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LEARNING DAY

Learning Day: The O’Reilly Factor for Kids 🌭

It’s 2022! Bivalently vaxed, you’re cleared to celebrate Thanksgiving with elderly family at last. As you carry sweet potatoes ‘cross the strangely dim threshold of their home, the door slams shut behind you. “I’m sorry, my lovely child,” you hear Father’s mournful voice. “ ’Tis for your own good.” But what is this? Where are Nana and Peepaw?

A lone light bulb switches on, revealing a blotchy man in a denim button-down beneath a black sweater that cannot slim his paunch. Gummy wads of foam worry the corners of his dry mouth like a bridle bit broken by this wild stallion’s ceaseless jaw, this white horse’s pestilent thoughts. “Welcome back to The O’Reilly Factor for Kids!” he bellows gently. “I’m here to ‘freestyle’ some ‘straight talk’ in your ear about Your Private Life.” 

Outside, Mother’s guilty sobs are choked off abruptly by hands not her own. With her blood, we pay our passage into The No-Spin Zone, that habitat of blustery, wrong uncles, for another Thanksgiving. Maybe this year we’ll learn to listen up and fly right. 

We begin, as always, with letters from a blend of real teen narcs, some dorky attempts at an authentic “kid” voice, and a few future Antifa Molotov Brigadiers. Most of these kids want to help their parents endure the fine-grinding wheels of capitalism. Not Chris. Chris has life figured out:

Bill tells a boring story about damaging a customer’s bushes while painting his house, yelling at his klutzy friends, and lying to the homeowner. It has nothing to do with money except he’s shaken by the first glimmer of self-recognition that he’s a man without integrity. 

Like most people who graduated into a post-9/11 world, I can only imagine what a career looks like. The year this book was published I was working dawn shifts on boats and painting houses. Both jobs ruled, and I have no idea what Bill is crying about here. I got paid to climb ladders, farmer’s-carry weights, and listen to comedy albums all day with my best friend. I would quit all the not-this-one jobs of my life to paint houses again, so study if you want to, but in the 21st century every job title is Product Owner. We’re about four years out from ComedyBot automating Hot Dog production, and by that time the Boston Dynamics Paint-O-Tron will have cornered home improvement. My point is Bill O’Reilly is so consummately cranky, he managed to turn even the last great job into scolding teens. 

He reveals that the billionaires of his acquaintance are miserable because their lives are an endless chase for money. Take a moment to savor the Werther’s Original of the soul that is knowing Rupert Murdoch will die with an unfillable chasm where his heart should be, because you’re about to get yelled at by the observational comedy of the blotchiest Boomer: 

He starts referring to himself as O’Reilly, so you adolescents know he’s real down. That’s crunk! Maybe even mad crunk. Of course, everything Bill does, he does mad: 

He obviously snipped the money parts from Polonius’s speech to Laertes in Hamlet. And like that pompous pecksniff, Bill’s a moralizing blowhard who will soon insert himself into women’s bedroom conversations. But before sex comes cigarettes, because Old Man O’Reilly can’t do anything correctly.

Guh. This is a hamfisted simile to draw even if you haven’t mobilized support for igniting those fields, but Bill has gone so far as claiming Iraq was linked to 9/11, and calling for Baghdad —a place where very many human beings lived!— to be leveled. Now he’s cavalierly using the flames he packaged and sold to the American people as poesy. I was insufferably straight edge for about five years, and even school-age me would back away uncomfortably from this guy who breezily bombs other nations but moralizes about a pack of smokes. 

Speaking of cool, Bill told The Man off once:

Goddammit, I hate how often Book O’Reilly is reasonable and cognizant compared to TV O’Reilly. I have $50 says Bill “wrote” this book by dictating his Factorial thoughts on the table of contents for co-author Charles Flowers to nervously infuse with quality life advice. And I’m going double-or-nothing on famous exaggerator Mr. No-Spin conflating a local billboard offer with getting cast as The Marlboro Man. 

After admonishing you for not paying attention, he recounts the time a hot stewardess who chain-smoked wanted to kiss him. He complains about it, but notably skims over whether his species’s penis has taste buds. 

What other vices can Bill O’Reilly ruin for you? How about America’s deadliest drug? No, not white supremacy, the chemical one.

Whatever parties Santo isn’t getting invited to, you can pinpoint exactly where his imagination consoles him. I don’t want to pick up the pro argument for teen alcoholism, but I spent my entire freshman year of college getting prank-called over a comedy piece I wrote about “I don’t need to drink, homework is my drug.” I have room to stretch in the space where Santos lives and seethes unironically. And it sounds like his school’s problem isn’t an abundance of alcohol but a shortage of health class. Obviously a 12-year-old shouldn’t be having sex or drinking, but just because booze is a liquid doesn’t mean it’s going to fill in your gaps as a parent. 

I hate it so much when I agree with this asshole, because he always finds the least agreeable way of stating truth. This page exemplifies Uncle Bill’s unearned, patronizing smuggery. He’ll remark on the obvious, tell you to do the work of proving his point for him, and treat it as a rhetorical victory. If you dropped an ice cream cone in front of him, he’d find a way to mansplain gravity to you before it hits the ground. As heartbreak floods your vision, he’d sneer, “Isaac Newton: Look him up!” already strolling away to the hot new segment producer’s cubicle before you could reply. 

What? No way. Bill O’Reilly is the likeliest guy in any bar to throw an empty glass at the bartender for not stocking the cheaper brand of scotch. He’s a liver spot that taught itself English by watching Father Knows Best in hopes of seeing beer commercials. He’s the embodiment of every mediocre man in the tristate area whose idea of kink in the bedroom is sobriety. I can’t accept clattering teakettle of rage Bill O’Reilly is not, at the very least, a dry drunk. As this book’s made-up chat abbreviations would say, SMHID (Sorry, my headcanon is drinking).

Do you know what this means? This is the best version of Bill O’Reilly. We live in the greatest of all Bill O’Reilly universes, and his functionality is directly inverse to the quality of life for everyone else. There are worlds where he drank himself to death the night after recording his “Fuck it! We’ll do it live!” meme, and in them a not-dead Iraqi physicist just published her breakthrough for cold fusion. 

He might have later amended his ways. IRMC. (Imbibing rye manhattans, clearly.)

Uncle Bill made the decision in high school to never have any fun, and now he’s here to shake his finger under all your stupid, coke-dusted noses. Here’s a letter from a 12-year-old who has never done drugs and never been offered drugs, but is very worried about drugs. 

Bill, who has also never done drugs, is going to solve this very serious problem with you in the most O’Reilly way possible: trying to convince you that you aren’t enjoying yourself, that his reading bestows more expertise than your practical experience, and that these fallacies are objective reasoning. Bill’s fondest memory of 1969 was attending Woodstock just to repoint the road signs down the wrong fork of the road.   

He admits marijuana is non-addictive and less likely to cause car crashes, but you don’t want other teens’ respect because it’s uninformed. Throughout this book he eschews solid arguments to seize on the only one he can conceive: he knows your opinions better than you do yourself. In Bill’s world, pot lasts for days, is safer than booze, and makes you laugh, but is not cool even if the cool kids think it’s cool. 

Again, I don’t want to endorse kids being rad before their time, but I don’t think anything could push drugs better than the grouchiest forehead on TV trying to veto cool. Not even Guitar Chris could make marihuana-devil-tea look as cool as your friend’s angry dad inventing reasons not to toke up and rock out. This anti-weed argument is the most devastating campaign ever conceived against alcohol.

The thread eludes Bill as he explains: pot, which is less addictive than booze, is fine if you consume it in thoughtful moderation, just like booze. Don’t do it. Period. Then he lists all the smart, athletic, creative leaders in your class who smoke it with no problems. 

This is my favorite quote so far, because it led to Old Man O’Reilly getting his ass handed to him by this cool, composed 16-year-old who has read more of this book than its author did. It will please you to learn that kid grew up to have what looks like the sweet life you’d want for anyone who humiliates this blowhard on his own show, and with even more knives. 

The problem with the “just stop” addiction argument is that even for black tar heroin, somebody has to want to stop to prove you right. Otherwise you’re just haranguing them. Nobody’s going to make high school duller to deliberately lose a book argument with a guy who actually believes enough children watch cable news prime time to know his catchphrases. 

To recap: all drugs are bad, pot is more destructive than you think it is, all the cool kids are doing it, they’re wrong to like you for doing it too, don’t let it stop you from embracing life, but the cool kids are using it to enhance life. Bill’s never tried it, and all his friends who have tell him he’s the smartest man in Levittown. I think Bill was on drugs while he wrote this meandering mess. If you flowcharted his argument, it would overlay perfectly with a map of bees’ dance steps after scientists give them a speedball.

Bill, nobody knows where to find you or what that means, and not because they’re on drugs. Is that an offer of assistance? Does anyone here believe a wayward junkie approaching Bill’s mansion gates wouldn’t be torn open by extremely patronizing Doberman pinschers?

This book’s clumsy attempts to rap with the teens is encapsulated by the sex chapter arriving a single turn of the page too late to begin on 69. Leave it to this shambling echo of masculinity to fail at sex before it even starts. It’s like he has face blindness but for the clitoris. He’s never gone down on a woman except to taste a subordinate’s fear, and the most Bill O’Reilly ever gave a woman in bed was $50 for the morning-after pill. Hi, I’ll be here all week, try the veal, which Bill has microwaved and cut a slit in, insisting it’s a much-healthier outlet for The Curse of Adam’s Desire. 

At the risk of phrasing this wrong, around the time this book was being written I was dating more extremely legal teens than ever smiled at Bill O’Reilly in his life (one). She nearly broke up with me because this Irish-Catholic dummy here wanted to wait. In the ensuing decade, I took a Fox News producer and a New York Post reporter on unimpeachably consensual dates, so I’m more qualified than Bill O’Reilly to advise you on ’00s dating even if you never leave the News Corp offices, and that’s his only expertise. I’m the world authority of this truth: ignore anything Bill O’Reilly says about how to fuck.

The man who spent $45 million unwelcomely penciling his brain-penis into a decade of subordinates’ work calendars is going to lecture us about controlling our sexual urges. If you wanted to find someone less qualified to navigate the intersection of responsibility, money, and sex than Bill O’Reilly, you would first have to sculpt a fuck-golem out of the urinal cakes from a Goldman Sachs executive bathroom and scrawl “UNSOLICITED” on its forehead. 

Forty-five million! It’s a lunatic’s labor to pretend any sexual wisdom may come from a man who spent the opening week’s take of Spider-Man: Far From Home begging his phallus to predict six more weeks of winter. For that much money, you could not only buy an army of escorts for life, you could equip them into an actual army. You can’t lecture kids about responsible spending when the standard unit of your sexual repugnancy is a yacht. 

“Get a handle on your emotions before you have sex with someone,” says a man whose wife never led him up the stairs without fear he might drag her back down them. The best love this wobbling failure of the human experience ever made to the mother of his children was “working too late” to get home before she fell asleep. His idea of foreplay is a neck massage that hurts and his idea of an argument is a neck massage that hurts. 

And the worst part is this is wise counsel! Even his sensible sex advice is so joyless, it’s a jerk-off jeremiad.

At last the message becomes clear: you no-good teens stop trying to fuck Bill’s daught—Wait, I looked it up, and both of Bill’s kids were in nursery school when this got written. What lunatic neighbor spent dinner with this grouchy predator elaborating on their teen daughter’s peer pressure to spread? 

Once again, Dour Dad can’t commit to any argument beyond pooh-poohing your judgment. He thinks kids’ religious beliefs are authentic and deeply held, despite the pressure to hold them from parents who control life’s necessities. But if you’re not religious, he thinks you’re just being edgy to impress Chris into writing a song about you. 

Can you believe coeds in the peak ’60s didn’t want to spend two minutes of their newly won sexual liberation being lectured by a naked twerp? Of course he had no moves; it only takes three things to be good at sex, and he’s incapable of listening or loose joints. Bill O’Reilly considers it edging to wait for a woman to requite interest.

But seriously, this is a vulnerable admission. As someone who also intends to lose his virginity at an advanced age, I applaud his honesty. 1-900-HOTDOG’s thoughts are with the young woman or enchanted frog who deigned to let him access their person. 

Ugh, this guy talks to young people like the Steve Buscemi “Fellow kids” meme waking up from having its wisdom teeth pulled. MOST pregnancies? Bill, what kind of Promise Keeper debutantes are you creeping on? Most women can enjoy sex on its own merits if it’s not with the male lead in Irish-America’s production of The Shadow Over Innsmouth

First off, that song’s pre-radio working title was “Any Dick Will Do,” but Bill stopped paying attention to lyrical relevance when he realized there’s no guilt to savor in what these humans call dancing. More importantly, I don’t know why I’m writing jokes to compete with the juxtapositions between the man’s book and his entire angry life:

Sex is complicated, but shouldn’t be so complicated it’s newsworthy. Nothing burdens a life like the nation learning you spent $45 million to keep your dick in your pants. He could have bought every strip club in Manhattan for that price, not gotten in trouble for staring, and earned some of his money back. 

Except it wasn’t his money, it was corporate coffers, clipping the rest of the company’s War on Christmas bonuses. Bill O’Reilly is a money-pig with other people’s wallets. The lawsuits against him exponentially raised the payout for a lesson this carnal toadstool refused to learn, and the only uplifting part of this story is that some women are taking luxury vacations with money that homunculus Rupert Murdoch had earmarked in Excel for “Thought-Virus, Spreadable.”

Leslie’s going to burst into tears when she learns Robin Williams’s best joke writer was his coke dealer, but to the point: every one of these cranky gosling-steppers is a giga-dweeb. Yes, I am here to mock the children. 

They are Brittany, who in 2022 posts hustle memes conflating her MLM with a small business, Leslie, who can conceive neither children nor a life without a TV set, and Brian, who is—I’m sorry, this is just the way the world works—nowadays dealing poppers at a club called Bone Dawg Daddyz. I can’t tell you if the God of Brian’s fathers is real, but I can say with certainty He loves irony. If you raise your child to fear MTV’s The Grind, you move the zero-points of their eroticism/forbidden axis to a place where a hangnail is considered dangling flesh.  

This soothsayer, though:

I think this is our first documentation of “Hey, none of this feels right” in Fox News consumption. Bill ignores it, but I guess brownie points for picking up opposite from Rush Limbaugh’s “I’ll tell you what to think” stance:

If I weren’t confident it’s preemptively thwarting our biggest criticism of Fox I’d say this O’Reilly guy really digs, or understands, what Millennials like me called “the tube” in reference to cathode-ray technology prevalent at the time. 

Now that we’ve connected with kids over their hemorrhoid cream and second home purchases, there were just two kickass female protagonists on TV at this time; Buffy was the one JJ Abrams didn’t put in a gratuitous lingerie scene to nab post-Super Bowl views. It’s weird to pretend the thrust of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was her beauty, but not as weird as watching 24 for the cars. Is this Mad Libs? Are we doing Mad at the Libs? 

I can’t take another minute of Bill interrupting himself to remark on how much he runs his yap. He can’t be pretending books don’t have editors, because they’re the harassable producers of print. 

Bill’s only advice is the same “This thing sucks but it’s fine in moderation” grousing as every other topic, with exceptions for the him-parts. So to burn page count, he revisits observational comedy. It’s all just spinning the wheels until he gets to his favorite non-teen-sex finger wagging…

Two very real children push open Bill’s favorite thing in the world: a side flap on the “I’m not racist but…” tent. This guy got rich tilling the earth for history’s most successful gangsters, so I don’t know what his issue is with people who just pretend to be one in song. Oh wait, yes I do: Blackness is the crime. 

I know about as much of Allen Iverson’s rap career as I know about Allen Iverson’s basketball career: which is to say, twice as much as Bill O’Reilly knows about being a decent family man. But I see his argument, you don’t have to enjoy the things you enjoy if you don’t want to. For example, perhaps your selfish tastes upset your TV-commentator father? 

U.S. avocado consumption only began surging in 2005, so look how much money those of us born in the ’80s had! Why, we were practically swimming in birthday sawbucks thanks to rising lifespan rates of our grandparents. Away, my friends, to the not-dying mall! There we will buy CD backups of our favorite MP3s, and the Mr. Coffee Tamagotchi-alarm-stereos to play them.

Here are the three things I know about Mariah Carey: She left Sony because working for your ex is awkward, she wrote the greatest Christmas song in half a century, and when she was a kid growing up in the same part of Long Island as Bill, racists poisoned her dog. Leave that nice lady out of this, and don’t try to pin her tribulations on me.

IRMC.*

*It’s racist, misogynist crap.

Wow, imagine an anti-authoritarian genre about obtaining material security in an implicitly persecutional system that disproportionately impoverishes and incarcerates Black people finding an audience among men deprived of same by same. But something something, real music has harmony. Hey, being a Fox News commentator is easy! 

And lucrative. This slouch-joweled smuggo can’t get through two chapters without bragging about how much money he gets paid to talk. If Bill’s not racist towards rappers he’s professionally jealous. He really thinks he’s going to pressure kids into changing their tastes by pretending their friends are the ones hectoring them? Name a more pathetic way to get rich than One-Way Telegraph Child Bully.

Oh, wow, screamo, that was a fl—Hey! Did this motherfucker just capstone six pages of “Black people: why don’t they try harder?” with swiping the United Negro College Fund slogan? Jesus Christ, the part of America that’s this white would pry your fillings out with their fingernails if they weren’t superstitious that a bite could turn them.

Nonfictional children Jason, Jennifer, Jenna, and Jeanette write in to say they’re too stressed with school to have fun. Bill’s first and only response is to enumerate all the ways that fun isn’t fun. Then he gives you extra homework of writing an exhausting list of things he can help you stop enjoying. FUN!

“You know what I mean” is Bill O’Reilly for “I can’t be bothered supporting my argument. Why do you have to be such a little shit as to question it?” This is another chapter where Bill has nothing to say other than “Fun: stop having it,” because he looks exactly like a Mother Superior who’s suspicious of anything you can’t offer up to Christ’s suffering. 

On the one hand, he’s not wrong about moderation. On the other hand, which is stroking Bill’s semi-turgid sex organ while telling a producer he’d like to lather her boobs, he’s not the guy to say what’s cool. He’s gonna try anyway:

That’s bullshit: the joy of hooky is like nothing else in this world. The nervous energy of being out of bounds is the closest our frontierless existences come to riding for a horizon, beholden to none. If I were going to explain it to Bill in terms he understands, I’d say “Picture the second you release your wife’s neck but gravity has yet to take hold of her. In that instant, your phone rings. It’s your sexy employee calling to ask if she can move to a hotel room that isn’t accessible via yours. The universe is a wild place, but there is a balance within it.” 

“You make the call” is another lazy aside when this XXL water bear can’t be bothered to have a point. Nearby, Charles Flowers wrings his hands nervously. This year’s tough talk has gone long, but almost too well. We are all tired. Can we make it through pie without a fiery rant about “beepers (the cell phone for thugs)”? Only the quick-hits section knows for sure.

There are many reasons not to shoplift from our wage-thieving overlords, but Bill implores the youth to have social consideration the free market lacks. This mother-hen spent five pages shaking his head at all the fun you thought you’re having but only expends 85 words on “Don’t steal.”

The positive feedback loop that is Bill O’Reilly getting rich nagging society, then bragging about the money he made doing so has sealed itself. I am exhausted. You are exhausted. Neither of us has any money. We should drag him from his home and dance in the light of his burning mansion. 

Wait a second…IYNWIM? If you…NO…what I mean? Let me look up Bill’s fictional ch@$p3@k. 

No. No, that can’t be it. That’s a whole cloth invention, a cybersteampunk paleologism. Let me just quickly don these 1D double-red-lens specs I bought at the Charles Flowers estate sale…

Ah…that makes so much more sense.

If Twitter still exists in your timeline, these are Brendan’s best jokes this month.

3 replies on “Learning Day: The O’Reilly Factor for Kids 🌭”

“Get a handle on your emotions before you have sex with someone,” says a man whose wife never led him up the stairs without fear he might drag her back down them.

That’s only missing the details that came out in court that Bill O’Reilly dragged his wife down the stairs by the neck in front of their daughter.

Or I guess you might read it as choking her on the stairs in front of their daughter? It’s important to be fair and balanced.

https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/05/court-docs-show-bill-oreilly-was-accused-of-domestic-abuse-207527

I just want to say, I had sex before I ever drank or smoked pot.
So I guess I went through the gateway backwards.

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