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A poetic plea to the ladies of The View, after the O'Reilly incident

Has it come to this?

Bill O'Reilly appeared on the View and the discussion wound its way towards the "Ground Zero mosque." Soon, the discourse degenerated. He condescended to Joy Behar. Joy Behar responded by putting bunny ears on him.


He pointed out that Muslims were responsible for the attacks on 9/11, omitting words like "rogue" or "extremist" that usually accompany this statement. Whoopi was taken aback. The discourse degenerated further.

And then Joy and Whoopi walked out. My colleague Melissa Bell has the footage.

For once, I agree with Barbara Walters, who put it like this: "You have just seen what should not happen. We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking offstage. I love my colleagues, but that should not have happened."

Can't we sit anywhere and discuss things like civilized people?

Come on, guys.

Whoopi Goldberg's outfit was clashing violently and intensely, and yet it managed to stick around for the episode.

Which brings me to this villanelle:


A Villanelle

I know that public discourse isn't smiley
But listen, everybody on the View,
Please, guys, just don't walk out on Bill O'Reilly.

I'm not trying to sneak this past you slyly
We've seen the scenery those pundits chew
We know that public discourse isn't smiley

But you're unique, you host Barack and Miley
And clashes? Sure! All Whoopi's outfits do.
Please, guys, just don't walk out on Bill O'Reilly

That "mosque" that everyone thinks of so highly
Has been the downfall of more folks than you
We know that public discourse isn't smiley

You folks are never ones to put, well, shyly
The strong opinions that occur to you
Still, please, just don't walk out on Bill O'Reilly.

I've always said -- and now, I add it, wryly
"Rally for Sanity? Long overdue!"
We know that public discourse isn't smiley
Please, guys, just don't walk out on Bill O'Reilly.

By Alexandra Petri  | October 14, 2010; 3:42 PM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Liberals being intolerant.

Posted by: cleancut77 | October 14, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Brava! Not nearly enough people write villanelles these days. I'm convinced that one that I wrote on an Atlanta Braves blog helped get them into the playoffs.

Posted by: AlexRemington | October 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Liberals are all for free speech unless it doesn't match their VIEW.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | October 14, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Cute. The display on the view was oh so typical of those (mostly)flaming liberals and their intolerance. They were so disrespectful and disdainful of Mr. O'Reilly; too bad he has too much class to have walked out on them! Joy is nuts and Whoopi, well, she is Whoopi and we don't expect any more of her. Liberal Policy: if we can't cram it down your throat, we walk off and come back with some other form of cohersion.

Posted by: arcticrose1 | October 14, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

You know, I really would like to think that we could "sit anywhere and discuss things like civilized people."

However in the world that I envision that happening, journalists on the Opinion page for a newspaper of record would actually take the time to craft out intelligent statements. Instead we get links out to other news sources (other bylines at the Washington Post and the Huffington Post), gossip sites (TMZ),and entertainment news sites (Entertainment Weekly).

Also - writers on the Opinion page wouldn't include repeated criticism about a woman's clothes. In the Washington Post, that's the demesne of the Pulitzer-winning Robin Givhan, and it belongs in the Style section.

(I realize I used an archaic word when I used "demesne", but as Ms. Petri feels a "villanelle" is the way to discuss this matter, I an guessing this was the day assigned for using pre-1800's vocabulary.)

Having intelligent discourse does not mean you show off your erudition. Intelligent discourse is weighing the issue, debating it reasonably, and not lapsing into passionate, personal argument.

As for my take on the matter? You had two comediennes - not journalists, but entertainers - of notoriously strong political feeling interviewing Bill O'Reilly. Walking off made for good drama, which is Ms. Behar's and Ms. Goldberg's profession. What else was going to happen?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | October 14, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Liberals being intolerant.

Posted by: cleancut77
Uh no. Liberals responding to a bigot who is offensive. People of good conscience can disagree, but for Bill to come of he show and spout "Muslims killed us" vs saying, "muslims who hate even moderate muslims", or "reactionary terrorists hiding behind religion" or, etc is simply ignoranant. There are 2.57 billion Muslims in the world, 99.9 % of which in Indonesia, Chad, Moracco, the US have no interest in terrorists like the 19 killers who followed Bin Laden. It is like saying "a christian Killed jews at the holocaust musuem",etc. Factual in the largest possible picture, but certainly not nuanced or intelligent. His sleaze should not be validated.

Posted by: cadam72 | October 14, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Just bringing that maroon on the show is to validate him. I agree that walking out wasn't the best option but I can honestly say I might have done the same thing, the guy is such a sleaze-bag. I think they walked because they had no control over having him on and just couldn't stand being near him.

Posted by: jborst | October 14, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay I give up. Dana Milbank invented "Rough Sketch" but now he has a new job at the Post doing something else. Look up all that Alexandra Petri has written since taking over "Rough Sketch." Why in the world, then, is the column headed with a big picture of Dana Milbank and a link labeled "About Dana Milbank"?

Alexandra, stand up to this. It's ridiculous. It does a disservice to both of you and it is absolutely baffling to someone who just comes across one of (YOUR) columns and sees your signature and this Dana Milbank stuff at the top. Enough. Take ownership. Post, have some common sense.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter1 | October 14, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Whoopi and Joy understand and support the Constitution o f the United States. My grandparents were Christians in Northern Ireland. She was Protestant, and he was Catholic. They had to flee after death threats. When I became of age, I volunteered and joined the Army, and I served as an 11B Infantryman. Most of my time in the field was in squad or platoon size operations. We would have discussions about what we were fighting for. It always came back to the “Bill of Rights”. To me the most important was “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Posted by: lynnlm | October 14, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

It's a pity Goldberg and Behar didn't keep walking... I am no fan of O'Reilly - or any other shock jock - but these two were in way over their heads...

All we missed was one of them laying on the floor kicking and screaming. Look you dimwits -- O'Reilly is a shock jock. For you to get you panties in a knot: "If you don't agree with me, I will scream, curse and then stomp off because this is MY show and how dare you disagree with me!!!" merely shows how in over your heads you were. Maybe you ought to stick to gossip column stuff. Personally I could care less about the two of them, their show, or their point of view, but they looked like spoiled little witches.

I hope neither Goldberg nor Behar ends up staying -- even for such an obviously garbage show such as this, they drag it down to new lows.

Posted by: medic2010 | October 14, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

O'Reilly got his panties in a twist when interviewing Jeremy Glick. He cut Glick's mic, and physically threatened him. O'Reilly is a PINHEAD and a bully!

Posted by: Freethotlib | October 14, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

what do you expect from the ccc ding dongs on this show.the only thing missing from the perfect fiasco was rosy.

Posted by: dagner49 | October 14, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Bill O'Reilly knew exactly what he was saying and knew exactly the response that he would get. It is so easy to drop a bomb and then one remembers the apology.

Posted by: carolineC1 | October 14, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Telling a woman, "Shut up, you might learn something" is demeaning. Bill O'Reilly should be ashamed of himself. Why do GOP women put up with this treatment??

Posted by: SmallBusiness | October 14, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Telling a woman, "Shut up, you might learn something" is demeaning. Bill O'Reilly should be ashamed of himself. Why do GOP women put up with this treatment??

Posted by: SmallBusiness | October 14, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Chasmosaur1 - Perhaps you should widen your social circles a little. Many of us consider "demesne" to be a perfectly acceptable word, neither archaic nor even particularly obscure.

Posted by: Bob-S | October 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

(Apologizing for the use of a word that you chose intentionally does come off a tad condescending, though.)

Posted by: Bob-S | October 14, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

What's with the "guys"? Are women supposed to take it as a compliment when they're called guys, as in "You're as good as a guy"? If guys is supposed to be a unisex word, why wouldn't "gals" serve the same purpose? (After all, gals make up the majority--51%--of the population.)

In the case of Petri's poetic plea, gals or girls would fit the meter as well as guys. But it's an insult to women to call them gals or girls, I suppose? What strange creatures we humans are, to find offense in calling women gals or girls, but not in calling them guys--or men!

Posted by: Boomerang1 | October 15, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse


Don't worry about it. The general level of conversation usually found on these boards would DEFINATELY b spllng it "domain" and calling me out for spelling it incorrectly.

It's nice to know some other people who comment didn't need the explanation ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | October 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Ya'll swaydough-intellect-to-all demesning, villanelle spoutin', smarty pantsers must think your poo don't smell! Heck, when my wife gets her demsnes she don't beeoch near as much as y'all panty knotters, and she can still ring my villanelle, if you get my meanin'. Were ya'll raised on a unicorn ranch or somethin'?

Posted by: divtune | October 18, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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