Thursday, April 5, 2007

Someone Better Hit

I'm not a morning TV guy, so really the only times I tend to tune into shows like CNN's American Morning are when the Day Job has me on the road, and I need a quick recap of the news. Oddly enough, I always tend to end up watching American Morning, because I have a strange fixation with Soledad O'Brien. This woman is the Bo Jackson of racial politics.

I've seen her at various points referred to as African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, and even Irish. Her bio on Wikipedia shows that she is the child of an Irish man and an Afro-Cuban mother, but more than anything else, she seems like an opportunist who plays whatever card is needed to open a door. I'm not knockin' the hustle, because she isn't the first [see: Elizabeth Vargas] and sure won't be the last. Still, it's odd to see someone so casually identify themselves as a certain ethnicity when the opportunity arises. When she reported live from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she laid off the perm kit, and mixed in some sistagirl colloquialisms. When she's done special reports from Cuba, I notice a slightly altered accent. And of course, anything related to New Yorkers or Manhattan is totally and completely ethnic-neutral. Soledad should write a book on code-switching, cause clearly she has the game on lock.

Unfortunately, this skill hasn't translated to good ratings, and the folks at CNN are reshuffling the deck, putting Soledad and unrelated, but ironically named co-host Miles O'Brien on the unemployment line. Turns on the catty crew at Fox and Friends is runnin' this mornin' show ish', and American Morning will "need to go in a different direction". I always love that cliche.

Soledad, crotchety old man Bill Caftery, and ex-co-host Bill Hemmer, who is probably the smarmiest, most unlikable person on TV, provided many mornings of infortainment for me when I was on the road more in a former career, and for that, I say thanks.

I'm pretty sure Mrs. O'Brien won't be headed to the poorhouse. She's smart, articulate, and well a minority when she chooses. She'll get another job, she's just versatile like that.

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