Not long ago shouting head Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior shot up the bestseller list with nuggets of wisdom: "So I believe we must strive to improve America, but we must also keep faith with the basic tenets of Judeo-Christian philosophy and competitive capitalism that the country was founded on. That's why I march under the banner of traditionalism." This "Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" describes himself as the product of a strict Catholic upbringing, ready to ferret out hypocrites, moral degenerates, and all manner of truth spinners. O'Reilly's appeal among conservative evangelicals and millions of other Americans seems to rest on his skill as a no-nonsense culture warrior. He asks straight questions and demands straight answers. For years now he has targeted hip hop and rap music for lyrics that strike him as vulgar, harmful to children, and deplorable.
In a strange twist, audio clips of O'Reilly reading from his pulppy 1998 book, Those Who Trespass, have surfaced on the Village Voice's website. The banality of this material is matched only by its softcore weirdness.
With recent national discussions about the role/impact of Rush Limbuagh, I've been wondering about O'Reilly's place on the national scene. Does Limbaugh or O'Reilly deserve serious attention in our national debates concerning the direction of conservatism?