It’s been an excruciatingly long week. It began with the Daytona 500, where Tony had a less than stellar day and I spent an interminable 16-hour caution drinking with Andy Levy. For the rest of the week, I’ve been a shut-in, toiling away on my master’s thesis, due inexplicably soon, drowning in Durkheim and Freud and Geertz, reminding myself to eat and bathe, and assuring myself that any of this actually matters. I can sum up my fragile state of mind in one sentence: My mother wished me a happy birthday, and I said, “When is it?”
During a brief respite, I was flipping through the channels the other night only to discover that I have no desire to watch the Olympics, and that every year my interest drops significantly. Initially this puzzles me—as a child I used to really enjoy them. But after thinking about it, I realize that the reason I once liked watching the Olympics so much wasn’t because Katarina Witt had such a great sit-spin. It was because I was allowed to stay up late for two weeks out of the year to watch TV with my parents. It was like a slumber party. But then, so was the first Gulf War (a pass to stay up late and watch TV, that is, not a slumber party—unless perhaps you were a couple of Saddam’s kids.) Now that I can stay up as late as I want—and thanks to the demands of work and insomnia I do — the Olympics have become the Halloween candy of adulthood. Sure I could eat an entire bag of Good & Plenty, Nerds and Twizzlers in one night, but would I want to? Sorry, Vancouver—all I see when I turn on NBC is a pending stomach ache and dental surgery.
Proof that America is intrinsically more interesting to Europe than it is to us: Brits know who Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are, and you have never heard of Cheryl Cole or Katie Price.
I read George Will’s WaPo column in which he says that populism is inherently “whiny.” He’s brilliant and reasoned, blah, blah, blah, but I’m increasingly beginning to suspect that we’ll get an Obama endorsement out of him in 2012. Unrelatedly, would Charles Krauthammer be scared or flattered if I sent him a love letter?
I read that Ellen Degeneres has demanded a $150,000 clothing allowance while on American Idol. It’s actually not a lot of money, and I don’t really have an issue with it. But how much can 10 pantsuits cost?
Like everyone else, I’m counting the minutes until the staged Tiger Woods apology, in which his agent says he will address a group of “friends,” and will not take any questions. Isn’t that the same thing as writing a letter?
I’m chatting in the greenroom with a pundit friend of mine on the other side of the aisle, who asks about my new book. I tell him it exposes the anti-Christian bigotry of the liberal media. “Huh?” he says. I say that the mainstream media is regularly attacking Christianity, Christian America and Christian politicians, and that in the liberal culture, Christians are kooky, stupid and dangerous fanatics. He remains totally nonplussed, and tells me I must be making this up. The next day, I read that a Chicago man had his daughter baptized without his ex-wife’s consent. Liberal media outlets are now calling for his arrest.
Okay, so I collect mass-market religious objects. Talking Jesus dolls, Holy Mother cookie jars, papal potato chips—anything that’s part of the mass marketing of religion. I think it’s fabulous, kitschy, and part of a genuinely important cultural commentary. So, while picking up a gift for a friend’s new baby, I came upon what is now definitively the BEST item in my collection. And just in time for Passover. It is a “Box of Plagues.”
As the box promises, it’s a “Great way to teach children about all TEN PLAGUES!” Inside there are 10 small toys, all relating to— you guess it—the plagues. Representing the plague of blood? A fake cup of blood. Representing the plague of darkness? An eye patch. Boils? A sticky hand with boils on it. I am in heaven. Pun intended.
I take Esquire’s Survey of the American Woman because, you know, I’m American. And a woman. Among other interesting inquiries, it asks me if I’ve ever been to a strip club, can change the oil in my car, and if I like Michelle Obama’s hair. If I were to receive a gift, would I most want lingerie, a trip, jewelry or an Xbox? I obligatorily feign outrage that I can’t choose “a book,” and then scoff at the idea of telling Esquire if I’ve ever been cheated on. Leave it to a men’s magazine to surgically probe the American female experience.
I’m preparing for my trip to CPAC, and hear some disturbing rumors. One is that conservatives at the conference can take a whack at a Pelosi piñata. Another is that they can lay into a Harry Reid punching bag. And a third is that all the teleprompters are named after Obama. Is this really the best we’ve got—puerile party games? If there’s a Joe Biden dunk tank I’m walking out.
I know this makes me hopelessly geeky, but I just adore CPAC. It is a surreal sea of Stetsons, NRA belt buckles and 18-year-old boys in ill-fitting suits. There’s bad food, good liquor and enough absurd bumper stickers to cover a 747. It is at the same time adorably earnest and reassuringly tongue-in-cheek. And there’s nothing more amusing than seeing Stephen Baldwin and Tom DeLay in the same room. Best moment: In 2008 a friend and I were walking out of the Omni Shoreham, and came upon a homeless man sitting on the street corner with a sign that said, “Bush is Bi.” Chew on that a while.
S.E. Cupp is co-author of “Why You’re Wrong About The Right,” (Simon & Schuster, June 2008). Her second book, “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity“ comes out in April 2010. She is a columnist for the New York Daily News and a regular guest on “Hannity,” “Larry King Live,” “Fox & Friends,” “Geraldo,” “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld,” and others.