Inside the Alleged Mind of Bill O'Reilly
When we decided to write Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly for Nation Books, we realized that simply harvesting O'Reilly's usual TV and radio insanity would not be enough. We'd have to venture farther--deep into the steaming, muddy jungles of Bill's prose.
Actually, the truth is, only one of us read these. That's the disadvantage in the co-authorship of a book. While Amann blithely skipped about these volumes gleaning useful material, I was deep within the mines slowly contracting black lung: "If you please, gov'ner, Mr. O'Reilly wrote a nasty bit 'bout 'illary 'ere. Is it useful to ye?"
Unfortunately, when it comes to the world of literature, the best thing you can say about Bill is that he's written five times as many books as Paris Hilton's dog. Even more unfortunately, we had to read them--all of them. Here are a few liberally edited excerpts from our book's reviews of Bill's horrible, horrible body of work:
The O'Reilly Factor for Kids
The first line in the foreword to Bill O'Reilly's latest opus starts out "I wish I'd had this book when I was a teenager." Really Bill? You wish you'd had a book written by you as a fifty-five-year-old man? You know, I also wish that as a teenager I'd had a book written by a future me. The first line of my book would have been, "In about twenty years, a spectacularly obtuse TV personality named Bill O'Reilly will write a piece of dreck called The O'Reilly Factor for Kids. Whatever you do, for the love of Jehovah, DON'T READ IT."
The O'Reilly Factor For Kids's putative purpose is to give teens some honest, straightforward advice from a guy who has been there and who, as a father himself, knows how to rap with the kids. Instead, it's a deeply confused tract on everything from sharing, to reasoning with bullies, to proper skin care. At times, Bill sounds like he's talking to five-year-olds ("You have to learn--and believe me, I know how awful these words can be when you want something--to share").
Sometimes he appears to be counseling the elderly ("But excessive sun exposure, according to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General, can lead to skin cancer and other skin growths, cataracts, premature aging of the skin, and several other types of health problems"). But most of the time he sounds like a deranged Carmelite nun trying to relate to teenagers on their own level ("The adult doesn't have to be in the room snappin' to OutKast, but one of these specimens must be somewhere on the premises"). Is this a joke? Wait, perhaps I haven't explored that possibility thoroughly enough. Bill, seriously, is this a joke?
Well, it must be a joke, because there's a belly laugh on every page. Don't believe me?
"Almost everybody watched the TV show Friends on NBC. Unfortunately, some kids think that's what real friends are like.... In real life, true friends stand by you when things get rough." (Yes. Now let's go visit Mr. Green Jeans and see what he thinks.)
"Okay, you know I've made money. It was a long time coming, so I don't usually spend much of it and I certainly don't show it off." (Okay, Bill, obviously you do show it off. You're now averaging one reference to your huge salary every two pages. For God's sake, Bill, these are kids! Can you possibly be this insecure? Do you flash a fat roll of Benjamins in front of the dog every morning, cooing, "Who's your daddy?")
"Now, I don't want you to think that I sat around when I was your age and carefully chose my companions because of their virtues." (Carefully chose my companions because of their virtues? Are you kidding with this? Who are you talking to? 'Cause I guarantee you, all the kids have left. You sound like Truman Capote, for God's sake. Can you possibly be this tone deaf? You might as well quote Ralph Waldo Emerson while you're at it.)
Throughout the book there are "instant messages" from O'Reilly in which he delineates the difference between "pinheads" and "smart operators."
"Pinheads and Smart Operators: Instant Message Number 3,"
IMNSHO [which O'Reilly and all teens apparently know means 'In my not-so-humble opinion'], a pinhead gets sunburned. Okay, a nice even tan can make you look healthy and sexy. Or it can advertise to your friends that you've had a great winter vacation at the beach. But excessive sun exposure, according to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General. . . .and then on he goes about those legendary teen bugaboos, cataracts.
Bill, I hate to be crass, but have you seen your skin? You look like something Ed Gein made after he was finished upholstering the settee. Do you think you're really going to reel kids in with your thoughts on proper skin care? If they didn't bail out after your take on gangsta rap (page 85, I'm not kidding), you've definitely lost them now.
Secondly, these kids are teenagers. Honestly, what do you think you're accomplishing? Why not just write, "A pinhead finds blood in his stool and ignores it. A smart operator gets regular colorectal screenings and eats a diet rich in fiber"? This book will impress no one--not the teens whom it's supposedly written for nor the grandparents whom O'Reilly was probably actually hoping to fleece. It's just plain too stupid.