To me, The View feels like the ultimate indulgence. Perhaps that's because of its daytime slot and I'm afraid that watching TV in the middle of the day proclaims, "Yes, I am lying on the sofa watching TV and not working all day." The show also rarely fails to entertain me, with its heady mix of actual important issues, silly celebrity interviews, and random smatterings of musical performance, style tips, and cooking segments. It's what I wish mainstream women's magazines were.
But it also happens to have a revolutionary aspect as well. Only American Idol rivals its racial diversity (whoa, three people of color on a four-person judging panel?) and no TV show rivals its diversity in age and race. Of the five regular co-hosts, four are over 40. Three are well over 50. Two are over 70, y'all. Did you realize Joy Behar is 70 and Barbara Walters is 83?
Last night, observing that Joy Behar had said Sharron Angle was going to hell, Stephen Colbert joked, "I hadn't realized [Angle] would be on The View." Readers, I laughed. Indeed, I'm kind of surprised that I've gone this long writing about television from a feminist perspective without directly addressing the national embarrassment that is The View.
In many ways, on paper, The View appears to be the platonic ideal of feminism in media: it turns the microphone over to women exclusively, just like we've always wanted, right? Women talking to women about issues of importance to women: what could be more feminist than that? That claim to fame is bolstered by The View's excellent ratings for its time slot, and its cred even led it to land a coveted interview with President Obama this summer. (Question one: "Have you ever watched us?") And it's now, officially, spawned an imitator at CBS called The Talk.
Here's the thing, Ms. Goldberg. You're saying that your judgment of whether someone is racist is the most valid judgment because you're black; that everyone's a little bit racist, and that because everyone's a little bit racist, it's not okay for anyone to condemn racism. You're saying things that would be unquestionably considered racist if they came from a white person, but that you seem to think are just charming and irreverent. You're also suggesting that I actually watch a full episode of The View, which is just silly. There are a lot of things wrong with your defense of Gibson, then your defense of your defense of Gibson, but I still don't want to give the Decree to you alone. I think pouring a cooler full of haterade on you is kind of an easy way out. If you read the comments on any of the blog posts or YouTube videos about this incident (my advice: don't), it's obvious that although you're speaking only from personal experience, you're still voicing pretty popular opinions.