Sometimes when a person makes a personal decision to keep their real identity in the closet or - in the case of Clark Kent - in the phone booth, it is a private affair. But when that person is a national icon who for years had professed to be someone completely different, then he is, then that becomes news.
Last night, Bill O'Reilly made news. Slap-my-face-and-call-me-Mary intensity level news.
Much of the reason to conceal who you are comes from the fear admitting who or what you're attracted to would affect what people think of you. But sometimes, living with the lie can be more painful than accepting the very truth you've tried to hide. Certainly the last person who you'd think would be in fear or dishonest about who he is would be Bill. So you can imagine my surprise when Bill, a man's man if there ever was one, came on the Factor last night and displayed guts rarely seen on national TV, coming out, no hold barred, to the Folks™ .
Even today the words still ring as if Mt Helen herself had announced that she were really Mt Bob.
"I think there is some basic racism on the Right," admitted Bill, "We don't like Latinos..."
Okay, I'm not going to get into the "racism on the Right" That's for Bill to defend on another day. But what shakes the very foundation of Independents everywhere, Latino or Right, straight or gay, is that Bill admitted that he is "on the Right." The communal "We" declared loud and clear that Bill is no longer an Independent.
For years, that's what he's said he was. An Independent. Not on the Right. Not on the Left. And doggonit, we all know Bill has always tried to appear Independent, even-handed, attacking the Left, and readily going toe to toe with all those Righties whom he disagreed with. I don't have the list of those on the Right handy, but I'm sure there's over three or four of them.
Now Bill may say he was misquoted (it's on tape), or that he was joking (even Bill jokes better than this...though not much better). But one thing is for sure, once and for all, the con should be over. Bill is as much an Independent as is the site this column is being posted on. The only difference is, this site isn't trying to bullshit anyone. You know where they're coming from.
And from this point on, now that's he's outed himself, maybe Bill will also admit where he's coming from.
Then again, Rock Hudson never admitted that he was...a rightie.
Disclaimer: Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (www.greatfailure.com) and his "All The News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday (www.dailynews.com/steveyoung), right next to Bill's...really.