Fox Business' Stuart Varney has all the characteristics of a Christmas villain without the redemption
Almost every holiday story has a villain. From the Grinch to Ebeneezer Scrooge to Frank Shirley, there is usually one person seemingly hellbent on either ruining someone else’s holiday or determinedly resisting the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with this time of year. So when it came time to compare right wing pundits and politicians to holiday villains, I thought it would be simple. It turned out to be anything but.
See, the problem is that most fictional holiday villains are redeemed by the end of the story. The Grinch’s heart grows and he embraces the love and joy of the season. Ebeneezer Scrooge, after his magical journeys with three ghosts, becomes the poster child for Christmas cheer. And Frank Shirley realizes that ending Christmas bonuses without telling anyone – he replaces them with a membership to a Jelly of the Month club – is a pretty horrible thing to do. The villains become the heroes, resplendent in their newly discovered holiday cheer.
The GOP is currently having to teach its politicians how to “talk to women,” right wing pseudo-historian David Barton is promoting the lie that there’s no such thing as PTSD and Half-Governor Sarah Palin is super excited about the commercialization of Christmas, you betcha. Real life villains, with no redemption in sight.
There is a holiday villain who does not seek redemption: Henry F. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Mr. Potter, brilliantly portrayed by Lionel Barrymore, is mean, cruel, greedy and dishonest to the core. When Mr. Potter discovers the $8,000 deposit Uncle Billy accidentally shoved into a newspaper, the glee on his face is horrendous. His mind is working, realizing this is the end of the Building and Loan. This is Potter’s dream; put the Bailey Building and Loan out of business, get their homeowners back into his slums and continue making money off the backs of the poor.
You never know what happens to Mr. Potter, but when Harry Bailey raises a toast to his brother, George and cries that George is “the richest man in town,” you see that Mr. Potter’s hold on Bedford Falls has lessened. Greed and cruelty are no match for Zuzu’s petals, love, empathy and the joy of helping people when they need it.
Looking back at statements made by right wing pundits over the past year, one name kept popping up over and over again. One person so cruel, so mean, so completely without empathy that when my husband and I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” this past weekend, I jumped out my chair, pointed to Mr. Potter and said “THAT’S HIM!” Who is him? The one and only Stuart Varney.
In what may be Jon Stewart’s best take down ever, he addressed some recent comments by Mr. Varney regarding minimum wage, the poor, and the Pope. Yes, Mr. Varney has decided the Pope deserves scorn and ridicule for correctly pointing out income inequality caused in part by unfettered capitalism. Mr. Varney also does not think the working poor deserve more money. There are a lot of really ignorant people featured in Jon Stewart’s piece, including the woman who wonders why we should stop at a $15/hour minimum wage, why not make it $100K an hour, but Stuart Varney takes the cake. And he would, too; he’d steal it right out of the hands of a starving kid.
During an on camera segment with Juan Williams, Mr. Varney says “I know you’re gonna give us the emotional side of the story, people need $15 per hour to live on, they’re starving without it, okay I got that. I want to ask you about the economics of it.” Varney’s tone was condescending and dripping with sarcasm. He “got” the emotional side, he just doesn’t care.
Stuart Varney doesn’t seek redemption; he thinks there is nothing wrong with believing the poor in America aren’t really poor because they have air conditioners and stoves. In Varney’s world, the Pope’s a horrible person for daring to suggest greed is bad. And suddenly, a flaming right wing pundit doesn’t like his religion mixed with his politics, I’m sorry what? That’s the most confusing aspect to Varney’s little rant.
Right wingers love to mix religion with politics. Oh wait… their religion. The one that teaches “I got mine, screw you,” “The wealthy and powerful shall inherit the Earth,” “You can take it with you” and my personal favorite “Starve the poor to feed the rich.”
Congratulations, Stuart Varney, you are a modern Henry F. Potter. You will never seek redemption, you will never empathize with those less fortunate and you will never know the absolute joy that comes with being on the side of equality, tolerance and peace. I know you graduated from the London School of Economics and think you know all there is to know about finances. What you don’t seem to know or care about is how incredibly difficult it is to survive on minimum wage in America.
You don’t get a prize. Maybe you should pop over to McDonald’s and pick up a Happy Meal.