Monday, June 7, 2010

Goodbye Helen Thomas

Her long career in the White House press pool ended with regret and sorrow.  Is anyone seriously surprised!?


Let's review the facts:  the woman is 89 years old.  Ageism has long since ceased to be an issue...at least for those who wanted to keep her there for their own reasons, whatever they might be.  And she was only happy to oblige, considering this was her very life! Perhaps others thought it was cute; perhaps her handlers were psyched to have a veteran reporter-turned-columnist have a dedicated chair in the briefing room; perhaps the White House figured she would mellow with age and be there to lob softballs in her dotage.  Anyone paying attention would know they'd all be wrong.  Here was a lady who was going to use up every last single moment she got...and it came back to bite her (and them) in the ass.  While the rest of Washington was busy humoring her, she actually had some thoughts that she made public -- something she no doubt would have assiduously NOT done in her prime.  The fact that she is no longer -- and hasn't been for years -- in her prime needs no further elaboration.

Except.

As adults, we like to make much of what comes out of the mouths of babes.  Equally, we like to talk about "shit my dad says"...the mouths of our elders.  Isn't it funny that Helen Thomas has been essentially enabled for years by a White House press office wanting to cajole her into being the nice, old lady they thought she was.  Oops!  Turns out she was definitely old, but not so necessarily nice.  Even if they had stopped taking her seriously, it appears she was very much still taking herself seriously...and was quite ready to speak her mind.

Score one for the elderly.

Her motives are her own.  The fact that her parents came from Lebanon -- though Christians -- may have been a factor.  Or, perhaps, she really felt for the plight of the Palestinians.  Or, perhaps, she's a horrible anti-Semite...we really don't know. Regardless, she -- by design or by virtue of her advanced years -- simply "let fly".  Critique it as you will, but it's still fascinating as a trail-blazing doyen of the press world deciding to comment as opposed to her normal calling to report.

It might be a little late, but I wish her a good retirement.  I doubt it'll be happy, but I hope it can be.  Eventually.