humiliating

The Jeb Bush Show (Real Phenomenon)

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks to an audience in New Hampshire, 2 February 2016.  Detail of frame via NBC News.

“And there’s a reason, incidentally, that we call these moments painfully awkward: The neural pathways that are activated when viewing another person’s social pain are the very same ones that are active when you watch someone withstand physical pain.”

Melissa Dahl

It really was a bad week for Jeb Bush:

To be fair to Bush, when you see “please clap” in its proper context, it’s not quite as bad as a New York Times reporter made it out to be; it’s hard to get a crowd excited enough to spontaneously applaud something as mild as “a safer world.” But the story took flight on Wednesday, likely in part because it fits one of the narratives of Bush’s overall campaign: This is so awkward it physically hurts me.

Melissa Dahl connects the dots for Science of Us, though part of me still wonders about how something like this would play into various iterations of sadism, like, to encourage the incompetent to embarrass themselves.

Oh, right. We’re talking about Jeb Bush, here.

Still, though, know what did it for me? Wasn’t watching the overweight, developmentally impaired kid do stupid and humiliating things on dares so classmates could have a laugh.

Primitive.

It was easy enough to figure that part out, because what did it for me came even earlier: child stars in sitcoms. Seriously. Punky Brewster, and certes I jest not. Watching Soleil Moon Frye get up on the coffee table and do a song and dance bit just crushed me. The hideous, dissonant shiver reaches all the way to middle age; it is a cold and awful memory.

Eighties sitcoms were terrible.

Oh. Right. Jeb.

Never mind.

____________________

Image note: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks to an audience in New Hampshire, 2 February 2016. Detail of frame via NBC News.

Dahl, Melissa. “Poor, Awkward Jeb Bush Is Giving People Secondhand Embarrassment”. Science of Us. 4 February 2016.

A Bob Beckel Moment

Bob Beckel

“These are words I never thought I would say: I feel kind of sorry for Bob Beckel.”

Jack Mirkinson

And then there is this:

On Thursday afternoon, the network informed Mediaite that Beckel—who had been off the air for a while thanks to some well-publicized struggles with drug addiction—is no longer on the payroll and won’t be returning as a co-host of panel show “The Five.” After the site said that the parting was “amicable,” Fox News went to Politico to emphasize that, no, it was not:

“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming, said in a statement. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”

To call that “harsh” isn’t even an understatement. It’s an under-under-under-under-understatement. Fox News is famous for the pugnaciousness it employs when talking about its competitors, but to turn on your own employee like that when he’s dealing with a drug problem is fairly jaw-dropping. No matter what private misery Bob Beckel may have put his colleagues through, Fox News had the option of letting him go quietly and leaving him to handle his clearly tough fight with addiction. Instead, the network chose to drive the knife through. That’ll definitely help Beckel get better, won’t it?

(Mirkinson)

Honestly, Bob Beckel’s name is not one we might enjoy recalling; as a FOX News host he has been such a horror show one would rather forget he exists. And while schadenfreude whispers from the shadows of conscience that it could not have happened to a … what, really? … is the joke really that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy? … the fact is that there is absolutely no excuse for kicking an addict when he is down. Mr. Beckel entered rehab in April, and at the time, according to Andrew Kirell of Mediaite, “As with Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett’s treatment for alcoholism last year, Beckel’s employment status remains unchanged”.

Certes, some might protest that two months is not nearly long enough, but perhaps there really are circumstances that required his termination. Nonetheless, what kind of asshole do you have to be in order to be the president of programming at FOX News? Bill Shine could have left the Mediaite suggestion of an amicable parting alone. Or he could have just said, “You know, actually, it was kind of a mess.” But to go out of his way to mop the floor with Beckel like he did?

Yeah. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your FOX News.

____________________

Mirkinson, Jack. “Fox News just fired one of its hosts in the most vicious & humiliating way imaginable”. Salon. 26 June 2015.

Kirell, Andrew. “Fox’s Bob Beckel Undergoes Addiction Rehab”. Mediaite. 30 April 2015.