champion the facile Harry G. Frankfurt?! (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) If Safer had a rigorous thought process, and not just raw cultural ambitions masquerading as passionate logical inquiry, he might have found that Kierkegaard actually approached the same subject, often, and in his examinations put Franfort's shit philosophy to shame.

My opinoon of Safer remains the same. In a world in which the Saudi royals are hypocrites, mayhem luxuriates in the Niger Delta and Japan is finally getting tough on the yakuza, it is good to know that Morley's on the case, being a boor, wondering about whether or not Botero's scam is art, and getting tickled that the censors at CBS won't allow him to use the world "Bullshit" on the air.

What  -- in the words of the championed Frankfurt -- bullshit.

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