Saturday, October 08, 2011

Gutting Greg Gutfeld

Have to use that title! It's not meant completely seriously. For instance, I'm not going to prepare a dish out of him. I'm a vegetarian!

Greg Gutfeld is a Fox television personality who has a thing about women. He is not that interesting, but his statements can be used to point out the subtle devices people like Gutfeld use to put women back into their proper places.

First set of examples:
Gutfeld: Janeane Garofalo "Is As Sensible As She Is Attractive." Responding to comments Garofalo made that were critical of the tea party, Gutfeld said: "She is as sensible as she is attractive." [Fox News, The Five, 9/29/11]

Gutfeld Weighed In On Palin's "Hotness." Discussing the possibility that Sarah Palin might seek the Republican presidential nomination, co-host Andrea Tantaros said to Gutfeld: "Greg, I know you think that Palin's hot. Can she win based just on her hotness?" Gutfeld replied: "I'm turned on by her brains." When co-host Bob Beckel called him a "liar," Gutfeld responded: "I am a liar. I am lying right now." [Fox News, The Five, 7/11/11]

Gutfeld Declared Himself "A Jon Huntsman Supporter" After Seeing Pictures Of Huntsman's Daughters. During a discussion of candidates seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Gutfeld said:
GUTFELD: Can I just tell you? I've been so confused about who I want to support in the election and then I was on Twitter and I saw a picture of Jon Huntsman's family. I am -- because these are his daughters -- I am now a Jon Huntsman supporter. [Fox News, The Five, 8/19/11]
These are all about the value of women being in their looks. Even men can benefit from the looks of the women they are related to, which is good for Jon Huntsman. But ultimately these comments tell us not that much about the idea of a woman's value being in her f***ability as they tell us about Greg Gutfeld's feelings of entitlement to pronounce on this f***ability or the lack of it.

If you think about this a bit, you will find it to be the case that women pundits, as a rule, don't feel entitled to discuss male politicians' general looks, in terms of attractiveness to them. I italized that bit because all kinds of pundits can discuss the appearance of a politician when green light is given for it. But there's a difference between that and the kind of entitlement Gutfeld reveals.

Second set of examples:
Gutfeld On Solyndra: "This Story Would Be So Much More Interesting If Solyndra Was A Stripper." Discussing a federal loan guarantee for Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that has declared bankruptcy, Gutfeld said:
GUTFELD: Can I just say something? This story would be so much more interesting if Solyndra was a stripper. [Fox News, The Five, 10/4/11]

Gutfeld Twice Compared Government Spending To "A Wife And Her Credit Cards." Discussing the debt ceiling, Gutfeld said: "That's the problem with being president: You love raising the debt ceiling. It's like a wife and her credit cards. Americans have to be the husband that takes the credit card and breaks it up." He later said of President Obama: "He's like your wife running around with your credit cards." [Fox News, The Five, 7/11/11]

Gutfeld: Government Is "Your Mistress." During a debate over energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, Gutfeld said: "The government is not your mom and dad, it's your mistress. So you call her -- she never calls you, and she never comes to your house." [Fox News, The Five, 7/11/11]
These are very easy to analyze! Just imagine yourself as a woman in his audience. He's telling you that the government is like your mistress, he is telling you to think of the government as a wife spending madly on your credit cards and he's telling you that you'd be more fascinated by the Solyndra case if Solyndra was a stripper.

Gutfeld is talking to an imaginary audience consisting only of heterosexual men, possibly only of heterosexual men who have mistresses and go and watch strippers and who have wives who spend their money.

All this may look quite subtle. But when we get enough pundits like Gutfeld, far too many political programs can become Man Shows of this type. And of course most women have learned to read the message as if they belonged to the imaginary audience, too. If you have not learned that lesson you are a humorless feminazi.

The third example:
Gutfeld's Own Fox Colleague Called Him Out For His "Creepy" Comment About Her Appearance
Fox's Huddy Called Gutfeld's Comment About Her Outfit "Real Creepy." Discussing rental property laws, co-host Juliet Huddy offered Gutfeld the last word in the debate:
HUDDY: Greg, I'll give you, what, like a five-second answer.
GUTFELD: Uh, I like your top.
HUDDY: On that note. That's creepy -- real creepy. [Fox News, The Five, 8/12/11]

This example differs from the first set, even though it's about the appearance of a woman in the public sector. The difference is that Gutfeld focuses his comments on his own colleague.

He may be trying to be funny, but the possible responses Huddy has are very few. Gutfeld has pushed her against that wall. What is she supposed to say?

Bat her eyelashes and coo thanks? Stay silent? Say what she actually did? Make some nasty comment about Gutfeld's own looks?

I prefer her choice to the alternatives. But it was Gutfeld who put her into that awkward position, by deciding that he could comment on her clothing, by implying, however subtly, that she is there for her looks rather than for her competence, or that at least he has the right to discuss those looks.

And Gutfeld's comment there must be put into the wider framework that is revealed in the Media Matters examples. He's not just some clumsy oaf who tried to be nice to a woman. He's a clumsy oaf who tried to put her back in her place.