Let me preface my rant with this disclaimer: Jon Stewart is the bomb. For reals. I love and respect what he does and think what he produces is genius. That said, his broadcast on 8.11.2011 with his rant on Megyn Kelly’s maternity leave could have been better. Here is a link to the clip, “Lactate Intolerance”:
Fox News “host” “anchor” – – what are those folks calling themselves these days? – – Megyn Kelly has recently returned from her first maternity leave. This is significant because upon her return she grilled a radio host who referred to maternity leave as “a racket” that women take advantage of. In what looked to be good fun, Mama Kelly poked at this guy who took her ribbing in stride. When he questioned the length of time she was gone post delivery and that men are not afforded the same benefits, Ms. Kelly trotted out FMLA — our government’s unpaid Family Medical Leave Act, a required “benefit” of all employers with 50+ employees.
Jon Stewart, referring to her as a “mama grizzly,” then played a series of clips showing Megyn over the past couple years bitching and moaning about socialized this and government that. Basically, she embraces the Fox party line about government regulations and labor laws and herself questions why men would ever require paternity leave – – “It is called MA-ternity leave,” she says in one clip.
So Jon Stewart played “gotcha” and won. I mean he has built an entire empire on showing us how hypocritical the arseholes who represent us in Washington can be. His moonlighting gig of showing us how hypocritical his colleagues in the media are pays even more of his bills. As he has said time and time again, what he does is easy. The folks he pokes at make it so. The streaming content they deliver on a daily basis is ripe for the picking. Megyn Kelly is low hanging fruit.
As a mom who has used FMLA twice – – once for my first child’s birth and the second time just after her cancer diagnosis – – the more interesting and relevant feature would have been a discussion with Ms. Kelly. Call her on that shit. She’s gotta know that she said one thing before having a kid and another thing after having a kid. I get that. If you don’t have kids, it’s easy to not entirely understand the significance of maternity leave. It’s easy for her to do what she did, which is discredit mothers for caring for their children and asking for employer and government support to do so.
What I wanted to see after watching this was a dialogue with Ms. Kelly. Not a he pokes, she pokes, which is where all maternity leaves start anyway, but a real discussion between Father Stewart and Mother Kelly about how transformative parenting is. I want to know more about how she feels about the things she has said over the years disparaging family leaves. I want confirmation that she has evolved and doesn’t mind getting poked about that evolution from the King of Poke himself, Jon Stewart. That would have been interesting to watch.
And given that I’m suggesting how an aforementioned genius could do his job better, total missed opportunity that he didn’t have some fun with the spelling of her name, I mean Me-GYN? Really? Given the topic, that would have been comedy gold.