I am, as my readers and friends know, mother to three rambunctious boys who make Rosie O'Donnell look like Shirley Temple singing "On the Good Ship Lollypop." My husband is included in this grouping of three, as well he should be. Everyone in my house, except me, plays ice hockey, so perhaps you can imagine what it is like here with pucks being shot willy-nilly into the kitchen, the air smelling of rotting sweat, the washing machine going at a steady pace and everyone thinking they can solve the world's problems, including my eldest son Dan, who is autistic and doesn't talk or communicate that much. But being male, he doesn't actually let that get in the way and manages to give advice whenever and in whatever manner he can.
Still, he leads a hard life.
He needs a champion and someone like Rosie O'Donnell would do fine. If only she wasn't afraid to speak up about it. To speak for Dan, who can't speak himself.
Sitting at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday hosted by New York Women in Communications, I was thrilled to hear Rosie let Rupert Murdoch have it. She was very funny about it, too. So funny that I am afraid it got her fired because today she said that when it comes to The View, she was throwing in the blanket.
She resigned, I think, the same way Imus "resigned."
Barbara Walters did not help. She got up at that luncheon and said: " I would like to point out that Rosie's view is not always mine. I would like to say for the record that I am very fond of Rupert Murdoch."
I am very fond of Barbara Walters, or at least I used to be. There is something in a name. And unlike Ms. Streisand, at least Barbara Walters spells it correctly. She's also a lot less remote than Barbara Stanwyck, after whom I suspect my mother named me with the hope that some elegance would emerge. I don't think it did. My mother's first instinct may have been right. She wanted to dub me "Benita," until someone reminded her about Mussolini. Benita Fischkin. Nice ring to it. Ah, but this isn't about me. Or as my mother used to say before every party I attended: "Barbara it's not your wedding." (She actually said it to me the day of my wedding but I had her there).
Still, let's face it. This is a blog. If it's not about me then it most certainly is about my reaction. So here goes: I don't think Rupert Murdoch takes offense easily. He is not Donald Trump. He's a big boy. He lets his hair do what God intended it to. He doesn't run a real estate business. He runs a media empire. People who run media empires usually can take a joke or two, even at their own expense. But if he was the type who did insult easily, Rosie was so funny with her jibes that he would have looked like a stony jerk if he had walked out on her. I didn't see his face close up, but as far as I could tell from the monitors all around the place he was royally amused. Sir Rupert. I was standing by the door when some of his boys, the New York Post honchos got up to leave. Gossip czar Richard Johnson, the legendary columnist Steve Dunleavy and later, editor Col Allen, himself. They didn't look like they were insulted., either.They looked like they were leaving because it was late and they had work to do. When Rosie teased them, by name, they all had big smiles on their faces. She asked if they were going because there'd been a murder in Queens, or something. She asked them what they would do if she performed an "unusual" act or two on one of the tables when they weren't around. (Answer to that question: Write about it anyway).
Still. Rupert Murdoch is Rupert Murdoch. If you can pull off making fun of him in front of hundreds of women, you can probably tell anybody anything.
On my own way out, as the luncheon ended, I stopped Rosie to let her know that as the parent of a son with autism I appreciated the hour long show she did on The View about our kids. She smiled. Then I told her that she needed to do more; to look at the possibility of a "bio-medical" cause. At that she stiffened, or at least it looked to me like she did. She knew what I was telling her. I was telling her to do what Oprah did - and then more. To talk about the possibility that a toxic Mercury preservative in vaccines may have caused the current autism epidemic. To talk about the possibility that some environmental trigger has been at fault.
What I should have told her is that I wished she had questioned some pharmaceutical honchos with the same zest she displayed when faced with none other than Rupert Murdoch.
If Barbara Walters scolded her about anything, it should have been that.
Now though, Rosie has a second chance. Rumors are flying that she wants to do her own show. She, herself, has said she will return to The View after she leaves in June to do just one show: autism redux. Rosie, if you do that we need you, the kids need you. For starters, we need you to ask the political powers that be why they are so polite to the pharmaceutical industry as we all try to get to the sad bottom of this.
If you can let Rupert Murdoch have it, you can insult a sponsor or two.
Oops, another puck just flew into the kitchen.
And, yes, I do realize there is now an opening on The View. And yes, I am applying. Right here and now.
Maybe what The View needs is an Autism Mother.
Then again, there might not be room for another Barbara, or even a Benita. (Particularly after this posting).
No matter. I can suggest thousands of other candidates. With one in 150 children being diagnosed with this, there are a lot of women out there with pucks flying around their kitchen - literally and otherwise - who can dish it out. God knows they can take it, too, and are, at least as fearless as Rosie was when faced with three tiers of Waldorf Astoria tables and at least one Rupert Murdoch.