Friday, 21 June 2013

The ‘Othering’ of Michaela Pereira

I was actually kinda excited to see New Day – CNN’s latest brand of morning show. It’s an integral part of the new look that Jeff Zucker has brought to CNN in the last few months – all in an effort to boost falling ratings.
But I’m afraid I find the show almost too upsetting to watch.
I was born in the United States of America. This means I enjoy a little entertainment now and then, and that I’m addicted to CNN. American news is usually more entertaining than Canadian news (though CNN did recently hire Canada’s George Stroumboulopoulos to do a Friday night interview show). However, I may permanently shift back to Heather Hiscox in the mornings. She’s just so damn capable and perky! And the new anchors on CNN mornings -- Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira are just so damn depressing.
Let me explain.
This wholesome, gruesome, threesome pretty well embodies everything that’s wrong with the United States of America.
You just have to look at them situated at the morning news desk. There’s Kate and Chris, shoulder to shoulder, looking like the most perfect, gorgeous heterosexual couple you have ever seen. My mother once asked me – (referring to Anderson Cooper) -- “Can a man be too attractive?” However I think the same question might quite appropriately be asked of Cuomo. Are such thick biceps, perky tits and juicy lips absolutely necessary for a morning news anchor? And Kate Bolduan rivals any of the Fox News Come-Do-Me anchors, with her pulsing red cheekbones and flawless blonde hair. And there, beside them (….well sorta) is Michaela Pereira.
Michaela, in case you haven’t heard, is the Hispanic member of the news team. If her name didn’t sufficiently announce her otherness, then her appearance would do the job. As lush and brunette as Kate Bolduan is slender and blonde, she represents the ‘rest of America.’ Jeff Zucker obviously wanted us all to know that New Day is not just a show for white people. No, no no, it’s inclusive. Yeah, well, if CNN is so inclusive then why is poor Michaela sitting all by herself? I know this just sounds like I’m being picky. But the whole setup is kinda odd. And it suggests a certain privilege. Pretty and white, Kate and Chris are the real news anchors -- the ones in charge -- and Michaela is (their somewhat overflowingly bodacious assistant) sitting…over there.
I think one of the reasons this pisses me off is that I remember the previous CNN morning show Starting Point, starring Soledad O’Brien. Damn but I loved that show. Back then, Soledad O’Brien was a somewhat daring, politically correct choice. CNN was getting their foot wet in thrilling waters of  ‘otherness,’ offering audiences a news anchor who was both Irish and Hispanic. But Soledad O’Brien didn’t sit over in the corner; she was actually in charge. I just loved to see her eat Republican congressmen alive. She was always at her best when confronting old, dumb, ugly conservatives (like John Sununu) with their own blatant lies.
But now must be content with poor Michaela Peraira, who – God bless her – was recently permitted an introductory feature on New Day in which she extolled her own kindness -- playing touch football with the ‘poor kids’ and reminding us ‘I was a poor kid once too.’
This is what is wrong with the United States of America. They will never stop patting themselves on the back for electing an African-American president, while real queers, Hispanics, blacks, and anyone else who else isn’t straight, white and pretty, loses out on all the fame, money and privilege.
Of course, those of us who are ‘different’ do get a place at the table.
That place is just…over there…somewhere.
With Michaela Peraira.