Red Eye: Imogen Annoys the Piss out of Me

Tonight’s “Red Eye” was, as always, awesome. But the re-appearance of regular guest Imogen Lloyd Webber raised controversy on the #RedEye Twitter discussion thread, when people bifurcated over whether ILW, as she is affectionately known, is a meritorious guest, or a self-important, out of touch elitist windbag.

Let’s ponder her recent musings on George W. Bush’s new book “Decision Points.”

Her points are this:

1) The book should have been titled: I Regret Nothing

2) Waterboarding is torture, damn it! And it violates the US Constitution.

Also, it’s against UN policy.

3) George W. Bush was a bad fiscal president, because of Cheney.

That’s … it. I have “Decision Points” as an eBook. In my reader, it is slightly over 500 pages, but this is the critique offered by a self-proclaimed writer and reader of History at Cambridge.

In “Decision Points,” Bush outlines why he supported enhanced interrogation techniques: it was a time of war and the first duty was to the American people, and the country’s security. He talks about Department of Justice and Supreme Court decisions giving legal underpinnings to his decision.

According to Bush, waterboarding was used on a handful of the thousands of people detained during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And GWB provided some of the information this interrogation technique surfaced in the war against terror. Most importantly, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

But, playing the snotty European dilettante, ILW assures us this does nothing for the moral authority of the US worldwide. Let’s reflect for a moment how well Muslim/British relations are progressing in the UK, shall we? Sharia compliant family courts, the UK police extrapolating over 17,000 honor beatings of women by Muslims men per year, violent protests against the British military.

Sorry, Imogen. We don’t want your kind of “moral authority.”

But, in a post just scant weeks earlier, ILW concedes the US is the world’s only superpower, and that the world needs our leadership. Also, voting should be compulsory.

On tonight’s “Red Eye,” our “favorite” British guest told us how blissfully unaware we are profiling exists in this country. She mentioned accounts of her non-Caucasian friends being taken into “the room” at JFK, apparently implying body cavity searches. Then, she started to mention  – in the same breath – the fact she was carded in Arizona. I could have sworn she said “at the border,” but unless she was coming from Mexico, that makes no sense.

She seemed to be suggesting she’d been “profiled.” Someone – I don’t know who. (I was having technical difficulties with my phone, which is how I watch “Red Eye” these days) – cut her off. See, ILW is the whitest woman who ever walked the earth. The very idea she would be “profiled” by US border officials is so laughably stupid, it makes the skin crawl.

So Imogen attended Cambridge. Big deal. Her nemesis – George W. Bush – attended Yale and Harvard. She doesn’t seem to think much of him. Why should we think much of her?

Here’s the thing. What is Webber doing with her degree? She’s MSN’s Life & Style Editor At Large and is a published writer. What did she write? “The Single Girl’s Survival Guide.”

As part of her Life & Style Editor gig, she’s written

Even I can take meaningful art if it’s delivered in less than 15 minutes.

Well done.

How does a history major at one of Britain’s most prestigious universities come to be a fashion editor and single girl life expert? Perhaps it has something to do with her heritage. Aside from her admitted beauty, she happens to be the daughter of famed UK composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cats”).

Some people in tonight’s thread postulated the same people who don’t like Lloyd Webber don’t like Penn Jillette. I have no idea where this came from. In my case, it is definitely not true. While I don’t agree with Jillette on every item, he is clearly extremely intelligent, well researched and issues focused. Lloyd Webber writes about the trickiness of finding the proper trousers, and how to find the right lip gloss.

I’d like to suggest another comparsion: Meghan McCain. Some of the same people who don’t understand how any of us “Red Eye” fans could dislike ILW, dislike Meggie Mac for the same reasons. She’s a silver spoon-fed dilettante, who has surfed to fame on her father’s name and has little interesting or in depth to say.

Why ILW is so highly touted as a guest on various FNC shows is absolutely beyond me.

I think what rankles me the most is that ILW, a foreigner who has been given every advantage in life, has chosen to come to this country and talk about our policies as if she has experienced the cold harsh realities of American imperialism from the perspective of a poor, down-trodden outsider.

Is that the reality? I don’t know. I’ve never met her in person. But she comes across that way to many. I doubt her pedigree caused her any problems in finding gainful, celebrity status employment raking in more money than I’ll ever see. I also doubt, white as a lily as she is, she’s ever experienced any serious “American” ethnophobia.

The fact is, ILW is beautiful, rich and has a name known round the world. While I don’t think this in itself is deserving of hatred, to me, she acts like she is beautiful, rich and has a name known round the world.

Her opinions seem arrogant and more concerned with the witty bon mot than in relaying any deeper understanding of complex social issues. Her 200-300 word blog posts leave much to be desired in the way of reflecting anything more than a socialite’s passing understanding of important issues, and her often snooty and condescending tone on the show don’t tell me I’m wrong in my assessment of her.

That said, do I hate her? I willingly admit I do not. Sometimes, she can be sparkly, funny and congenial. Truth be told, she is almost always congenial. She works well with the “Red Eye” cast, and frankly, we would all miss her if she were to no longer appear on the show, myself included.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say I might really enjoy her socially, if we were ever to be seated in the same group at a cocktail bar. Provided, of course, we didn’t talk about politics, or the perception of the US abroad.

“Red Eye” is a show that provokes a certain rabidness among its followers. There are people who love Bill. There are people who hate Bill. There are people who love Andy. There are more people who love Andy. Greg is awesome, and everyone loves his Mom. We love to feel strongly about the show, and this includes sometimes harsh criticism of its guests.

Hell, we are up at three in the morning! We are either too drunk or too sleep deprived to be anything other than blunt. And, since Imogen is never reticent, why should the rest of us be?

I anticipate Imogen will have a long run on “Red Eye.” For good or bad, she has found a niche among a family of viewers who love her, hate her, or both. And, though writing this post has probably been a big shot in the foot as far as my own chances of growing closer to the “Red Eye” family, one never knows. Apparently, bluntness sometimes pays off.

One Response to “Red Eye: Imogen Annoys the Piss out of Me”
  1. Digitalcowboy says:

    I agreed with everything you said up until you said we’d miss her if she wasn’t on RE anymore. I especially agree with your comparison to MeggieMac; I came here from your Tweet to read your post and make that comparison but you beat me to it.

    I think you were far too kind to ILW. She’s vapid, talentless and obnoxiously stupid – just like MeggieMac – and has the added baggage of a particularly irritating variant of the Brit accent.

    She nearly ruins every episode of RE that she appears on. It’s a testament to Greg, Bill and Andy that I will even watch the show when she’s on and I usually hit mute when she starts speaking so as to avoid damaging my TV.

    Red Eye suffers when she’s a guest and the already great show would be much better if they waterboarded her and then stopped inviting her back.

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