I haven’t read Mika Brzezinski’s new book “Knowing Your Value” and I don’t intend to. Based on what I see from her actions and words every day on “Morning Joe” I can tell that she was not raised in a family that “valued” her, and it shows.
Take, for example, her overly reactionary outlook on weight and self-image. Brzezinski is harshly outspoken against what she calls “America’s Obesity Epidemic”. She not only refers to fast-food and anything with Corn Syrup in it as “disgusting”, she refers to anyone not emaciated like she is as “disgusting”.
On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, “Morning Joe” cast member Mike Barnicle apparently had a hole (invisible to those of us watching on TV) in his black shirt. Mika offered to fix it with a small sewing kit and referred to the hole in Mr. Barnicle’s shirt as “the hole in your GUT”. Barnicle responded to this tasteless reference by saying “Can’t you just call it a stomach”. Brzezinski said “it’s not just a stomach, it’s a GUT” and used her hands in front of herself to form an over sized stomach and made a hissing sound with her mouth. It was embarrassing to Mr. Barnicle. She said it on live TV and it was just plain embarrassing. Could she be more judgmental?
The scene played out through the commercial break and into the next segment which was Sports. She referred to the GUT again and Barnicle again implored Ms. Brzezinski to say the hole in his shirt was in area on his shirt that covers his stomach. I felt badly for Barnicle. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. And there’s nothing more hurtful than someone calling you fat. What’s worse – people will say it to someone who is overweight as if the overweight person doesn’t know they are overweight. Just last week I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in 20 years. The first thing she said to me was “what happened – you used to be so skinny”. I can’t believe this behavior is acceptable. It shouldn’t be. Not by the whacked out woman I ran into, and not by a television hostess. It would be like saying to a woman, “what happened, your boobs used to sit a lot higher”.
I’ve known Mika Brzezinski for many, many years. I grew up in Hartford and had to endure her at WFSB, the local CBS affiliate, for several years. From there she went on the CBS overnight shift and eventually she showed up on Morning Joe. In my opinion there was always something off about her. It wasn’t until I learned more, and heard more about her family – meaning her famous father and her brothers – and how they would have lively “discussions” around the dinner table, that I figured out what she was all about.
Without even having to think all that hard about this, I can surmise that Mika came from a dysfunctional, perfectionist family. Her father accepted nothing but perfection from both Mika and her brothers, and I doubt any of them could ever truly measure up in the tyrants eyes. Mika is a health nut brought on by her need to be perfect. Even I can hear the tapes that play in her head that convince her nobody will love her if she’s overweight, or isn’t perfect. That’s how she thinks, that’s how she approaches life, that’s how she approaches relationships with her own family, co-workers, and friends, and guests on the show. She has an incredibly bad self-image, and exercises like mad all in the hope that people will like her if she’s thin enough.
So for all the talk about knowing your own value, I think it’s a cover for how she really thinks about herself. In her mind she’ll always be a fat little 6-year-old who will never measure up to her famous father or successful brothers. Some think Mika is intelligent. I find her to be completely devoid of independent thought. I’ve never heard Mika Brzezinski come up with her own, independent thoughts, ideas, or opinions. It’s always a rehash of somebody else’s. She doesn’t have time to think on her own when she’s so worried she’ll gain an ounce. How terrible it is to be consumed with just one thought, each day, every day of your life. The only thing she can come up with on her own are the old tapes that play in her head that she tries so hard to suppress, but still ring loud and clear to her. They say “you are fat, dumb, and worthless and you’ll never measure up”. This “knowing your value” crap is a ruse. She’s trying to convince herself, and the American public, that she values herself. Who wants to be the one to tell her the truth – that she really doesn’t value herself, or anyone else, for that matter.
And in my opinion, she owe’s Mike Barnicle an apology. The whole scene that day was classless, tasteless, and insulting.