With Steve Barile  

A WORLD OF MY OWN (and How To Get Into It) 


Those of you who know me (intimately or otherwise) or are familiar with this column must surely know by now of my passion towards Elvis, wine, women and song.  I place “Elvis” and “song” in separate categories for 2 reasons:  1) Elvis stands alone, and 2) I, like all fellow human mammals, have a tendency to compartmentalize. 

Every now and again, however, my warped and worried mind resorts to wandering off to ponder things I never talk about such as my passion for the destiny of our species and the planet we inhabit.  Although I find most television programming banal and condescending, it can, albeit rarely, provide information and/or food for thought.  This most recently found its way to me in the form of a videotape that was brought to me by a dear, life-long friend and fellow Elvis freak named Eugene Criscuolo.  Eugene recorded something called The O’Reilly Factor, a Fox Network News television program that’s usually reserved for discussing vaguely important matters such as eminent mass destruction and the state of the union and the world at large.  The host’s character, Bill O’Reilly, uses this forum to spew his own pigheaded political commentary.  This particular taped episode has O’Reilly again embarrassing himself by incorporating a segment on Elvis, another subject of which he obviously  knows little about. 

Presumably under the guise of saluting “American Film Icons” because of “Oscar Week,” Elvis is chosen for O’Reilly’s microscope.  In reality, it is transparent that the segment is merely a desperate ratings ploy not without contradiction, sloppy editing and ridicule.  This is exactly the kind of thing the EPE police should be monitoring instead of wasting time, money and energy on designing the next Elvis bean bag that glows in the dark.  An individual who calls himself “cinema professor” at UCLA named Richard Walter is interviewed as the resident Elvis expert.  Has anyone out there in Elvisland ever heard of this left coast flake?  The good professor immediately exposes his ignorance of the subject matter by saying “King Creole was initially written for Marlon Brando who had other commitments so the film was then turned into a musical for Elvis.”  Wasn’t it Flaming Star that was written with Brando in mind?  Walter goes on to describe Elvis (someone he’s never met) as a shallow thinker who wasn’t very well read and in his spare time liked to do “superficial things like hang around with friends.”  To this there is no retort of the spare time activities that Elvis enjoyed such as reading philosophy and religion, motorcycling , horseback riding and playing racquet ball. The only other person on the panel more full of bullshit than Walter is O’Reilly himself who wonders if all the “bad movies” were a result of drug abuse. 

This “tribute” to American Cinema becomes more bazaar when this O’Reilly dolt labels Elvis as “shrewd” for holding on to Colonel Parker and in the very next sentence questions whether Elvis was smart!  Wonder what yardstick O’Reilly uses to measure the intellect of an individual.  Evidently, his own formal education has left much to be desired in broadening his own mind.  Want more? 

As host of this tribute to Elvis (American Film Icon), O’Reilly proceeds to place blame on the Elvis films for the demise of his career!  Get the contradiction here?  Even Oprah can be more coherent than this.  I should think the focus on the cultural effect of these movies should be a positive one when expressing reverence for American Cinema.  You know, the good, clean, innocent and all American entertainment they provided.  Instead, we are subjected to this tabloid drivel which attacks the American Icon not only on a professional level but a personal level as well demeaning his intellect, preference of spare time activities and even his choice of personal attire!  Totally unaware of who Elvis was and what he was about, the suspected tone-deaf host mocks “the purple capes and big belts.”  Completely missing the fact that Elvis, and only Elvis, was able to pull off such sartorial splendor!  Such inaccuracy when detailing the accounts of someone who lived  30 years ago (a relatively short time ago) feeds my skepticism of the primitive scriptures our species is so willing to fight, kill and die for.  If O’Reilly and his ilk wish to be received as serious journalists, a forum such as this can be rich with opportunity to offer possible solutions to the severe problems of the day which programs like this are designed for. 

Finally, know that I am aware that such riveting television as O’Reilly’s Elvis segment has not been seen by many of you.  If anyone has seen it though, please feel free as usual to be in touch and to look for my upcoming review of the next Oprah class in which we are taught that positive thinking can bring back the dead.  So, don’t give up on seeing Elvis live and in person once more in the Greatest Show on Earth!  Welcome to my world, Steve Barile
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