In the early morning hours on Friday, I was channel-surfing and stopped briefly on Family Feud. A white family with strong Texas accents were competing with a Latino family, and both teams had only one male in the line-up. The mother of the white family won the play for her side by answering the question “What is Ellen Degeneres best known for?” with “She’s gay.” (Uh, no, she’s LESBIAN, but since Ellen shies away from the L-word, I didn’t scream that at the TV screen.) It was the number one response, and the family hopped up and down, starting play. There were three daughters in a row, all blond, perky, and sporting names that began with H. In quick succession, they got three right answers: “She likes to dance”, “She has a talk show”, “She’s a comic actress.” Play returned to the father, and John O’Hurley, the host, said “You have a chance to make this a clean sweep.”
Dad said, with a nervous smile: “She’s known to not care for our country.”
John O’Hurley is extremely good as a host. He gets along with everybody, he laughs with them instead of at them, he seems to actually enjoy human foibles and eccentricity in an unsupercilious way. He’s a professional. But this visibly jolted him. He managed to keep his smile, even as the rest of his body went stiff and formal. The audience with their frenzied cheering at nothing much sensible also went quiet.
Of course, I can’t think of another reason he’d just assume that Ellen DeGeneres hates America, because the only thing about her that’s remarkable at all on the wingnut radar is that she’s a lesbian. Because, if it weren’t for that, she’d probably be known as a twinkly, good-hearted talk show host. Unless I’m missing something, but I can’t think of what it could be.