Holy shit, remember that dude Geraldo Rivera? The edgy, muck-raking journalist from 40 years ago? But then he kind of turned into a supremely annoying one-man tabloid? I hadn’t seen him around lately, so I’d assumed he’d been sent off to Joke-Butt Island, where guys with 70s porn mustaches go to die, but no, he popped up in my news reader this morning with a column in Fox News Latino on professional throbbing-gristelian (rhymes with “Aristotelian”) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Rivera writes like a third-rate blogger. As a second-rate blogger, I ought to know.
His column is titled “Geraldo Rivera: Arnold’s Telenovela.” In it he enumerates the “three stereotypes [that] color her story.” By ‘her’ he means Mildred Baena, the woman who Schwarzenegger — who as you know is now at the center of a so-called “love child” scandal — exploited, pronged, and impregnated. Rivera calls Baena “Patty” or “The Mexican Maid!”
The “three stereotypes” involve Baena’s status as an immigrant menial whose sex appeal was irresistible to the powerful robot governor. Rivera fills in the narrative with colorful speculation.
Rivera’s main objective in the piece appears to be a takedown of Schwarzenegger (flecked, of course, with the admiration all dudes feel for other dudes who demonstrate in their sexploits “chutzpah, arrogance, narcissism, and cosmic balls”). He does, in fact, suggest that, if the title weren’t already held by John Edwards, Schwarzenegger would be “the creep of all time.” However, no journalist — and certainly no “journalist” — was ever able to resist depicting the victim of a famous sexual harasser as anything other than the essence of sex itself, and Rivera is no exception.
Using a writing style that is both lumpen and pulsating with tabloid idioms (“honey trap,” “uncontrolled sex machine”), he wastes no time in insulting Baena. I give you the first two sentences of the article:
Mildred Patricia Baena [...] would never be mistaken for Salma Hayek; yet she has now become the country’s most prominent Latina, temporarily eclipsing even Shakira and JLo. Like Latina Raquel Welsh or Rita Hayworth in their time, she was irresistible, attracting the affection, loyalty and generosity of a big man, larger than life.
He then flips the misogyny switch from pornulation to sentimental maudlin mode. Not just a woman with “classic smoldering appeal,” Baena is also the essence of fantasy wifeliness: long-suffering, patient, self-sacrificing, loyal, will put out and do laundry, etc.
“To raise her son in the literal shadow of that swaggering man, keeping the truth of their child’s parentage secret for a time even from Arnold, required world-class love and trust.”
That’s right, Geraldo. She was his toilet; that always breeds world-class love and trust.
Kill me now.