Bill O'Reilly's Novel Is Disturbing In All The Wrong Ways
Bill O'Reilly's dismissal from Fox News following hella sexual harassment settlements earlier this year had at least one (additional) silver lining: newfound attention to his 1998 book Those Who Trespass. It's an erotic thriller that you might have heard John Oliver read from. Everyone else seems to be happy just knowing that Bill O'Reilly must be hilariously bad at oral sex, but I have never been happy, so I read the whole thing. It was definitely disturbing, but not for any of the reasons he intended. Every scene gives you an insight into the mind of Big O ... what he thinks of himself, cops, and women, just to name a few. And I know what you're thinking: "Oh, I'm sure it's pretty bad. I mean, he's Bill O'Reilly." No, seriously, you have no idea.
Bill O'Reilly Doesn't Know What Foreplay Is
Let's all be honest with each other -- people don't normally click on a headline that has "erotic" and "Bill O'Reilly" in the title because they're in desperate need of some hot loofah action. I totally get that. That's a real-life side of him that nobody wants to imagine. At least in the books, a sex scene is just imaginary, right? Well, that's kind of the problem. If he's writing a scene with "erotic" in mind, he thinks what he's written is sexy. The descriptions he comes up with are how Bill O'Reilly imagines himself having sex at its peak sexiness.
Right off the bat, whenever some sex is about to go down, it starts off bizarrely pickup-artisty. The man always insists he has to leave soon, but first, "I wanna show you something I learned in Thailand" (surprise, it's a sexy massage) or "I wanna play a game" (surprise, it's not murder).
Ashley was wary but curious. "What are the rules?"
"Okay. We sit across from each other. About ten feet apart. Then each of us gets a turn. You can ask me to do anything that doesn't require me to get up. Then I can ask you. Pretty simple, right?"
Sure, that's a perfectly normal thing for a grown-ass adult to ask another adult. This is how that game ends up going:
"Now, Ash, take your right hand and rub your left thigh from the hip to the knee four times. Make sure you do it very slowly."
"Oh, I see where this is going. You men are so predictable." Ashley hesitated, and Shannon thought she might quit, but she looked him straight in the eye and began moving her right hand up and down her dark stockings. She took her time. For some reason, she enjoyed teasing him.
"My request," Ashley said. "Take off your shoes." Shannon slipped off his brown loafers, thinking she was getting bolder. Good.
"Okay, Ash, take your right index finger and put it in your mouth. Then slowly move it in and out of your mouth five times."
Ashley grinned and said, "You are very ill." Then she did what Shannon wanted in a way that almost made him shudder. He knew she was beginning to enjoy the game.
There's just ... a lot to unpack here. "You are very ill." That's the way Bill O'Reilly thinks people talk to each other while they sex. He thinks a good striptease is composed of mechanically rubbing your legs up and down and blowing your fingers, all while counting in your head. What is this, Fuck By Numbers?
It gets weirder. In an earlier sex scene, while the guy is massaging her back, this happens:
He lightly bit Ashley's earlobe, ran his tongue back down the length of her neck, and continued across the top of her shoulders, all the while massaging the top half of her arms. He then quickened the pace, massaging and licking her neck with more pressure.
I want you to imagine Bill O'Reilly, sitting behind a woman, just licking her back and neck like a novelty-size Creamsicle and wholeheartedly believing she's loving it. Then doing it faster. I mean, I don't want you to think that, because you've probably never done anything to me, but here we are.
Are you ready for the worst part?
He then dropped to the floor kneeling before Ashley, pushing her skirt up to her waist. Using a fair amount of pressure, he kissed her inner thighs, using his lips and tongue. His hands reached the waistband of her hose. Shannon gently gave a tug and Ashley lifted her hips. He slipped the hose down to her ankles, all the while continuing to knead her skin with his tongue.
Ashley was now wearing only brief white panties. By removing her shirt and skirt, and by leaning back on the couch, she had signaled her desire. Now, she closed her eyes, concentrating on nothing but Shannon's tongue and lips. He gently teased her by licking the areas around her most sensitive erogenous zone. Then he slipped her panties down her legs and, within seconds, his tongue was inside her, moving rapidly. Ashley felt intense pleasure building.
No, she didn't. I guarantee you she didn't. Far be it from me to tell this fictional woman how she gets off, but generally speaking, "just shove your face in there and start tongue-fucking" is not the proper procedure. It's called a clitoris, O'Reilly, look into it. I'm almost positive it existed in 1998. His confusion about what women want extends outside their underpants, too: At one point, he muses that "Women like confident men, but they also like little boys. For men, the trick was to combine the two qualities." Aw yeah, if there's anything that turns women on more than brown loafers, it's children.
He's almost like an AI that theoretically knows what sex is but has no idea how humans actually do it. He explains that a lap dance is "where a woman squirms around on one's upper legs and groin area," and like, I already knew that I didn't need Bill O'Reilly to explain a lap dance to me, but now I know that I actively need him not to. Being on top is "the dominant position," fucking is "friction," being turned on by danger is a "heightened risk-reward ratio," talking dirty is "using words that in polite conversation would have been vulgar, but in this context were extremely erotic." Those are exact quotes. Are you reading them in his voice? I know. Me, too. It's going to be okay.
Bill O'Reilly Thinks He Would Be The Perfect Murderer
The story around which all this weird robotic sex is framed is a TV newsman serial killing people who have wronged him throughout his career. So that's, um, troubling. Luckily, Bill O'Reilly is about as likely to get away with murder as he is to satisfy a woman -- but he sure thinks he could. Throughout the novel, the cops marvel at what a "clean job" the murders are, how the killer must be a Lecter-esque sadistic genius, because ... he doesn't leave fingerprints. That's it. Police have never found the solution to the gloved killer problem.
They do eventually start to suspect him, but alas, he has an airtight alibi: He was spending his nights writing in his vacation property, alone. Well, that clinches it! They can't touch him! According to O'Reilly, all you need to do to commit the perfect murder is wear gloves (always referred to as "surgical gloves," because he's apparently never washed a dish), be careful not to get any blood on your clothes (which is somehow possible to do when you knee someone in the nose and/or slit their throat, with no protection), and find no one to vouch for your whereabouts. It's almost irresponsible of him to share these secrets. Our prisons are overcrowded enough already.
He's so confident in this plan, in fact, that he neglects every other aspect of it -- like, say, making sure nobody sees him, or even figuring out where his targets live. Twice, he sets out to stalk his prey and then realizes he doesn't know their address. It happens once, and there's no "Note to self: Make sure you know where you're going next time." The second time, he's shocked to find that his wealthy, powerful target has a well-secured home. After following him around for days in plain sight, also shocked that such a man is rarely alone at home, he ends up just attacking him from inside his garage. It's never explained how he got past the security system. Eventually O'Reilly just thought "Fuck it, I'd figure it out somehow."
So impressive a murder machine is our killer that even after he knows the cops are on his tail, he doesn't stop murdering. He just gets a fake beard. Again, he's being physically followed, but as everyone knows, a Groucho Marx mustache has the magical property of erasing police memory, leaving them wondering what they're even doing here outside this house. And it works. They totally still recognize him, because a beard is not fucking polyjuice potion, he just manages to give them the slip. One cop tells another that it was "super slick." Even when he fails, O'Reilly can't stop complimenting himself.
In the end, the killer can only be brought down by a high-speed chase with a plane. In a car, on a runway, outrunning a plane. The plane stabs him in the head. Listen, we've got a lot to get through, it's for the best that I don't explain this one.
Bill O'Reilly Thinks He's A 1980s Action Hero
You can almost defend the killer's Wile E. Coyote-level poor planning if you imagine that this is intended to be a cartoon ... or at least a parody of erotic thrillers. Sadly, it is not. For example, almost every time he kills someone, he makes a pun just before they die. Before throwing a woman off a balcony:
"You were always over the top, Hillary."
After burying a man up to his neck in the sand and waiting for the tide to drown him:
"You're in over your head this time."
After cutting a man's throat:
"It's a cutthroat business you're in, Worthington."
These are not played for laughs. This is not a funny book. O'Reilly legitimately thinks murder puns are a cool villain thing to do. And I just thought you should know that.
It gets so ridiculous that it provides some genuine laughs. Before throwing that woman from the balcony, he hoists her up by her belt and just kinda dangles her there. This is a woman who was previously described as six-foot-one. Her killer is barely taller than that, and O'Reilly thinks that extra inch or two gives him the strength to give her an 18-story wedgie. (In full view of another residential building and also Central Park, it bears mentioning. Half of Manhattan witnessed this murder, but our guy is just that good.)
Within the first few pages, someone gets stabbed with a spoon. A spoon. The killer takes a spoon and shoves it handle-first through the roof of his victim's mouth and into his brain. I don't actually know if that would work -- my spoon-stabbing experience is pretty limited -- I'm just saying it's an odd choice of weapon. Much, much later, it's explained that the killer was taught by an ex-IRA assassin that he should never carry a deadly weapon, and that "there are hundreds of ways to injure someone without using an illegal weapon." Okay, but a spoon?
It's pretty clear that Bill O'Reilly thinks he's an 80s action hero. The puns, the different methods of killing, the unbelievable strength. I'm genuinely surprised that his description of himself wasn't, "You know Jean-Claude Van Damme? The killer looked exactly like that. He regularly did the splits, too."
Bill O'Reilly Has Some Weird Hang-Ups
O'Reilly's obvious overconfidence in his skills at sex and murder notwithstanding, the book reveals a lot about his personal psychology that I don't think he or we want us to know. For one thing, he seems to have a bizarre prejudice against anyone who drinks, even a little. He describes two characters thusly:
Shannon Michaels stared hard at David Wayne. He saw a very bitter man who, by the look of his red face, eased his frustration with the help of a filled glass.
The GNN administrator was about 5'8", and very thin, with a pallid face and blue veins crisscrossing his nose. A drinker, Michaels thought. No question.
These are sometimes the thoughts of the characters, but not always. Sometimes they're observations made by a supposedly objective third-person narrator, who apparently believes the reader agrees with them. Later, another character tells our hero/villain:
"That's your problem right there, Michaels. You don't drink. You need to drink in this business. A lot. Everybody does."
O'Reilly is absolutely that guy at the party who shouts "I don't drink! Don't even offer me one, because I don't want it!" every fifteen minutes at people who weren't even considering offering him a drink. It's not just booze, either. Anyone who consumes any intoxicant is fair game for smugness, up to and including partakers of that devil's brew, coffee.
He noticed that two of the writers -- men with too much nervous energy from drinking gallons of coffee every day -- were snickering and looking in his direction.
Which makes sense because he's also obsessed with teeth. People are constantly checking their teeth. He insults one woman for having a smile that shows "a considerable amount of gum above her front teeth." Good guys have gleaming white teeth, bad guys filthy yellow teeth, presumably from all that evil coffee. In a tragic attempt at a joke, he comments that one man "obviously preferred oral sex to oral hygiene." I mean, don't we all?
If we take the elevator down to the next level of this Freudian nightmare, we find his beliefs about women. There are only two prominent female characters. One is a reporter who "cared about, but didn't obsess over, her looks" even though she "knew her good looks were partly responsible for her rapid rise." He also mentions no fewer than three times that she's five-foot-two, in the same tones he'd use to say she's got killer knockers. Apparently, O'Reilly likes short chicks. I now know that, and now all of you know that. The other is a mannish, brutal news executive. In O'Reilly's world, women come in two flavors: gorgeous and conniving, and ugly and conniving. Either way, they don't deserve their success, and that's why it's okay to sexually harass them. Here's the inner monologue of one character at a party for TV news people, explaining how sucking dicks in high places is just the way women advance in the industry.
Already in his sights was a pretty camerawoman light-headed from too much vodka. Costello felt he had a real chance with this young woman, who was now walking toward the makeshift bar located in the corner of the front porch. Surely this babe was impressed with his resume. He had been a correspondent with GNN for twenty-six years. The power and prestige of his job brought him big-time perks, like the attention of young women eager to advance in the arbitrary world of television news.
Anyone familiar with the accusations against O'Reilly is pretty squicked out right now. To his credit, he acknowledges from the women's perspective that the attention is unwanted, but only because the men it's coming from are gross and fat. Not men like, say, the O'Reilly stand-in character, who manages to seduce a woman who believes he might be a killer. Because the big takeaway, from a psychological perspective, is that O'Reilly is always the exception. In a sea of fat, leering drunks, he's a paragon of perfect-teethed masculine purity who you actually want to leer at you, then throw you down and tongue-fuck you after carefully removing his brown loafers. In an industry irreparably tarnished by ego and corruption, he alone is willing to stand up for integrity and freedom and tasteful interior decorating. (There are more descriptions of furniture in this book than in American Psycho.) Sure, he does it by murdering a bunch of people, but it's the thought that counts. Which makes it all the more hilarious that ...
Bill O'Reilly Uses The Book To Talk Shit About Hillary Clinton And Michael Moore
If you asked me what on Earth might have compelled O'Reilly to write this book and "a severe head injury" didn't count, I'd have to say it was just so he could publicly insult people he doesn't like. That's a noble goal, but his rage is so strong that he can't make it through a single page before he has to throw a dig at the Clintons. This first one is mild, but it's important to understand right off the bat that he resents them.
Chasing the Clintons around the resort island of Martha's Vineyard, looking on as a cracker First Family acted out its vacation in front of millions, was not just tiring for him, but unnecessary. When a family -- even the First Family -- went golfing, boating, and horseback riding, it was hardly newsworthy. And Costello was, after all, the chief White House correspondent for the powerful Global News Network, not some travel narrator, for Christ's sake. But here he was, on a GNN assignment he hated, reporting on President Clinton and family eating barbecue.
This is a fictional universe, and Clinton didn't have to be president of it in 1998. He could have made up a president named Thrusty Ameriguns and it's maybe his biggest failing that he didn't. Then, during an otherwise innocent description of Martha's Vineyard:
He could thoroughly describe the island -- from the wilds of Chappaquiddick, where Edward Kennedy had abandoned a trapped and struggling Mary Jo Kopechne in a car filling with sea water, to the stately homes of Chilmark, the chic area where the self-destructive John Belushi was buried.
Like, I'm not gonna defend Ted Kennedy here, I'm just saying it comes up again several chapters later equally out of the blue and it's fucking weird. Also, John Belushi? What the hell, man? Is there bad blood between Bill O'Reilly and John Belushi that I don't know about? I feel like that might be a way better story.
Because he apparently decided it wasn't anywhere near creepy enough just to randomly drop names, two of the victims in the story are blatantly based on Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore. And he is not kind to them, even before he copy-pastes the vicious murder fantasies that had no doubt been gathering stains under his desk for years. Here's how "Hillary Ross" is described:
Ross was a tall, thin, unattractive woman whom her detractors -- just about everybody working at GNN -- nicknamed "Olive Oyl." Like the character in the Popeye cartoons, she had long limbs and huge feet. Her face, which was dominated by a weak chin, was elongated. Mousy brown hair completed the look. In addition to Hillary's physical shortcomings, she was mean.
Look, I'm all for uncharitably caricaturing people you don't like in widely published works of fiction, but maybe do better than "meanie-face poopy-pants"? He certainly tries with "Martin Moore," who is described as a "fat, out of shape ... obnoxious, corrupt slob" whose funeral is attended by seven people. I mean, damn. You have to hand it to him, that is cold. He's also, of course, a disgusting coffee drinker:
Martin Moore leaned back in his leather chair, his large belly forming a natural handrest. That morning, he had already spilled coffee on his tie, but he didn't care about his personal appearance.
The coffee stain comes up more than once. I don't know, man, you tell me. Also, they're both given a bizarre hatred of immigrants, with Moore railing internally at his Farsi-speaking landlord and Hillary refusing to tip a cab driver because he doesn't speak English. Call me crazy but I feel like he's projecting a bit there.
The mystery of why Bill O'Reilly felt the need to inflict a lot of terrible sex and murder on the reading public just so he could say Hillary Clinton is mean will likely never be solved, but if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be talking heads. It turns out you can have all the money, success, fame, and unethically obtained jollies in the world, but if you got it by telling the world it's okay to murder children for wearing hoodies, you'll probably never be happy unless you're calling someone fat.
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