A few liberals I know tune into Fox News from time to time to get themselves all worked up. They watch the news shows and gnash their teeth over what they consider to be the mendacity, the rabble-rousing, the conspiracy-mongering. Well, I don't like tumbling through the Fox looking glass either, but I have another problem: Every time I watch, I get powerfully aroused.
The pundits think Romney lost the election because he won votes only from America's white males. Wrong. He won votes from only half of America's white males. The other half never made it to the polls because they were home drooling over Ainsley Earhardt, Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum, and Gretchen Carlson.
Earhardt, who appears on Fox's morning show Fox & Friends, looks like Lana Turner being kissed for the first time by John Garfield in 'The Postman Always Rings Twice.' Don't know what that means? Let me put it another way: She looks happily startled by the right touch in her right place. What a nice possibility to wake up to.
Where there's sex, however, there's anarchy. Sitting on a sofa between her two male co-hosts, who look like FBI agents in their dark suits, Earhardt wields her spring-break smile, displaying breasts and legs as she does her network-mandated shtick. Yet every so often, she looks put out by having to appear to put out. One morning, she made a robotic remark about how people should not depend on the government (showing a bit of leg) and then asked (with a discomfited face), "Why are more Americans on food stamps? Because they can't find jobs. They can't feed their families." And then it hits you: Earhardt is making a subliminal connection between sensuality and compassion.
The Fox women are studies in passive-aggressive revolt against their ideological masters. Last fall, while covering General Petraeus' adultery, it seemed as though Megyn Kelly had half the talk-show corps of military analysts groveling at her feet. Even as she was pursuing the gaga Fox line that the Petraeus affair was somehow part of an Obama cover-up of Benghazi, she was making her own statement: Powerful white males are fools.
In other words, these women rise above erotic innuendo even as they masterfully manipulate it. Like their liberal counterpart, Maureen Dowd, what is so damn sexy about the Fox women is that they can be so damn contrarian. But their contrarianism cuts both ways. In their frank sex appeal, they embody the comedy and farce at the heart of sex. When Kelly describes the pepper spray police used on Occupy Wall Street protesters as a "food product," you don't want to argue with her. You want to tug on the thread of farce in that remark, melt with her into laughter – and then argue with her.
The food-product comment incited liberal detractors to once again hurl the charge of "blond bimbo" at Kelly and, by implication, all the Fox women. Hearing liberals piously defame intelligent females who also happen to be nice to look at is a painful irony. It also misses the point of what is being conveyed by these women.
Most blond anchors on Fox are dyed blondes. I don't care how enlightened a male you are, a dyed blonde is sexy because she has, at least on some level, subordinated her will to male desire. But she is also dangerous. She has another identity concealed by the one she submissively shares with you. Lurking within every Fox blonde is a CNN brunette. The Fox men wear ideology like a jock strap: O'Reilly, Hannity, Stossel, and their clones have their balls in a rhetorical sling. Their sole support comes from repeating the same political line, day after day. The Fox women wear ideology like a bra. They seem always on the verge of taking it off.
What the Fox-anchor blondes offer is the essence of American female sexuality, whether it's Marilyn Monroe or the Midwestern girl waiting tables in Manhattan or the telegenic siren puncturing swollen male reputations from the heights of American journalism. Stimulating both the male mind and his desire, the Fox blondes hold out the promise of rational intelligence and sexual gratification – two precious and tragically incompatible human qualities. Of all the shameless lies Fox tells, that beautiful illusion may be the most potent.