We interrupt this parenting blog to crow about a well-placed lesbian television and radio commentator

I don’t even watch television, but a friend has been saying for months, “Don’t you know about Rachel Maddow?! You have to! Brilliant!  Progressive!  Out dyke!  From your home town fer Chrissakes!  On television! Go watch her right this very instant and then report back.”

Sadly, the years of Rachel Maddow’s ascension in broadcasting have more or less paralleled my years either in family crisis or early parenthood or both. So I’d been a bit tuned out. Also, we moved the TV from one room to another about a year or two ago, and managed never to really plug it back in again, beyond hooking up the DVD player. We can’t have the child watching Dottie’s Magic Pockets on my computer here, now can we?

But I succumbed to the peer pressure, checked out Rachel Maddow (pictured at right — see? you think I’m kidding? she’s like, like, like US!), and hot darn was I not disappointed. She reminded me of my smartest chums, laying into [name the topic] with gusto and good humor and insight and research to back it all up. Ah, my peeps.

Now I’m going to guess that nine-tenths of you out there are actually are aware of public events and the people analyzing them, in both alternative and commercial media, and are therefore aware of Ms. Maddow. At least you US residents. For the remaining tenth of you, whether you’re US residents in a partial media blackout, such as I have been, or enlightend folk abroad — and assuming a sharp witted, articulate, progressive, out dyke on the TV set is a thrill — oo! and you wanted more than newlywed Ellen DeGeneres! — I suggest you hie yourself over to any of the links below to acquaint yourself with the new HOST OF HER OWN NIGHTLY COMMENTARY SHOW ON MSNBC. Starting September 8th. At 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.  I’m guessing it would be somewhere in between for my mates in Central Standard Time. 

I may have to plug the TV in after all.

Ms. Snarker makes the astute point that while she may be “the last person on earth you thought would break into the upper echelon of the boy’s club of political reporting,” it also could be that “maybe, possibly Rachel’s new gig means that America has warmed up to the idea of a smart, funny lesbian telling them important things.”
Warms this gal’s heart, I’ll tell you what. 
Ms. Maddow is fielding suggestions about what her show should be called.  The only thing I can think of is, SHE’S FROM MY FRICKIN’ HOMETOWN!  And that’s not a suitable title for a national news commentary show.  Maybe, WITH ANY LUCK ONE DAY SHE’LL BE A LESBIAN DAD, TOO!  Though again: not really on target.
Also nonsequitorial, but still worth noting, is that her hair is about the length mine gets when I can’t afford a haircut.  And when she wears eye mascara (was that redundant? maybe so. out of practice.) she blinks about as frequently as you would expect someone to, who up until recently only wore eye mascara (I just have to keep it redundant now) to Halloween drag parties.
I will close this glee-fest (yegods! a mannish lesbian on YOUR TV, spouting polysyllabic left-wing political analysis, NIGHTLY!) by pasting below the third video clip I’ve foisted upon you in one week: the announcement on last night’s Keith Olberman show. Three: that’s two more video clips than I ordinarily post in, like, half a year.  Maybe a year.
Forgive me.  Thoughtful prose to return soon.

17 Responses to We interrupt this parenting blog to crow about a well-placed lesbian television and radio commentator

  1. Lesbian Dad August 20, 2008 at #

    Have to add an addendum. In her AfterEllen piece on the news, Sarah Warn has this to say:

    She also chalks up her debating skill to coming out at an early age. “You have to learn to survive and prosper in a hostile environment,” she said in an interview with AfterEllen.com last year. “It’s kind of a talent that gay people bring to everything we do.”

    Yeah, yeah. What she said.

  2. neeekeeee August 20, 2008 at #

    I can think of nothing more eloquent to say than, “woohooo!” 🙂

  3. immoralmatriarch August 20, 2008 at #

    I’ve never heard of her before, but a recommendation from and timeslot right after Keith makes her a win in my book. And I loved her in that clip – very smart and personable.

  4. Liza August 20, 2008 at #

    Eye candy! On TV! For me!

    I can’t remember the last time, unless maybe it was extras in the Olivia Cruise scene in The L Word.

    I am part of the living under a rock set, but will crawl out to watch this, newborn girlie in the crook of my arm.

  5. virgotex August 20, 2008 at #

    I just posted this over Sur. Dorothy but it’s valid here as well. EVERYONE- loves them some Rachel. Straight, gay, male, female, young, old.

    She’s got the kavorka.

    And, LD, it’s so cute that even though you’re brilliant and hip, part of you still lives under a rock, sort of. (I say it fondly.)

    I think everyone’s hoping now she has her own show, they’ll put some work into costuming and makeup that the host finds more comfortable. I hope they let her wear her Converses and big ol’ glasses, but I’m doubting that.

  6. jayfid August 20, 2008 at #

    I’ve been listening to Rachel Maddow on AirAmerica for a while now and I love her, but I hadn’t heard about the TV show yet! Yay! I’m so glad you posted this.

    And Virgotex is right about everyone loving her – I’m a straight married woman and I have a dear friend is a straight married man. We were having a discussion the other day and I told him that if I was a lesbian I would so want to marry Rachel – and he said I’d have to fight him for her. I also agree that in the clip above, she looks more “made up” than she’s comfortable with. Hopefully that’s a fluke.

    LD – I discovered your blog while checking out the keynote readings from BlogHer. You have such an easy, eloquent, beautiful way of expressing yourself and I’ve really enjoyed reading your site for the last month or so.

  7. Lesbian Dad August 20, 2008 at #

    Thank you so much, jayfid. Thank you. I kind of stick the eloquence in the backseat when I get all excited like this (kin! on the TV!). Or I stumble over it and leave it in a heap, what have you. So thank you. And welcome.

    To follow up vt’s note, I took the liberty of scouting up a nice big horn-rimmed glasses shot of RM, pre-Ready for Prime Time makeover:

    [Above image courtesy of the nice people (or rather Monte Belmonte) at the Northhampton radio station 93.9 The River. I had to go for the horn-rimmed + baseball cap image, since that has long been my hatwear du choix.]

    Virgo-T you made me go Google kavorka. Which, I quickly learned, I had to Google because (! there again!) I haven’t watched enough TV in the past decade. I am humbled that you describe me as both brilliant and hip. I’d give my left hip to be either.

    Liza, sister, it’s about time gals like you had some eye candy. Even though I must admit it can make gals like me a little nervous. I mean, the beloved is constantly bemoaning the lack, and noting that the femme end of the female universe is quite over-represented in popular media. Can’t dispute that (or complain). I can take the heat though. I can. I can. (And courage, these last overpregnant days! You can do it! Go obscenely pregnant team!)

    And you know, Maria (aka immoralmatriarch), I am equally late to the Rachel Maddow party. But when you get a load of her past zingers online (go to YouTube and stick in her name + Pat Buchanan, against whom she has typically been paired on Hardball) you’ll have an extended picnic.

    Neekee, woohoo on back at you! Seems like there are a lot of us woohooing about now.

  8. virgotex August 20, 2008 at #

    From a few months back, pop culture blogger Bossy (of I am Bossy) on her “new husband” Rachel Maddow.

    i am bossy: The Only Thing Standing Between Bossy And Her New Husband Is A Vagina. Or Two.

  9. Lesbian Dad August 20, 2008 at #

    Thank you for that! A treat, the first comment, which read

    I like girls who look like boys. And are smart.

    VT, without wanting to be too presumptuous, I think that might mean us. We all may just be in season. Or at least for a day. Which is fine by me.

  10. directorgrrl August 20, 2008 at #

    yes, so eloquently put:

    we are in season

    may it ever be so.
    we can take our place in the produce aisle.
    right next to the organic peaches, is my hope.

  11. Liza August 20, 2008 at #

    I just realized I have had a small slice of eye candy on TV, thanks to my lovely wife. The WNBA has a few butch hotties, including the elusive long-haired butches, as do college softball and hoops.

    But this is better. Smart eye candy! Actively being smart while also being eye candy! I’d rather watch smart than sweat.

  12. archaeonerd August 20, 2008 at #

    That’s Doctor Maddow to you. She was a Rhodes scholar, ya know…

    She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s hot… and her laugh! She’s been my internet girlfriend for years. I adore her.

  13. Chumpy August 21, 2008 at #

    Wow! and Why? I thought that US TV stations-including MSNBC- were uniformly conservative and right-wing. Talent aside how DID she get the job?

  14. Lesbian Dad August 22, 2008 at #

    Can you believe, “quest for ratings”? So says the Los Angeles Times.

    They did go through the roof when she guest-hosted for Olberman (if memory serves).

  15. Lesbian Dad August 22, 2008 at #

    Addendum: Glenn Greenwald ran a fairly detailed post at his Salon.com column earlier today about conservative response to Maddow’s new show. In it, he reviews the extant voices in cable news, not just on notoriously right-wing Fox, but on MSNBC and CNN, and certainly corroborates your impression, Chumpy.

    “The decay of serious journalism and Rachel Maddow’s new show”

    Amazingly, this piece confirms what I’d read earlier in the LA Times piece: that — you could knock me over with a feather — Keith Olberman has indeed been very popular. Bill Carter, a New York Times TV critic wrote the same earlier in the week:

    MSNBC has put heavy emphasis this year on presidential election coverage (it has given itself the tag line, “The Place for Politics”) and has turned to Ms. Maddow frequently both as a guest and as a substitute for the network’s most popular host, Keith Olbermann. Mr. Olbermann’s emergence as the signature personality on the network has led to an unofficial rebranding of MSNBC as the liberal alternative to Fox News, which is dominated by conservative hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

    MSNBC has been known to be seeking a way to capitalize to a greater degree on Mr. Olbermann’s popularity. A program hosted by Ms. Maddow will almost certainly be a closer ideological fit with Mr. Olbermann’s.

  16. Chumpy August 22, 2008 at #

    Thanks for such interesting reading. The link in your first reply is a 404 but I found the article through Google. Im glad I got past Jodie’s sombre pronouncement for the Glen Greenwald post.

    His post includes the line ‘who only explicitly sports extremist right-wing rhetoric on Sundays’ to describe one of the other news anchors- priceless!

    Still don’t understand it though- if its all about increasing ratings why are part of the audience suddenly interested in a ‘liberal’ viewpoint? Were they not before?

    I’ve never understood why the right has such a grip on the media in the US, nor why that grip would appear to be loosening just now…..

  17. Lesbian Dad August 22, 2008 at #

    Me neither, on both counts (grip and the loosening thereof). Though the trend toward corporate monopolization has been decades in the making. If ever the media were utterly independent. Sigh.

    (Given what a challenge it is to continue to afford to do this jobbie (LD) sans any many external gestures to commercialism, etc., the whole shebang is even more poignant to me.)

    Historians might point to the simple, inevitable pendulum swings of history, at least, on the matter of why the tides might be turning. One can only take sooooo much imbicile crypto-fascism.

    Then again, ask Gramsci; he’d say we can be quite nicely programmed to swallow it all, ’til we’ve got no stomach left.

    Fixed the broke link to the LA Times piece, by the way. Thanks for the heads-up.

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