There’s an ultra Conservative talk show host here in Houston who’s made a career of making oh so pointed points that teeter on being absolutely insane. He, as the kids would say is “a hater”. And he hates equally and who he hates doesn’t matter. He loathes Gays, Liberals, overweight people, Mexicans, Blacks, Reds….Plaids. I am a Conservative too, but I find his views are right on the verge of being “lunatic fringe”
Anyway, this talk show host…the very one that gay bashes…was recently at a gay bar in Montrose (Houston’s version of Castro Street). On the evening our über Conservative talk show host was there, it was Drag Night. Yes, it would seem that Miss Creant and Miss Appropriation were traipsing all over the stage, lip-syncing to Streisand and Judy while wearing gowns, wigs and boas with feet crammed into size 13 pumps, big enough to house every one of Old Mother Hubbard’s progeny AND the entire Duggar Family.
There’s video of him with beer in hand walking down a hallway, presumably to the restroom. Sometime later, we see him leaving the club; the bouncer standing outside the front door, also claims to have watched him exit. He also says he watched Mr. Conservative Talk Show Host get in his SUV which he allegedly backed up about 70-feet and accidentally rammed it into the driver’s side of the bouncer’s car parked in front of the bar. The bouncer says he was standing there, watching all of this unfold. From what we understand, Mr. Conservative Talk Show drove away and in true Scooby Doo fashion, he would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling eyewitnesses because for some reason, he made the block, drove by the scene of the crime once again and that’s when the bouncer and several others jot down his license plate number. They called the cops who ran a check and lo and behold, it’s Mr. Conservative Talk Show Host, allright…..and apparently,we are told, this wasn’t his first time at this particular Montrosian establishment.
Now, here’s the deal: when my dear friend Walter was still alive, I would go with him to Montrose area gay bars all the time. Lots of straight people do….ALTHOUGH…I have to admit that a bar with a drag show that’s held on a week night is not exactly the kind of bar a straight man with a wife and child would frequent all by himself to in order to unwind after a tough day of live, on-air gay bashing on a nationally syndicated talk show.
He’s being chided for A) being involved in a hit and run collision and not leaving personal information which is a legal issue and B) attending a drag show at a well-known gay bar, he allegedly has frequented more than once which some might argue is a moral issue. C) By the very nature of his talk show, where he did what he did makes him a hypocrite, at the very least.
He’s either feeling the heat or losing his mind. I say this because people have told me that this morning on his radio show, he ranted and raved and accused his accusers. He genuinely sounded like he was unravelling. And his corporate handlers allowed him to spew his venom in the form of defending himself. He said nasty things, rather personal things about people who are public figures as he is, which in some ways makes them slander free, but there are limits. While I’m no legal expert, what he said seemed to sit perilously on the brink of being defamatory.
And perhaps a crazy, but careless way to get ratings.
From what little I’ve heard of this man’s show and I assure you the word ‘little’ is an understatement, I can emphatically say that I do not like his on-air style. He’s boorish. Nor do I care for the corporation for which he works OR the bully tactics it employs. He…they….it are all hate mongers and they’ve honed that skill to a fine degree. They have perfected being mean and harsh and severe, and somehow through all their muck and mud-slinging, they’ve been able to turn a profit. I swear to God, this corporation is own by the Borgia’s.
And that leads me to my point: I completely understand on air personas. I completely get someone’s shtick. I don’t know this particular talk show host and I know very little about him, other than the fact he was once a practicing attorney and briefly a low level city official. And while I would NEVER/EVER stoop to his level of name calling, finger-pointing and blame assessing, I do understand ‘acts”. I happen to think that being an ultra Conservative talk show host is Rush Limbaugh’s act. I feel that’s his on-air persona and if you have an agenda backing you with another agenda backing that, you can make a very lucrative career at being mean spirited. And sadly, this isn’t just a Republican deal. Hate is bi-partisan. But if you’re going to go that route, you had better be smart, and media savvy and very, very careful. You have to choose your roles as you would choose your battles. There could always be a backlash and because fate is cruel, it will almost certainly come back to haunt you in one way or another.
CASE IN POINT: Steve Railsback is a gifted character actor who convincingly played Charles Manson in a made for TV movie called “Helter Skelter”. He was outstanding in that role, but it marked him. He had trouble finding other acting roles. Why? He was typecast as a lunatic killer sociopath, even though everyone knew that was a performance; a portrayal.
And hate it seems, is Mr. Conservative talk Show Host’s act. Is what he says vile? Yes. It is repugnant? Most assuredly, but one must ask, are these the things that he truly thinks and feels when that on-air light isn’t on? I can’t say for sure. I don’t know this man’s heart or soul.
Next question: will he get away with it? He probably will, but he shouldn’t. He might get his hand slapped and an advertiser or two might hem and haw, but if they leave, someone else with a budget will hitch their wagon’s to this man’s self proclaimed ‘star”. As for his corporate handers? They’ll do very little, if anything at all. In the sad, tragic world of broadcasting, there’s no such thing as ‘bad publicity’.
In closing, I’ll tell you this much: having been in the broadcasting biz for almost 30 years, I’ve known plenty of on-air assholes who were absolutely delightful human beings off the air. And I’ve known sweet, unassuming reporter types who were she-wolves in bitches’ clothing after the director cleared their live shots.
So whether this morning’s overtly offensive defense was a carefully crafted ploy for ratings, or a desperate plea for help, just know that because of the performance nature of what actors, pro-athletes and broadcasters do, that makes them THEE WORST role models. I know my own people. Never aspire to be like one. Mothers, don’t let your babies grow up to be broadcasters. Seriously. They are often the products of managers and consultants. Formulated and groomed for profit–to place, to show and to win.
They are, as Mama Gump said, like a box of chocolates: get to know one and on any given day in terms of personas, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get.