- After the media feeding frenzy that was
the OJ Simpson murder trial of 1994, one of the talking-head legal analysts
covering the case who rose to subsequent fame was defense attorney Greta
Van Susteren. A frequent guest on Larry King Live and other CNN shows,
Van Susteren was given her own nightly show by the Turner-owned network
in 1998 called Burden of Proof.
- In late 2001, Van Susteren was bumped
in favor of former Fox News talk-show host Paula Zahn. It was Zahn, you
may remember, who was the subject of the now infamous and short lived CNN
ad campaign which referred to her as "just a little sexy."
- Immediately after being dropped by CNN,
Van Susteren joined her fellow-OJ trial relic Geraldo Rivera at Rupert
Murdoch's Fox News Channel. The move perplexed some, given the fact that
Van Susteren, like Rivera, is anything but the typical right-leaning pundit
that seems to so dominate the Fox News line-up.
- Van Susteren received a plum prime time
slot at 10 PM EST, immediately following the Hannity and Colmes discussion
- Prior to beginning
this broadcast, Van Susteren, to the surprise of many, underwent plastic
surgery, reportedly to remove "bags under the eyes," which were
the product of 20 straining years at the elite level of the legal profession.
But when recent photos of Van Susteren were posted on the Fox News website,
it became obvious that Greta's alleged "nip and tuck" entailed
a heck of a lot more than we'd been led to believe.
- Greta Van Susteren, in her days at CNN,
did not resemble the new generation of hard-body bomb shells that have
proliferated on Turner's and Murdoch's networks over the past decade. That
is to say, she looked like a normal human being, with all the blemishes
and imperfections that you and I see when we look in the mirror every morning.
She was 47 years old, and wore the battle scars entailed by a stressful
professional life in the modern world.
- She didn't wear low cut blouses to accentuate
a high and full breast line, didn't cross her legs at a side angle, ala
E.D. Donahey and Katie Couric, giving viewers a tease of her upper thighs,
didn't use her appearance to achieve a success that she could not attain
by using her brain.
- But the "new" Greta bears so
little resemblance to the old Greta, it is likely that not one person out
of a thousand would find her recognizable unless told. If removing bags
from one's eyes can do this much, then a few hours with a plastic surgeon
could turn Abe Vigoda into the next Brad Pitt. Gone are any hint of wrinkles
on the forehead; the once crooked teeth are now straight and pearly white;
the crows feet, sagging chin, and saddle bags have vanished completely;
a new hair-do and makeover were an obvious success.
- Greta's appearance is so radically different,
it is startling -- perhaps even disturbing.
- When Greta looks in the mirror, does
she still know the person who returns her gaze?
- Is Greta made shallow by the fact that
she willingly shelled out a small fortune to make herself look a lot more
appealing to male TV viewers? Or is Greta herself the real victim here,
forced to evolve (or mutate) by the looks obsessed big wigs in the TV biz?
- A time existed
(not that long ago) when gorgeous TV anchors were anathema in the TV biz.
One of the few true bombshells to first emerge was Jessica Savitch, who
many critics (unfairly) deemed a "bimbo" and "airhead"
because of her looks. Plane looking pundits and anchors were not the exception
but the norm until the mid 90's, when Murdoch's network, a bastion of journalistic
integrity if we've ever seen one, first emerged. All the women, literally
EVERY one, on Fox News is not just attractive, but eye popping, drool inducing,
jaw dropping sexy. CNN has inevitably followed the trend, hiring such anchors
as the aforementioned Zahn, and former model and actress Andrea Kramer.
It was Kramer, on CNN's Headline News, who generated controversy last year
when her nude pics from 1986 became a popular item on the internet.
- How sad a societal commentary is it that
a woman of Greta Van Susteren's intelligence must engage in costly self-mutilation
in order to be accepted in the vast TV wasteland?
- In an era when 6-year old girls regularly
die of anorexia, teenagers with rich parents receive liposuction and breast
implants, and children are shunned and pushed to suicide because they're
too "fat" and "ugly," how much farther can the media's
standard of "beauty" continue to be pushed beyond all reasonable
or realistic limits?
- The gulf between the beautifuls and the
norms is not limited to the world of elite media. A SUNY Albany study showed
that people of both genders who are considered "attractive" are
more likely to be hired and promoted than their homely counterparts.
- Do you feel angry,
short-changed, or bitter that you live in a world which places less value
on qualities like wit, intelligence, creativity, charity, compassion, and
courage than on physical appearance? Do you wish you could turn back the
clock to an era in America when one's looks were not a pre-requisite to
- I'm not an exceptionally good-looking
person. That is to say, I look normal. I'm short, my hairline is receding,
my teeth are a little yellow, I have pock marks from my teenage acne. But
I am just as smart, dynamic, inventive, knowledgeable, and capable as any
young hottie I've ever met. Why the hell should I have to work twice as
hard in order to find the success that I deserve?
- Let's not put the blame for this sickening
trend on anyone but ourselves. The TV, movie, and magazine execs throw
images of taut and exquisite flesh at us because we demand it. We buy their
homogenized sexual stimulation packages like the well trained drones that
we are. We shell out $7.75 to catch a glimpse of Jennifer's Lopez's rear
end at the local cineplex, we pay $1.99 for the latest TV guide showing
traces of Gillian Anderson's bust line, we sit in stupefied arousal like
horny dogs as ex-models and porn stars read us the "news of the day"
from their teleprompters.
- I'm truly sorry, Greta, that it's come
to this, and I weep for you, but I must also thank you for serving as a
great reminder of the total loss of our country's soul.
- From Tobin Squires
- Dear Mr. Goodspeed:
- I recently read your article and wanted to say thank
you. I am not in any danger of winning any beauty contests. I am an average
looking 22 year old male college student, and to say the least I am sickened
by the sexualization of almost every aspect of our society. That is not
to say I am some bible thumping traditionalist, it just means that I also
believe that we are certainly at a strange time in history.
- I'm not usually inspired to write someone like this,
but you have struck a nerve in me. I work as a janitor in the evenings
and get a lot of time to think. Concepts of Beauty are a common inquiry
for me and I have come to a strange way of thinking about it. I have taken
to a "Napoleonic" concept of beauty... that is, everyone is ugly
until proven beautiful.
- It makes me laugh to see that written out, but it works
in my day to day life. With this Napoleonic concept, I find it much easier
to deal with people... and because of this way of thinking (I can look
at my female peers, dancing on bars in the skimpiest of clothing, and not
be fooled by the festival of flesh (such is college life). I don't know
if I am making any sense, but it works for me.
- Thank you again for the article and the insight into
this era of artificial beauty that we seem to be stuck in. In some small
way I take comfort in the digital revolution that we are also stuck in,
because in its purest sense, it strips a person of any physical body and
leaves them with nothing but the power of reason. Rene Descartes would
- From Chris
- Mr. Goodspeed,
- Your article Normal Versus Beautiful was tremendous!
I agree with you totally.....It appears we are facing a new and dangerous
way of thinking and looking at the world around us, of course, all bought
and paid for by our favorite corporations. I loved how you wrote:
- "I'm truly sorry, Greta, that it's come to this,
and I weep for you, but I must also thank you for serving as a great reminder
of the total loss of our country's soul."
- How true! I never liked Greta, but it was because I disagreed
with almost everything she said. After reading your article, I even questioned
myself if it was because of her looks. But honestly, Mr. Goodspeed, I
shudder to think of our future in this new world of the advantageous and
opportunist methods and preferences of self-appeal.
- Thanks again for your great article!
- From Jaime Ballester
- Michael - I just ran into your Greta article posted at
RENSE.com. I just can't believe my eyes! I'm still picking my jaw from
the floor! I never watch FOX but I was wondering why Greta left her CNN
show. Thought she had gone back to practicing law full time again. This
is unbelievable! You said it very well, its even DISTURBING!
- I will be showing your piece to my "normal"
43 year old wife tomorrow, as she is asleep already tonight. Your closing
paragraph says it all, what a sad state of affairs, and it will only get
worse. Will be watching FOX tomorrow for more shock treatment.
- "Normal" 45 year old father and husband...
Jaime Guaynabo Puerto Rico
P.S. Can't fathom her voice with that "face".
From Anton Thidis
You know, there are many, many people who would describe the old Greta
as "attractive." I think its abominable the way Madison Avenue
sets the standard for what it and is not "attractive" or appealing
to the eye, especially with women.