Dumb Blondes for Trump, Abortion, Whatever

It has come to my attention that Tomi Lahren, whom I may have heard once on a Steven Crowder podcast, and who was apparently a hot commodity at Glenn Beck’s media enterprise, The Blaze, is now a not-quite-so-hot commodity without a media home, after a recent appearance on the Harpy Housewife Hour (aka “The View”) during which she declared herself suddenly pro-abortion.

Like another alt-right dumb blonde, Breitbart’s resident pedophilia apologist Milo Yiannopoulos, Ms. Lahren — I use the politically correct “Ms.” just to offend Ms. Lahren, who presumably prefers to be referred to as “Miss Lahren,” “Tomi,” or some kind of hashtag (“#bimboforhire”?) — has gotten herself suspended by her main employer for the unpardonable sin of revealing a little too obviously that she’s really as stupid as one might expect.

My question, however, is not why Ms. Lahren has suddenly changed her public views on abortion — we can speculate all day long as to why a 24-year-old hottie making the rounds as an overnight sensation might suddenly have a soft spot for tearing the heads off of unwanted fetuses, but why bother? — but rather why anyone should be shocked and disturbed that a 24-year-old instant celebrity who boasts of being a non-reader, who prefers Facebook to Faulkner and Twitter to Tocqueville, has turned out to be a less than perfectly reliable conservative commentator. Why, more to the point, should anyone have considered her a commentator at all, let alone one worth caring about? For all Beck’s undoubtedly sincere concern about how such a person is representing his media brand, we have to ask why in the world he thought a sound-biting, click-baiting, illiterate adolescent — for once that fabricated developmental category seems appropriate — might represent his brand well in the first place.

And the problem isn’t just Beck’s. What is Ann Coulter but Tomi Lahren disguised as a transgender woman? What about Laura Ingraham? These muckraking conservative rebels of the “new media” had no qualms about going all in with the establishment’s choice of Donald Trump to defeat the genuine conservatives in the Republican primaries. Does their political posturing amount to anything but the pragmatic careerism of young women who calculated, as the basest women always have, that sex sells, and furthermore that the big opportunities in the era of visual infotainment were on the right? Doesn’t Ingraham’s “Shut up and sing” mantra apply just as readily to these dogmatic divas themselves as to the other popular entertainers she presumes to criticize for their uninformed opinionating? Didn’t these “commentators'” mothers ever tell them that you shouldn’t write a book until you’ve read one?

Then, of course, we have Fox News, which is little more than political porn, calibrated and populated to appeal to exactly the same audience as the real thing: slightly obese middle-aged men who fantasize about being surrounded by enthusiastic hot young babes in tiny dresses. On a couple of occasions, I have been invited to appear on the radio with one of those pairs of Fox legs. Each time, as I completed my segment, I wondered whether it was really possible for one woman to suck all the intellect out of a room through a phone line, from a distance of 6,000 miles. (And please, once and for all, could we dispense with the “But-she’s-a-lawyer!” malarkey? Fifty thousand Americans pass the bar exam each year, making lawyers only a slightly more exclusive club than public school teachers. Hardly persuasive evidence of intelligence.)

Why do so-called conservatives have this fixation with hearing their political views aped superficially by loud-talking dumb blondes, literal or figurative (and female or male, for that matter)? Are they really so worried about their reputation as uncool, sexually reserved types, that they are prepared to tell themselves the most absurd lies, such as that Coulter is the new H.L. Mencken, or Sarah Palin the reincarnation of Calvin Coolidge, merely to earn “street cred” with the ultracool Left? Or is it just the same appeal as seeing scantily clad girls draped over the hood of a car in a hot rod magazine — fantasizing about an attractive woman being “turned on” by one’s stereotypically nerdy or masculine hobbies? In any case, what they should be worried about is that, as Socrates warns of acting, “the mask they wear may become their face.” In other words, when one allows oneself the luxury of playing at politics for so long, with dumb blondes standing in as one’s intellectual leaders, who’s to say when one will lose the ability to distinguish the dumb blondes from the real thinkers, the entertaining from the erudite, the cute from the cutting?

Many complex factors have contributed to the Republican Party’s devolution into the party of Donald Trump — a pure TV-politician whose fake conservatism and real political ignorance no longer even need to be disguised in order to be embraced by amusement-addicted “conservative voters” — but the rise of the so-called “conservative media” has undoubtedly played an important role, by turning conservative opinion, and the public discussion thereof, into a twenty-four-hour-a-day hellzapoppin’ sex comedy. If one Fox News diva can suck all the intellect out of a room from 6,000 miles, what can a whole entertainment market of such people do to a political movement, given a few years and the self-perpetuating nature of vice?

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