Monday, May 12, 2008

Barbara Walters—Auditioning for Tackiness

My brilliant brother Steve has an excellent expression: “We’re gonna die just in time.” Alas, in the case of the publication of Barbara Walters’ memoir, Audition, we all missed the death deadline and now have to suffer through the ugly media coverage of what sounds like utter rubbish, including Walters’ revelation that she had an affair with former Massachusetts senator Edward Brooke. (Where’s that character the funny Kristen Wiig plays on “Saturday Night Live” when you need her? You know, the auntie who reviews films? “Gack!”)

An opportunistic skeeve, Walters will now make appearances to sell her book, including an “Oprah” spot and God knows how many forthcoming trash “entertainment” shows. Now 78, and no less a refuse-monger now than she was in her heyday as a ”journalist,” the pathetic Walters still seeks attention and continues to embarrass herself, mainly because that’s always been her M.O.

Devoid of any intellectualism, Walters has been an obnoxious media presence for decades, exploiting her New York connections to gain a foothold as a “TV personality,” first on NBC, and later ABC, foisting on a defenseless world her sappy, witless, often tasteless brand of reportage, some of which included simply awful interviews with actual world leaders.

Just because Walters has had a podium for however many decades doesn’t make it right, and I’ll leave it to you to surmise how an average-looking broad like her, with a less-than-average mind, who never went to speech school to improve her stupid-sounding regional vocal style, turned it all into a mega-millions television career.

But even if we grant that Walters indubitably established herself as a TV presence through all the years, that’s no excuse for her taking the low road now that she’s a doddering old fool. And yet, would we expect anything less? Sad.

A person with grace, class, a sense of decency and a seriously iconic public profile doesn’t publish a tell-all memoir unless she’s so insecure and craving the limelight that she doesn’t care where the grapeshot of her naval-gazing musings lands.

Edward Brooke is now 88, living out his life in Florida. But no, that’s not enough for Walters. Let’s dig up some bones and say “Look at me!”

Stupid people—Walters’ career-long audience—will possibly buy her book, if they have any money left after buying groceries and filling their cars with gas. Meanwhile, the “author” will sanctimoniously make her media appearances, defend her work, and no doubt tell us how cathartic it all feels.

Here’s the truth, Barbara: Nobody of any substance cares. And that will be the legacy of your life and career.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barbara Walter's life was influenced greatly by her older sister and she's written a beautiful memoir about her life. I read another memoir of a life influence by a sibling that I recommend highly - I actually liked it even more. The memoir is ""My Stroke of Insight"" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr Taylor became a Harvard brain scientist to find the cause and cure for schizophrenia because her older brother was a sufferer. Then, crazy as life can be, Dr. Taylor had a stroke at age 37. What was amazing was that her left brain was shut down by the stroke - where language and thinking occur - but her right brain was fully functioning. She experienced bliss and nirvana and the way she writes about it (or talks about it in her now famous TED talk) is incredible.

What I took away from Dr. Taylor's book above all, and why I recommend it so highly, is that you don't have to have a stroke or take drugs to find the deep inner peace that she talks about. Her book explains how. ""I want what she's having"", and thanks to this wonderful book, I can!