Taking one for the Blogosphere, Ann Althouse liveblogs Katie Couric’s CBS debut. Just to add to the craptacularity, it comes complete with a cameo appearance by Morgan Spurlock(!)–who seems an odd choice for Katie’s first show–but right at home on a CBS news show.
Update: Mary Katharine Ham makes several infinitely less snarky points about Katie’s debut:
The irony is that the same women who talk about how Katie’s debut is of paramount societal import due to her gender are the exact same women who complain that she’s coming under extra scrutiny due to her gender.
I prefer to see Katie Couric’s rise to the anchor chair as just another accomplishment of the thousands of high-profile, amazing accomplishments American women make every single day. Couric’s promotion to Rather’s seat was not all that surprising except, it seems, to a couple of women writers. The fact that it was not that surprising is testament to the fact that we are not oppressed.
Katie is not a symbol for all womankind. She’s a woman with a big, big job to do, and the chance to do it well. We will watch and we will judge her performance, but my career hopes do not hang on it. The glass ceiling is not reinstalled if Katie fails to pull CBS out of third place in the ratings.
The women writers who tout Katie as a symbol complain that she will be judged on her hair, her suit, her earrings. This is trivializing, they say, and scrutiny a male anchor wouldn’t have to face. I would argue that treating Katie’s ascendance to head talking head as a milestone for women’s rights is a bit trivializing as well, to the relative frequency of major accomplishments by women in American society.
It’s a safe bet that Katie’s biggest cheerleaders won’t, of course. What Julia Gorin recently wrote about the strange interplay between global warming and global terrorism…
Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they can’t deal with real threats. Combating the climate gives nonhawks a chance to look tough. They can flex their muscle for Mother Nature, take a preemptive strike at an SUV. Forget the Patriot Act, it’s Kyoto that’ll save you.
…Applies equally well to those who champion Couric’s debut on the evening news as The Most Important Event In The History Of Women, Ever, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to a harsh reality that actually does grind down the quality of millions of women’s lives. (Jonah Goldberg’s thoughts on “Hypcrophobia” are also worth re-reading.)
Uber-Geeky Update: Witness a glass ceiling of an entirely different sort (though created by a patriarchal show business mogul!) get blasted through with–more or less–actual blasters!