Digital Culture

Terry Gross is my hero!

Listen to Terry Gross verbally smack Lynn Cheney around on Fresh Air. Lynn Cheney (the wife of Dick Cheney) has written a couple of children’s books, one on history. Terry calls her out on a number of issues, from revisionist history, patriotism, the women’s movement to gay marriage and Lynn’s gay daughter. Terry actually gets Lynn Cheney to say, on the record, that she does not support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Very interesting stuff.

Originally seen on Bookslut.

One reply on “Terry Gross is my hero!”

Here’s moy post on the show:

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lynne Cheney Kicks Terry Gross’ Ass
Okay, so why does Terry Gross have Lynne Cheney appear on her show? Is it really because of Cheney’s latest children’s book, When Washington Crossed the Delaware?
Is it because Cheney is a trained historian?
Or is it because Cheney, a Republican, is not the typical guest on Gross’ show and she wants some “balance”? I suspect the latter.
Clearly the show was a tug of war, with Gross trying (unsuccessfully) to get Cheney (being a mother of a lesbian and a woman in a gay-hating party) to reveal her true feelings about homosexuality. Cheney did not bite. Sorry, Terry.
Instead, Cheney put forth the party line on history on Terry’s show with great success. America is the best place in the world, we’re the luckiest people ever, we are always progressing (with a couple minor missteps along the way), and we are moving more in more into the bright sunlight of equality . . . .
Cheney appealed to the audience that this narrative is the best one to put forward to children, who are too young to deal with the nuances and complexities of much of our history, and are too sensitive to be exposed to too much of the dark side of it.
Terry asked one question (that I recall) addressed to Cheney’s argument about history and the teaching of it. It was a fairly good question, but one that Cheney easily brushed aside: she asked whether kids brought up with this story would later become cynical when they learned more about history and came to recognize “the lies my teachers told me.” Cheney’s response was that the basic story line of American history was true and that any other story for children would be inappropriate.

So what should Terry have done? I ask this question in all sincerity knowing how hard it is to be on the spot with someone and not knowing whether to be confrontational or engage in a dialogue, whether to engage in questions about the private (what people do) or the public (what they state publicly as their beliefs).

And here Terry had a person on her show with intimate knowledge of this administration (being married to the vice president) and who is committed to putting forth a party-line view of history through her books. And this is not just any administration. This is THE worst administration in American history. The contradictions are obvious, right? How can U.S. history be all about progress when the most regressive (and dangerous) administration ever is in office RIGHT NOW? How can a person who is a trained historian talk about a progress narrative (and claim to celebrate it) and at the same time participate in a regressive movement?

Cheney talked about Martin Luther King, Jr., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Bella Abzug as though they were part of her lineage. They are not . . . every one of them would be horrified at the actions of this administration. But they are conveniently dead. The living progressives, such as members of the second wave feminist movement, were discussed in the interview, but Cheney handled the issue beautifully. These feminists made Cheney “check boxes” — if she was pro life and a Republican, she couldn’t be one of them. Cheney made these progressives seem close-minded and exclusionary. Meanwhile, this administration does more than make people check boxes; it annihilates any political opposition that it can’t coopt. Gross lets her get away with it.

Cheney also made a small pitch against impugning the personal integrity of others and said that the practice has led to a decline in the quality of political dialogue. Um, yeah. Easy to say after a campaign in which your side politically assassinated the opponent by spreading lies about him.

Terry, please stick to interviewing musicians. Lynne, why don’t you try doing Amy Goodman’s show?

posted by Barry at 11:53 PM

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