Monday, September 3, 2012

Break 'The Cycle?' Not yet.

THERE ARE plenty of well-educated, knowledgeable, telegenic, articulate women with deep track records in political affairs. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is an example, just to name one. And yet such women are rarely given cable shows to share their insights. When Dylan Ratigan ended his show on MSNBC, the network suits came up with "The Cycle," an ensemble talk show. Its two male "stars" are Touré (a writer and pop-culture gadfly) and Steve Kornacki (a political writer for Salon). Kornacki, only 33, provides the political gravitas, such as it is.

But let's get down to cases.

The two females stars are S. E. Cupp (seen at left) and Krystal Ball (yes, that's really her name). Both sport the lofty but meaningless title of "political strategist." Cupp is the conservative yin to Ball's liberal yang. Cupp's claim to fame: She's a Cornell grad (art history), a classically trained ballet dancer and author of a book slamming liberals for "destroying" religion. Ball's claim to fame: She's a Univ of Virginia grad (economics) and political naif who was photographed holding a dildo while running for Congress (she lost) -- hence, instant fame. MSNBC is now showcasing both women as paradigms of political wisdom on The Cycle. How'd that happen? Simple: Cupp and Ball are bright, articulate and, let's not mince words, raven-haired visions of Aphrodite. And that's ok. What's not ok is MSNBC's exploitation of two smokin' hot babes for ratings. Clearly, neither is there for their intellectual heft -- which, on politics, is feather-weight at best. The need for breaking this sexist "Cycle" is obvious. But it's going to take concerted Girl Power to do it. Without vigorous protest from females, trust me, guys will just sit there and salivate. That said, I wish Cupp and Ball all the best and don't blame them for going for the gold. After all, a girl's gotta pay the rent. But I'll get my political analysis elsewhere.

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