When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I loved Mike Barnicle. His thrice-weekly column for the Boston Globe was a must read. It wasn't until later that I realized he was ripping off Jimmy Breslin, who is still the heavyweight champ. Here's Breslin's column from today's Newsday:
I took the book off the shelf in the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Broadway and 66th Street and began reading it. The book is: "The O'Reilly Factor For Kids." It is subtitled, "A Survival Guide for America's Families."
A woman came by with a little boy in a stroller. "Here, this is a good one for you," I told the woman. "Read it to your kid." She looked at the cover and her eyebrows furrowed. The kid in the stroller liked the color on the cover. "Here. Tell your mother to buy it for you," I held out the book, but the mother pulled him away.
"No, thank you," she said. She said this in a way that indicated that she was at least suspicious of this rumpled man holding out a sex book.
"Did you see this?" I held it out for another woman with offspring. She looks. "Why don't you buy it?" I said.
"No," she said. Icily.
I browsed through the book, which is O'Reilly's greatest sin at this time. The attempted mugging of readers with sentences made of balsam wood. He has other problems, but they are the usual for these far-right conservative writers and commentators. As a group they are prone to being perverts. Some are trying to say that O'Reilly goes with the territory.
In Florida the other day I was surprised to hear this Rush Limbaugh on the radio. "He's a stone junkie," I said. "Is he still on the air?"
Now in the aisle at Barnes & Noble, I scanned Bill O'Reilly for Kids on the pages about sex: "Here's a big word for today: dehumanization. That's when you go out with someone only for their appearance - their big pecs or long legs. When you are interested in someone only on the basis of physique, you're dehumanizing him or her, seeing that person only as an attractive object. If you are doing that, remember, good sex occurs between two human beings, not between two objects ... Are you surprised by my thoughts on the subject? Did you think that O'Reilly would tell you sex is off-limits? As you know, things are more complicated than that. But I repeat my mantra: Sex is best when you combine sensible behavior with sincere affection ...
"It is also smart to recognize that there is no area more potentially dishonest than the sexual arena. And if you exploit a girl, it will come back to get you."
There are two young women at the next shelf. They are reading the magazine "Sugar." The cover proclaims, "Britain's Best-Selling Girls Magazine." I say to them, "Hey, here, why don't you read some of Bill O'Reilly's book for kids and see what you think." They both stared at me.
Now I suddenly think, "Breslin, in about 15 seconds, one of these young women is going to let out a holler that is going to make people think of you with O'Reilly." I put the book down and in the same motion was gone.
Then, I went into the Coliseum Bookstore at 11 W. 42nd St. and asked if they had the book. "I'm embarrassed to say we do," the manager, Allan Kelin, said. Right away I scolded him. "You're not supposed to be embarrassed by anything printed." "We don't censor anything," he assured me. He led me down an aisle to where Bill O'Reilly's face stared at me from the bookshelf. He was alongside "Tips for Baby's First Year."
"I'll sell it for you," I said to the manager.
Right away, a man came along with his son, who was about 7. "Here you go," I said, holding the book out. "Read it to your kid." He smirked. "I don't even want that one," he said. He pointed to the book under O'Reilly: "Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask)."
You can see how these conservative writers and commentators are devoted to and influenced by George Bush. After three debates, there can be no doubt that Bush is the dumbest president of our time. He cannot speak English. He says he is a leader. Of what? A leader leads a nation with the force of his words. This guy doesn't have the vocabulary or the plain class to do anything but get cheers from pathetic dolts. There were 10 soldiers dead in Iraq on Wednesday night and Bush smirked and chuckled and outright laughed during a debate that was supposed to be about the troubles of a nation. He disgraces the nation.
I couldn't sell any of O'Reilly's book yesterday, except the one copy I bought. I did this when I stopped writing in a pad, for fear of somebody screaming "Degenerate," and brought it home so I could copy the passage about sex that I just typed for you.