Thursday, January 28, 2010

Playing the Victim

Today may be the most important day in the history of America.  No, I'm misstating.  Today may be the most important day in the history of humans.

Today, the interview of Jay Leno by Oprah Winfrey will air.

I hope you're watching, because I can't.  I'm working, like a sucker.

I have read some excerpts from the interview, and I can tell you, Jay is playing this all wrong.  He's trying to make himself sympathetic by making himself the victim of evil NBC.

No, Jay!  People already dislike you!  Don't get up there and say, "Oh, it wasn't me, I just work here."

Playing the victim can be effective, if done properly. 

Firstly, it helps if one has been a genuine victim.  It doesn't matter what you've been a victim of, whether it is something someone did to you, something society did to you, or even something you did to yourself, in the right circumstances.  Strike one against Jay: no one really "did" anything to him, except NBC, who just keeps hiring him and paying him enormous amounts of money, darn it!  It is hard to feel sorry for someone who, like Mr. Leno, makes so much money at his side job that he banks his multimillion dollar salary in its entirety and thus has no need to work ever, ever again.

Secondly, when playing the victim, one must bear in mind that people don't like people who play the victim.  So one must carefully let others know of one's victim status without coming out and saying, "Hey, you need to feel sorry for ME, because my boss doesn't like brown hair!"  However, one shouldn't overcompensate and become the martyr, employing the trademarked Trembling Sigh and repeating, "No, no...I'll get through it."  Strike two against Jay: he laments NBC "firing" him twice, but has no real answer to the question, "So why are you working for them, again?"

Thirdly, one must be careful, when referring to fellow victims, to not "one-up" those in a similar situation.  As in, "Yes, I know you have exczema in your nostrils, but my big toenail just won't grow right!"  In a similar vein, avoid accusing other victim-players of faking when you are trying to get sympathy.  Jay really bungled this with the "I'm sorry, but..." line of thinking.  Jay's logic is this:

1. I love Conan, and feel terrible for all of this.
2. Not that it was my fault.
3. And if his show had been any good at all, they wouldn't have given it back to me.
4. And he chose to leave.
5. But I feel terrible for him.

Most of us can see through this line of reasoning, because you hear it all the time.  I know I do: "Oh, there goes Myrtle, bless her heart, she's such a strong soul for putting up with that cat.  Of course, you know she feeds that cat Necco Wafers, that's why he smells like that.  And she won't buy those special cat roller skates, even though it's two front feet go in opposite directions.  Oh, but I feel for her, bless her heart."  You know what I mean.

So, Jay, if you're going to get yourself out of this, here's my advice:

There.  That's it.  Nothing.  There isn't a way out.  I think Jay will just have to be hated for a while.  He's proved he's resilient, though...I don't count him out.

Bless his heart.


Kristina P. said...

Ooooh, I'm off to read the interview. I hate him.

Boy Mom said...

I'm always a better person for reading your insights into the rich, famous and hated.

Your boss hates brown hair? Jerk!

Joanna said...

You're good.