Friday, January 27, 2006

God's in His Heaven . . .

I love it when the world makes sense.

For a while there, I was a bit worried and confused.
Mark Hyman has spent three consecutive nights extolling the virtues of the Scott Stapp Foundation, a charitable organization founded by the former lead singer of the band Creed. What I couldn’t figure out was why.

I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Hyman loves to mock pop culture celebrities who use their showbiz fame to champion social and political issues. On the surface, Stapp would seem to be a ripe target for such abuse. After all, he became famous for striking pseudo-messianic poses as a lead singer for rock band and styling himself as a spiritual artist singing inspirational songs, while at the same time appearing
drunk in public (including at his own concerts), alienating his band mates, and generally being an obnoxious boor. And despite having apparently turned a new leaf in his life, he was involved in a barroom brawl with another rock band as recently as two months ago.

So what gives? Hyman, who usually reserves multi-night diatribes for attacking academics, doing misleading shilling for the president’s Social Security scheme, or slandering a political candidate he doesn’t like, was devoting Point after Point to explaining the wondrous work Stapp’s foundation is doing and encouraging viewers to contribute.

This was particularly odd given the foundation’s mission. According to the website, the organization is devoted to truly admirable causes, particularly helping underprivileged children. Stapp himself sums up his philosophy on the site:

“I feel it is the responsibility of those who have been blessed to help take care of the less fortunate.”

What sentiment could be further from true blue conservatism? Traditionally, conservatives think that while charity is fine and dandy for those who want to do it, the idea that there is any moral or ethical responsibility for the haves to help out the have nots is anathema. Such an imperative, in the conservative world view, is tantamount to subsidizing failure, laziness, and lack of character.

So what could explain Hyman’s fixation on this foundation? Was it Stapp’s associations with conservative Christianity? Was it that one of Stapp’s recent projects is providing care packages for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq? Where was the self-serving slant? What was Hyman’s stake in all this?

I was flummoxed.

But a serendipitous bit of Googling helped bring order back to my personal cosmology.

The revelation began slowly. In my search for connections between Stapp and Hyman, I happened across a bit of gossipy entertainment news announcing that
Stapp had recently announced his engagement. I then found out that his bride-to-be was the director of public relations for the Scott Stapp Foundation. She also happened to be Miss New York 2004.

Her name is
Jaclyn Nesheiwat.

Regular Point-watchers and/or Counterpoint readers will likely find that last name familiar. One of
the producers of “The Point” is a woman named Dina Nesheiwat (who is herself a sometime model and beauty pageant contestant). Most memorably, Ms. Nesheiwat was used as a faux “correspondent” during “The Point’s” multi-night harangue against academia that offered a soapbox for a far-right organization to hawk both its philosophy and college guidebook. By putting Nesheiwat in the role of intrepid reporter, Hyman was able to distance himself from what was said and wrap a political commentary in the trappings of news reportage.

And indeed, Dina and Jaclyn Nesheiwat are sisters. They are also apparently members of a family that is tight enough with the folks in power in Washington that the whole clan scored an invitation to
George W. Bush’s 2005 inaugural ball. (And, in a bit of bizarre but admittedly irrelevant synchronicity, the Miss USA pageant in which Jaclyn Nesheiwat competed was hosted by none other than Dubya’s cousin, Billy Bush).

So there’s the connection: Hyman spent three nights championing a particular organization because it’s headed up by the future brother-in-law of one of his assistants.

This doesn’t suggest anything negative about the Scott Stapp Foundation itself. As I say, from what’s on its website, it seems like a noble endeavor that’s trying to do good things for people in need. And given what Hyman usually foists off on his viewers on a nightly basis, we should be so lucky as to have him do more commercials for charitable organizations run by friends and family of his staff.

But I must admit to finding it hilarious that even when he’s donning the mantle of the champion of charity, Hyman is doing it with a personal agenda. And of course there’s the issue of not disclosing the connection between him and the foundation, something any professional commentator would feel obliged to do.

As Hyman’s ethical lapses go, this is not as outrageous as what we often get, but it certainly is consistent with what we’ve come to expect from him.

And as for me, I can rest easier now knowing that God’s in his heaven, and all’s right with the world.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God that Hyman is sure a self-centered, pompous ass.

And in this day and age, that says a lot!

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hyman's crap just increases the cynicism of viewers: "What's his angle, there must be an angle".

(And the viewers are not disappointed).

Whatever happened to the notion of public service? With all his "support the troops" breastbeating and "America-hater" browbeating, you'd expect Hyman to have some principle.


Unless "self interest" is a principle.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.