Megyn Kelly and the Politics of Entitlement and Resentment
By Dennis Loo (12/15/13)
After what she described as a “firestorm” response to her comments that both Santa and Jesus were “white,” and needing to take a sick day off to cope with it, Fox News’ lead blonde anchor (Faux News seems to have more blondes in one place than do the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders) Megyn Kelly fired back that she was just kidding and that people offended by her remarks are race-baiting.
“Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless,” Kelly said on “The Kelly File.” “This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society, in particular, the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful Fox News Channel.”
Let’s begin with her claim that she was joking. If you watch her make the comments that provoked people, it’s clear that far from being delivered “tongue-in-cheek,” Kelly was being very serious. Here are her actual words, and then the episode in question. In introducing the segment, here is her lead in:
"In Slate they have a piece on dot.com, Santa should not be a white person anymore, and when I saw this I kind of laughed, this is so ridiculous, yet another person claiming that it's racist to have a white Santa."
That sure does sound like she's joking, don't you think?
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” she declared confidently. “I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure. That’s verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that. But my point is, how do you just revise it in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black.”
“Just because it makes you uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change.” Ho, ho, ho, what a hoot! That Megyn is such a kidder!
As Jon Stewart accurately pointed out in his hilarious response to Kelly’s remarks, the fact that it makes some people uncomfortable is the very definition of oppression.
Then there’s this from Ms. Kelly: “the knee-jerk instinct by so many to race-bait and to assume the worst in people…”
Kelly first says that people should not be making a big deal about not being able to identify with iconic figures in popular culture such as Santa being depicted as a white guy (in spite of the fact, by the by, that the Santa Claus myth comes from Turkey!) and if it makes them “uncomfortable” to not be represented, then that doesn’t mean “it has to change.” Then she complains that those who are reacting to her comments are race-baiting and assuming the worst in people at “the very powerful Fox News Channel.” If that is true and people are race-baiting and we follow her own logic, then this is a sign that racism still exists because those who are playing the race card are what people like Kelly would call “reverse-racists.”
I’m sorry Ms. Kelly, you can’t have this both ways: you can’t say that race is a non-factor and minorities who are not represented in mainstream iconic figures like Santa should not get upset about it since racism no longer exists, and then complain that people are using racism to target “the very powerful Fox News Channel.” If they’re using racism towards you, then racism still exists, even if it’s just in the peculiarly distorted framing of it that you describe it as. Racism is real, apparently, when white supremacists are stung by criticism, but racism does not exist when white supremacy whitewashes its obliteration of minorities.
What is the point about referring to her bosses as “very powerful”? That people are envious of its influence? If it’s the big man on the block, with pretty blondes by his side, then doesn’t this imply that what its anchors say on “the very powerful Fox News Channel” has consequences, and if it has consequences, then doesn’t that make the anchors and the network accountable for its impact? Or are we all just sorely lacking in humor when some of us take offense at white supremacists prattling about and accusing minorities and other oppressed groups of bellyaching over our oppression?
Before this incident and her digging herself deeper in an attempt to recover from it, Kelly had just appeared on Jay Leno and touted the fact that she was different from others at Fox News because she was not an ideologue. This Santa and Jesus are "white" incident makes it a lot harder to make that claim.
Right-wing politics is marked by its contradictory stance of arrogant bullying of those it regards as inferior and its claims to being the victims of others out to get them. As such they combine entitlement and resentment: “We’re No. 1!” and you hate us for our superiority. Nice trick if people don’t think about it too hard: you’re top dog and also the underdog.