Spitzer-take; In the Arena?

To the surprise of no one, Kathleen Parker is departing CNN’s Parker/Spitzer;

Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who co-hosted CNN’s 8 p.m. show, is leaving just five months after the show debuted, the company announced Friday.

“I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” Parker said in a statement. She said she enjoyed her time on the show “Parker Spitzer” with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but she had missed focusing full-time on her column in the months she had been working on the show.

Certainly a weekly or twice-weekly column can feel like a big commitment along with a nightly broadcast, but I wonder if Parker was ever really comfortable in the venue. The few times I checked in, she never seemed cozy.

More surprising to me than Parker’s leave-taking, however, is the name of the reformatted program. Reports are it will be an ensemble offering called “In the Arena”.

How interesting! I recently had a wonderful twitter exchange with a young man about this episode of a current-events discussion “ensemble” program which is produced by the Diocese of Brooklyn, and happens to be called . . . In the Arena!

For the past three years, In the Arena has been moderated by the Emmy-winning broadcaster Jane Hanson and Msgr. Kieran Harrington, the Diocesan Vicar of Communication, and I believe it was Harrington who came up with the title, based on a quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Commonweal Magazine’s Grant Gallicho and I have been regular contributors to “In the Arena” since its inception. This season the show has covered, among other issues, same-sex marriage, the crisis in Egypt, mental depression and the role of the church in politics.

In fact, next Sunday’s show is a pretty high-spirited one looking at faith in the age of apps and alternative media, which I recommend you take a peek at.

No, I don’t want to talk about the red shawl. Got on a train and realized I was missing a jacket, and then got windblown. I can’t wait for winter to end.

Anyway, I do think this is pretty funny. You’ll have to watch Spitzer’s “Arena” and then ours, and tell us which you like better!

Related:
Allahpundit is wondering about Parker’s leave-taking

Sheen/Spitzer; Admit it, you’d watch

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender

    Sorry, I don’t have to watch Spitzer. I won’t watch Spitzer. I won’t have anything to do with Spitzer.

    And I will be as likely to ever read another column by Parker as I would read another column by Peggy Noonan.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I’ve never watched Parker/Spitzer. I never cared for either of them.

    I have caught In The Arena a few times. Fr. Harrington is outstanding. It’s not out of the question for a priest to run for elected office, but I’d vote for him in a heart beat. I’ve even caught you, Anchoress, on the show a few times. Here’s a hint. If you want to make a name for yourself, you’ve got to be more conservative in your opinions. :-P

  • Cvao

    Goodness, you are being very magnanimous about this. I believe they have ripped off the clever title, In the Arena!

    Of course it could also be a circumstance of great (new York area) minds thinking alike :-)

    This could also mean that those associated with Parker Spitzer are viewers of (or at least familiar with) your show, which is actually somewhat heartening.

    Couldn’t hurt! (especially for Elliott Spitzer :-)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Heh, same for me!

    Actually, I wouldn’t like to watch, and I’ve been perfectly happy so far passing on Parker, and Spitzer!

  • SKAY

    I agree with Bender.

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett T

    Every time Mr. Spitzer grins I expect to see him produce two cymbals from behind the desk and start clanging them in time with his bobbing head…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6SQWADITZPYHKSWSM5ONMDI52I Greta

    Agree on spitzer, never watch, never will.

    On the arena program, do not really understand the guy from Commonweal. Is that a Catholic magazine? Seems like that guy is way to the left of center on everything and doubt he believes in much of anything that is critical to Catholic teaching. I also think he appears to be very rude with the usual rolling of the eyes as others are speaking.

    Watched the program on same sex marriage and also on healthcare reform. On the reform, clearly the impact is being seen on jobs and that will only get worse going forward. Small business has created most of the jobs for the last 4 decades and this is a killer for them. There was legislation that could have been passed if it was established early on that it had to have broad bipartisan votes. The Republicans were shut out with none of their amendments even gaining serious consideration. The democrats said we won and we will write the bill and if you want your name on it you have to cave on everything you know and believe about healthcare. If not repealed, it will continue to get worse. Best comment of the show was why it needed to have over 700 waivers if it is so great. Now there will be more as Obama hinted to governors that they might be able to gain exemption. I pity the people who do not get waivers. Hope the Supreme Court rules it out and forces them to start over.
    On gay marriage program, the emphasis is on how the young people support gay rights and marriage. When I was in college, I was for a lot of things that I am not for now in maturity and outside the reach of leftwing professors. I am seeing a real return to the traditional values of the Catholic Church and suspect that the teaching JPII left us with Theology of the Body will in fact grow and become much more widespread. Gay lifestyle is gravely disordered and a very major sin and that will never change in church teaching. With the rise of much more traditional bishops in the USCCB, look for that teaching to become very much more visible.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6SQWADITZPYHKSWSM5ONMDI52I Greta

    Agree on spitzer, never watch, never will.

    On the arena program, do not really understand the guy from Commonweal. Is that a Catholic magazine? Seems like that guy is way to the left of center on everything and doubt he believes in much of anything that is critical to Catholic teaching. I also think he appears to be very rude with the usual rolling of the eyes as others are speaking.

    Watched the program on same sex marriage and also on healthcare reform. On the reform, clearly the impact is being seen on jobs and that will only get worse going forward. Small business has created most of the jobs for the last 4 decades and this is a killer for them. There was legislation that could have been passed if it was established early on that it had to have broad bipartisan votes. The Republicans were shut out with none of their amendments even gaining serious consideration. The democrats said we won and we will write the bill and if you want your name on it you have to cave on everything you know and believe about healthcare. If not repealed, it will continue to get worse. Best comment of the show was why it needed to have over 700 waivers if it is so great. Now there will be more as Obama hinted to governors that they might be able to gain exemption. I pity the people who do not get waivers. Hope the Supreme Court rules it out and forces them to start over.
    On gay marriage program, the emphasis is on how the young people support gay rights and marriage. When I was in college, I was for a lot of things that I am not for now in maturity and outside the reach of leftwing professors. I am seeing a real return to the traditional values of the Catholic Church and suspect that the teaching JPII left us with Theology of the Body will in fact grow and become much more widespread. Gay lifestyle is gravely disordered and a very major sin and that will never change in church teaching. With the rise of much more traditional bishops in the USCCB, look for that teaching to become very much more visible.


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