May 5, 2008, - 11:00 am
By Debbie Schlussel
This is one of those rare cases where “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” isn’t just a figure of speech.
In this case, the female dog who was sleeping around and won’t stop talking about with whom she allegedly slept, has the surname of Walters, the first name of Barbara. And she has the very sad, insatiable need at her twilight age of 78 to get more attention.
Walters, in a bid to sell her new 612-page book, “Audition,” is pimping out former U.S. Senator Ed Brooke . . . telling the world that she had a long-term sexual affair with him, while he was married to another woman.
But the man she’s throwing under the bus is 88 years old. He only recently fought off breast cancer and had a mastectomy. He is on the edge of his grave and certainly toward the end of his life. Why is she doing this now . . . or ever? Why is she doing this, other than to sell books and earn for her publishers the $4 million advance she received for this $30 tome of drivel?
And why does a woman, who’s made millions each year and is in the wealthiest 1% of Americans, need to ruin this man’s life at the end of it–just to sell books and make a few more dollars she doesn’t need? Are the millions not enough? Are her inane celeb-filled specials and daily stupid daytime yenta-fest on ABC not enough?
Edward Brooke is a private citizen who has been out of politics and public life for three decades. He has three children and countless grandchildren. They are the ones who will be hurt and embarrassed by Walters’ unnecessary TMI (Too Much Information) revelations. The only ones who will benefit from this gossip are Walters, her publisher, and her book agent.
This happened over three decades ago. Why bring it up now?
Other than gossip and selling books, it also appears that Walters wants to show us how “hip” she was because she slept with a Black man. But it doesn’t show us her hipness or racial diversity of bed partners. Instead, it shows us what bad taste and poor judgment of character Brooke had because he made the huge mistake of sleeping with this yenta with extremely loose lips and zero sense of decency.
These days, interracial relationships aren’t a big deal, and we really don’t care about the “implications” the revelation might have had then for their respective careers. Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, Roxie Roker (Helen Willis of the interracial couple on “The Jeffersons”) and Sy Kravitz (parents of Lenny Kravitz), and a host of others had relationships. But they didn’t pimp each other out for a few million dollars the way Walters has.
Brooke is a fiercely private man. After a divorce in 1978, he publicly decried his dirty laundry being aired in public. Surely, Walters knows that. You’d think that after recently battling serious cancer and moving on from Walters and public life for over three decades, Brooke would enjoy a right to privacy and a right to live his last years in peace. But those two things are now null and void because Barbara Walters, yet again, is showing the world her vulgar personality, he utter lack of class and dignity, and–frankly–her despair that she and the details of her life are no longer important, nor are they interesting.
So, to make them seem interesting, to sell books, Walters is provocatively dishing on this poor octegenarian/soon-to-be-nonagenarian on–where else?–“The Oprah Winfrey Show” (airing Tuesday). It’s sickening. One woman of questionable high regard ruining a man’s life on the salacious, patronizing show of another woman of even more questionable high regard. This is the double-team nightmare no red-blooded American male ever fantasized about, surely not the classy Ed Brooke.
Walters writes that if her father and sister were still alive, she couldn’t have written the book: “It’d be too painful for them, too personal.” How exactly does she think it is for Brooke, who is very much alive? Walters writes that she was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” of her mentally-disabled sister. It should have been vice versa.
In news reports of Walters’ revelations, Brooke is being called “the Barack Obama of that day.” Puh-leeze. Obama doesn’t even come close. The only thing they share is skin color. Brooke was a class act–a brilliant liberal Republican whose foreign policy positions, unlike Obama’s, were actually pro-American. He didn’t hang out with people who bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol, and he didn’t hang with supporters of Islamic terrorism or Nation of Islam loons. Or preachers who print the HAMAS charter and hang with Farrakhan and Qaddafi. Unlike Obama, Brooke is a man I’d gladly have voted into the White House.
And for that–and sleeping with a tasteless big-mouth, long past her expiration date–he must now pay.
While the thrice-divorced Walters may think she’s revealing something here, the only thing revealed is solely about Walters: that she was a skank before the slang term was born, that she continues to have no class, and that the level of respect and gushing traditionally showered upon her is vastly over-rated and always has been. Nothing new in any of these revelations.
I’ve never understood the conventional torrent of respect showered on this woman by the world that calls her “a great journalist.” This is journalism? We’re told she “paved the way.” As far as I can tell, yes, she did pave the way for journalists with thick Boston accents and heavy lisps, all one of them. For the rest of us, she paved nothing but Monica Lewinsky interviews and stupid questions about trees. Well, she’s tight-lipped about at least one thing: We don’t yet know what kind of tree Senator Brooke would have aspired to. Thank Heaven for small favors from this extremely selfish woman.
“Don’t kiss and tell” is sage advice, clearly never taught to Ms. Walters. What a shame that in all those hours in “The View” dressing room–while a skilled hairdresser manicly teases the seven hairs left into a faux mass of volume atop her still-scheming scalp–no-one thought to teach Walters that a woman of any substance never tells.
Yes, “never kiss and tell” would have been great advice for Walters. But even more sage advice for prominent men in America would have been, “Don’t sleep with Barbara Walters.”
At this stage of the game–and, likely, many decades before it–that’s a warning most straight American men with eyesight don’t need to hear, anyway.
Most of them, except, sadly, then-Senator Brooke.
At age 78, Barbara Walters has shown us that she’s shown common sense and dignity the door.
If only she’d gone quietly into the good night. But since she won’t–and she’s trying to take down a man who deserves to be left alone–it’s just time, well past time, for her to go.
Her decency–if she ever had a shred of it–already left long ago.