The eclipse of shame

Barbara Walters , icon of TV journalism, has published an autobiography in which she boasts about all of her promiscuous and adulterous relationships. There was a time–in fact, it was Barbara Walters’ generation!–in which people, especially women, were ashamed of their sexual transgressions and didn’t want them to come out in the open. Now, they dish about them on talk shows, with no sense of losing respectability. This shift is culturally significant: it isn’t a matter of violating norms anymore. There are no norms to violate.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Dangit! I had thought Barbara Wawa was a saint. I am so sick of folks with questionable morals being on TV! :)

    I sure hope she repents and has a deep love affair with Christ before she continues to decompose eternally.

    But then again, perhaps she’s just an old lady trying to sell a book. Veith, perhaps when you are a bit older you should try this tactic in order to pad your retirement.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Dangit! I had thought Barbara Wawa was a saint. I am so sick of folks with questionable morals being on TV! :)

    I sure hope she repents and has a deep love affair with Christ before she continues to decompose eternally.

    But then again, perhaps she’s just an old lady trying to sell a book. Veith, perhaps when you are a bit older you should try this tactic in order to pad your retirement.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Dr. Veith wrote:
    There are no norms to violate.

    Actually–and sadly–that IS the norm: the appearance of a lack of norms.
    There’s always a norm–always a preferred way of speaking, acting, living. There’s always a program with which one must get.
    Not getting with this program, ala Barbara Walters, Lindsay Lohan, etc. etc. ad infinitum is the violation.
    Principle, modesty, and indeed chastity are so mid-20th Century.
    Yet, ironically, that IS the principle–the norm–by which postmoderns live.
    Actually, I find Walters touting of her story quite pathetic. She is after all an old woman. I think that fact sticks in her craw worse than any other.
    Relevance is a sorry taskmaster.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Dr. Veith wrote:
    There are no norms to violate.

    Actually–and sadly–that IS the norm: the appearance of a lack of norms.
    There’s always a norm–always a preferred way of speaking, acting, living. There’s always a program with which one must get.
    Not getting with this program, ala Barbara Walters, Lindsay Lohan, etc. etc. ad infinitum is the violation.
    Principle, modesty, and indeed chastity are so mid-20th Century.
    Yet, ironically, that IS the principle–the norm–by which postmoderns live.
    Actually, I find Walters touting of her story quite pathetic. She is after all an old woman. I think that fact sticks in her craw worse than any other.
    Relevance is a sorry taskmaster.

  • Bror Erickson

    I’m sorry, but I cannot think of a worse way to spend an evening, than reading the sexual exploits of a self absorbed, old, feminist reporter with an oversized nose. Do you think that actually will bring in more sales? It is at the top of my reasons not to buy the book.

  • Bror Erickson

    I’m sorry, but I cannot think of a worse way to spend an evening, than reading the sexual exploits of a self absorbed, old, feminist reporter with an oversized nose. Do you think that actually will bring in more sales? It is at the top of my reasons not to buy the book.

  • Joe

    Just another example of a person who could have made a very positive impact on society but instead chose not to.

  • Joe

    Just another example of a person who could have made a very positive impact on society but instead chose not to.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    From what I have heard, Barbara Walters was cheered for this admission on her recent Oprah appearance. I didn’t watch it, but it was heavily discussed on my favorite morning radio show. The further dumb factor is that both Oprah and Barbara were, basically, bragging that they’d had affairs with married men, but in no way were they EVER anyone’s mistresses (regardless of the definition of the word). They continued on to discuss how Barbara’s affair was with a prominent black married man and Oprah’s with a white prominent married man, as if they were somehow champions of diversity. Very post-modern discussion and twisting of morals to fit one’s own actions.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    From what I have heard, Barbara Walters was cheered for this admission on her recent Oprah appearance. I didn’t watch it, but it was heavily discussed on my favorite morning radio show. The further dumb factor is that both Oprah and Barbara were, basically, bragging that they’d had affairs with married men, but in no way were they EVER anyone’s mistresses (regardless of the definition of the word). They continued on to discuss how Barbara’s affair was with a prominent black married man and Oprah’s with a white prominent married man, as if they were somehow champions of diversity. Very post-modern discussion and twisting of morals to fit one’s own actions.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    There are certainly worse ways to spend an evening than reading about Babs’ exploits, Bror. One could make her a role model and act them out.

    And yeesh. Even apart from the adultery issue, don’t ya think that maybe, just maybe, Ms. Walters could figure out that her paramours and their families just might not appreciate having that part of their lives made into national news? That maybe a nice royalty check isn’t worth trashing other peoples’ lives by revealing stupid things they’ve done?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    There are certainly worse ways to spend an evening than reading about Babs’ exploits, Bror. One could make her a role model and act them out.

    And yeesh. Even apart from the adultery issue, don’t ya think that maybe, just maybe, Ms. Walters could figure out that her paramours and their families just might not appreciate having that part of their lives made into national news? That maybe a nice royalty check isn’t worth trashing other peoples’ lives by revealing stupid things they’ve done?

  • Bror Erickson

    Bike Bubba,
    I don’t know. While I agree it maybe worse in the realm of sin and shame, it may not be as painful of an evening depending on who you acted them out with. Acting them out with Babs, would certainly be worse.

  • Bror Erickson

    Bike Bubba,
    I don’t know. While I agree it maybe worse in the realm of sin and shame, it may not be as painful of an evening depending on who you acted them out with. Acting them out with Babs, would certainly be worse.

  • Carl Vehse

    Barbara has been a MSM skank for a long time. And it’s old news that she also was someone’s sloppy seconds.

    According to a New York Magazine article, when President Ford’s photojournalist, David Kennerly, was interviewed by Walters in 1975, she brought up rumors that he was secretly dating Ford’s daughter, Susan [which he wasn't].

    Kennerly then responded to Barbara, “Well Barbara, I put those stories in the same category as those about you and Senator Ed Brooke, they are rumor and gossip.” Kennerly said Walters lightened up on him for the rest of the interview.

    “For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.” — Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20, October 11, 2002.

  • Carl Vehse

    Barbara has been a MSM skank for a long time. And it’s old news that she also was someone’s sloppy seconds.

    According to a New York Magazine article, when President Ford’s photojournalist, David Kennerly, was interviewed by Walters in 1975, she brought up rumors that he was secretly dating Ford’s daughter, Susan [which he wasn't].

    Kennerly then responded to Barbara, “Well Barbara, I put those stories in the same category as those about you and Senator Ed Brooke, they are rumor and gossip.” Kennerly said Walters lightened up on him for the rest of the interview.

    “For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.” — Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20, October 11, 2002.

  • Carl Vehse

    “When you read this report it is so salacious. It is so graphic. There will be many people who will feel it’s disgusting, wonder what they’ll tell their children. It might cause a backlash for Ken Starr.” — Barbara Walters, commenting on the Starr Report, on ABC’s 20/20 the night of September 11, 1998.

  • Carl Vehse

    “When you read this report it is so salacious. It is so graphic. There will be many people who will feel it’s disgusting, wonder what they’ll tell their children. It might cause a backlash for Ken Starr.” — Barbara Walters, commenting on the Starr Report, on ABC’s 20/20 the night of September 11, 1998.

  • Carl Vehse

    From the March 3, 1999, Good Morning America, regarding her interview with Monica Lewinsky to be shown on 20/20 that evening:

    Barbara Walters: “It’s awfully hard to ask some of those questions which had to be asked. I did not do as the Starr Report did: ‘Did he touch you here?’ ‘Did he touch you here?’”

    Charles Gibson: “Good. Good for you. Good for you.”

    From Walter’s interview with Lewinsky that evening on 20/20:

    Walters: “Throughout most of the relationship the oral sex was not brought to completion for the President.”

    Lewinsky: “Correct.”

    Walters: “Why not?”

  • Carl Vehse

    From the March 3, 1999, Good Morning America, regarding her interview with Monica Lewinsky to be shown on 20/20 that evening:

    Barbara Walters: “It’s awfully hard to ask some of those questions which had to be asked. I did not do as the Starr Report did: ‘Did he touch you here?’ ‘Did he touch you here?’”

    Charles Gibson: “Good. Good for you. Good for you.”

    From Walter’s interview with Lewinsky that evening on 20/20:

    Walters: “Throughout most of the relationship the oral sex was not brought to completion for the President.”

    Lewinsky: “Correct.”

    Walters: “Why not?”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Bror, I meant worse from a moral point of view, but yes….

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Bror, I meant worse from a moral point of view, but yes….

  • Anon

    Christian pop psychology (which doesn’t have a Christian worldview, nor is it aware of many centuries of pastoral wisdom) is strongly against shame, and works hard to free everyone from it.

    I suspect that there -is- a legitimate place for shame.

  • Anon

    Christian pop psychology (which doesn’t have a Christian worldview, nor is it aware of many centuries of pastoral wisdom) is strongly against shame, and works hard to free everyone from it.

    I suspect that there -is- a legitimate place for shame.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X