You've all heard it by now, I guess. How the Vice President for Programming at Bravo Network, Andy Cohen, called the performance by Staten Island's PS 22 (a school I actually know of) of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" at the conclusion of the Oscars "awful," "horrible," and "the worst." He also supposedly said, according to the New York Times "If I wasn't going to go out to some parties I would have slit 'em right there. I was looking for a knife to stick in my eyes, it was so terrible."
Now, not only is this a ridiculous assessment, as it was a perfectly charming and energetic performance by a group of enthusiastic elementary school students, Cohen used an incredibly violent and blood thirsty metaphor to express himself. Somehow, I don't think this is an accident. The kind of people who put on Bravo programs such as the Real Housewives of Orange County or New Jersey or Washington, D.C. or whatever the latest new version is, are quite happy to inflict this wound on American culture that oozes with bad taste and is justified simply and solely as a money making proposition. It has no purpose other than to rake in capital and to exploit rather odd people. Such programming lowers American culture to a new nadir and it is hardly surprising that it is served up principally by a man who could say such vicious things about this innocent group of kids.
Hardly surprising, too, that such talk ends up on another right wing television program that enjoys accentuating our basest instincts and the least angelic part of our natures. I think we can do better. Such language must be challenged at every turn. It is not just talk but a manifestation of hate, sometimes subconscious, but more often than not a characteristic part of what it means to be American, where wielding a gun or using an angry profane word is the surest way to prove one's manhood.