This is incredibly embarrassing. It is arguable that “just looking” is a betrayal. And here I am, confessing not to “just looking”… but to actually feeling.
(Why mention it at all? Because it is eating me up. Also, I am hoping for feedback, indicating I am not alone in this… particular behavior.
Over the decades, I have seen thousands of women on television. The following reaction occurred only twice, which, although admittedly concerning, does not establish enough of a pattern to make me a candidate for prosecution on Law & Order: DTV (“Disgusting Television Voyeur.”)
No excuses. It happened. And I need badly to talk about it.
Back in 2004, I was seriously smitten with Bethany McLean. * (* These are not household names. I am not talking Baywatch bathing suit runners. I came across Bethany McLean watching C-SPAN 2, during one of their always-illuminating “Non-Fiction Weekends.”)
Bethany McLean had co-written a book entitled The Smartest Guys in the Room, exposing the corrupt business practices of Enron, a formerly highly praised operation revealed to be a “Ponzi Scheme” passing as a legitimate enterprise. In a series of articles for Fortune magazine, fighting blistering opposition, Bethany laid bare Enron’s fraudulent “Business Model.”
Did I find Bethany McLean physically attractive? I did. But something deeper and truer caught my unwavering attention.
She was smart. Sparklingly articulate (especially for a “Numbers” person.) Demonstrably courageous. On top of which was this “thing” about her – a remarkable stillness, signaling personal confidence and unimpeachable integrity.
Throw those attributes in a blender and push the button. Pour it in a glass. You get Bethany McLean.
The last time I saw her on C-SPAN Bethany announced that she had gotten married. Somehow, that changed the dynamic, marriage (and children) discombobulating the insanity. After that, I never saw her or ever – until now – thought about her again.
Bethany McLean was the first and only symptom of this aberrant behavior.
Now, there is Katy Tur.
Katy Tur is a reporter for MSNBC, charged with the unenviable duty of covering and traveling with the repellent Donald Trump political campaign. Every couple of days, Katy appears on TV for her “stand-up”, a few minutes of “face time” where she updates viewers on the latest insult to humanity perpetrated by the Republican candidate for President of the United States. (You can probably infer where I stand in this election.)
There is little similarity between Katy Tur and Bethany McLean. Katy’s “stand-ups”, though always informative, feel comparatively unpolished, Katy exceeding her allotted minutes, contradicting the show’s “anchor”, becoming occasionally tongue-tied as she extemporizes her report.
Katy’s uniqueness is underscored by her appearance, distinguished by – with respect – a straight-as an-arrow aquiline nose – not a “cute as a button” poll-tested “television” nose, but a proud nose of individualizing distinction.
All of which I find helplessly endearing.
My precise “Moment of Enchantment”?
During a lull at one of the conventions, MSNBC offered a segment where a gathering of female reporters shared their experiences covering the tough, seemingly endless political campaign.
When her turn came, Katy confessed to her latest assignment requiring her to depart her previous posting in London, triggering a difficult “breakup” with her European boyfriend.
The moment she said that, Katy’s hand flew immediately to her face, offering a moment of unvarnished vulnerability.
Oh, man! I wanted to hug her. Katy’s natural reaction was so startling – and painfully human – I connected person-to-person with that woman, realizing how rarely genuine, intimate feelings are ever openly displayed in front of the cameras.
I started watching her regularly, hoping she’d “score big” in her appearances, worrying when she looked tired, wondering whether candidate Trump had ever… I did not even want to think about that.
I knew I had completely “lost it” when… well, you know that saying “When you’re standing in a hole, stop digging”?
One night, the network’s Chris Matthews introduced that analogy, and, in the course of her subsequent “stand-up” Katy mentioned it again.
Only she quoted it backwards.
When she began, “As you yourself said, Chris, ‘When you’re digging a hole’…”
Realizing she was headed for disaster,
I immediately changed channels.
I had gotten “too close.” I was unwilling to witness the “train wreck.”
I know the trajectory. The presidential campaign will some day (mercifully) come to an end, and Katy Tur will eventually exit my consciousness, as did Bethany McLean, more than a decade before.
This shameful attachment occurred twice.
If it happens again,
I gotta find a “Support Group.”