In yer old pal Jerky's opinion, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most inscrutable, mysterious players on the contemporary politico-socio-cultural stage.
On the one hand, he's clearly a ridiculous ass-clown. He's a thuggish, pompous, preening caricature of a human being; a living illustration of conservatism's warped ideal of manliness. A know-nothing know-it-all, his clumsy lies -- which he mostly spits out off the cuff for fear of having his encyclopaedic ignorance exposed -- crumble under a bare minimum of scrutiny. He's a living paradox; a sexual predator who masquerades as an upstanding moralist, and an arrogant, slander-spewing bully whose own ego is of such crystalline fragility that any criticism directed towards him -- no matter how mild or undeniable -- is grounds for launching all out war.
In these wars, O'Reilly uses every weapon at his disposal. His prime-time perch on FOX News, his nationally syndicated, three-hour daily radio broadcast, his many books and his various newspaper columns have all served as ordnance in his personal battles against a host of blood enemies, including the dastardly likes of Al Franken, Keith Olbermann, the nation of France, people who say "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas", and the very concept of Truth, itself.
And yet, despite all the times he's been exposed as a liar and a hypocrite, despite every failed frivolous lawsuit, despite every dark threat of physical retribution, despite every time he's come off as an unhinged psychopath on the edge of total mental collapse... there he is, day after day, night after night, occupying acre upon acre of prime real estate on our TV screens, radio airwaves and bookstore shelves.
The question begged is: WHY?! What possible purpose could it serve to have such a contemptible, shameless buffoon as one of the conservative movement's preeminent media personalities? Nobody with a shred of common sense or a modicum of human dignity takes Bill O'Reilly seriously. They can't, because he won't let them. O'Reilly swallows up all of conservatism's alleged character strengths and vomits them back up as perverse parodies of what they once were. Resoluteness becomes pig-headed obstinacy. Loyalty becomes blind obedience. Stoicism becomes shrill victimhood. Individualism becomes meddlesome pecksniffery. It's almost like FOX News is using O'Reilly as the human equivalent of one of those signs you see at the entrance to carnival rides: "You must be THIS STUPID to believe this shit."
Maybe that's it. Maybe by being so intolerably awful, O'Reilly and his ilk are helping to winnow the truth-hungry wheat from the unquestioning, herd-like chaff. Studies have shown that FOX News watchers know less about current events than people who don't follow the news at all. This apparent contradiction makes sense only if the purpose of FOX News isn't to inform, but to indoctrinate. And as the house organ of The Powers That Be, that's exactly what they're doing. They're leading by example, providing ready-made role-models for the day -- and if TPTB have their way, that day is coming soon -- when all those mindless, nihilistic couch-potatoes are called upon to serve as the citizen spies, conformity enforcers and concentration camp guards of tomorrow.
So you'd better get used to Bill O'Reilly's smug, blotchy face, because unless some drastic changes take place, it's the face of your future.