The Lunatic O’Reilly Goes for Baroque

When I am compelled to subject myself to the sneering, language-mangling, condescending, heh-hehing visage of our president, some sort of high-school-chemistry-class-experiment-gone-haywire reaction happens in my gut, causing it to churn and gurgle, eventually producing some wicked concoction that gets into my bloodstream and travels to my brain, where the devilish compound then explodes in a white hot flash, and I am left a seething mass of teeth-gnashing, fist-clenching rage.

On the occasions I have had the misfortune to witness the undulating tangle of self-righteousness, delusion, and smugness that is Bill O’Reilly, I have approximately the same reaction, only ever so slightly less so.

It’s difficult for me to pin down exactly what I find most revolting about O’Reilly—the unmitigated, bloviating assertions of rightness in the face of contrary facts? the incessant and rude interrupting of his guests? the self-referentialism? the self-reverence?—but suffice it to say, I loathe it all. There isn’t a moment that passes on his nightly cavalcade of dreadfulness that isn’t categorically offensive to every fiber of my being. He is a conceited, discourteous, lying swine, who has the unique capacity to nauseate me even on the rare and fleeting instances when I agree with him.

So it was with no small amount of pleasure I read Nicholas Lemann’s beautifully constructed takedown of the Mayor of Swillville in The New Yorker, to which I was directed care of the splendid Blogenfreude at Agitprop. To wit:

O’Reilly, like every political talk-show host with a big following, is a populist, who, in his beyond-irony way, is a rich, middle-aged white guy aligned with the ruling party, and who has the guts to stand up to the élitists who run (but also hate) this country. To say that that doesn’t make any sense is to deny oneself the pleasure that a close study of O’Reilly affords.
By the time I got to Lemann’s description of the sex-offender fixated O’Reilly’s program as “increasingly, not a conservative show but a cop show—‘O’Reilly: Special Victims Unit,’ perhaps,” and his recounting of O’Reilly’s masturbatory fantasies of the beheading of Michael Kinsley to further prove my theory that O’Reilly uses his outlier radio show to plumb the depths of his odium, I was flush with the fever of a happy contentedness that I generally associate with the need for a cigarette and a nap.

Now, it’s true that I hate Bill O’Reilly with a fiery passion that burns brighter than 10,000 suns, so perhaps those who, say, would describe the intensity of their revulsion for him as merely sufficient to power a small African village for three years won’t quite reach the pinnacles of ecstasy that I did. But give it a read, anyway. At minimum, it cleanses the palette, if momentarily, of the distaste left behind by the sheer verity of his existence.

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