By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
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By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
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By Erin Sherbert
On his radio show last Monday, infamous conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly lambasted San Francisco for voting against military recruitment in its schools, and welcomed terrorists to annihilate one of the city's most beloved landmarks, Coit Tower, a monument to firefighters. Said O'Reilly: "You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, "Look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."'" His comments set off a firestorm, but he has refused to back down, defending the tirade as "satirical." Are you an apologist for Bill O'Reilly? Take our quiz and find out!
1) What was your initial response to O'Reilly's diatribe?
A) As did every San Franciscan, I shook my head in sadness and wondered: "When O'Reilly said, 'Coit Tower,' did he pronounce the 'T' or leave it silent?" Because it really burns me up when out-of-towners drop that "T."
B) Oh, please. Like terrorists even listen to Bill O'Reilly.
C) OK, OK, lemme amend that: Like foreign terrorists listen to Bill O'Reilly.
2) Why do you think O'Reilly suggested that terrorists bomb Coit Tower instead of one of the city's other enduring visual symbols?
A) Well, remember when he settled out of court with the ex-employee who accused him of sexual harassment last year? In court documents, O'Reilly was described by her as "using a vibrator upon himself." Coit Tower, vibrator -- I'm just throwing that out there.
B) Hey, even Bill O'Reilly likes the Golden Gate Bridge.
C) Because calling for terrorists to bomb the homeless would be downright inhumane.
3) San Francisco voters' passage of Proposition I, the nonbinding measure that drew O'Reilly's ire, calls for the banning of military recruiters from public schools, and encourages scholarships for low-income students so that they don't feel the economic pressure to join the Army. What do you think of the measure?
A) Right on, man! And get the National Guard off our bridges!
B) Pinko-commie crap, plain and simple.
C) Actually, come to think of it, maybe San Franciscans voted correctly. Do we really want a bunch of Bay Area types joining the armed forces, if you know what I mean?
4) In calling O'Reilly's comments "beyond the circle of civil discussion," House Minority Leader and San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi -- who voted against Proposition I -- said: "Americans know what's funny and what's not." Do you agree?
A) I'd like to, but Tom Arnold still has a career in this country.
B) Yes. And what's more hilarious than blowing up Coit Tower? (Bonus point for adding: "You're right, you're right. Tom Green is more hilarious.")
C) Of course Americans know what's funny and what isn't. But you know who has an even more sophisticated sense of humor? Al Qaeda. Boy, do they love their political satire.
5) In an e-mail to SF Weekly, San Francisco's own conservative radio commentator, Michael Savage, expressed a desire to confront his noted rival O'Reilly (whom Savage refers to as "the leprechaun") about his latest comments: "The lep has called me an extremist on many occasions yet he is afraid to debate me. He calls for the annihilation of SF and must consider this a 'moderate' position!" Do you think the citizens of San Francisco should encourage a debate between Savage and O'Reilly?
A) Of course. Here's your complimentary set of earplugs.
B) Hmm, it's true ... these two just don't get the kind of time, exposure, and attention on the nation's airwaves that their substance-filled comments deserve.
C) Hell yeah! If the Commonwealth Club's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'! (Bonus point for adding: "Really, don't knock. They'll shoot you where you stand.")
6) In September, only a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, O'Reilly took the opportunity on his radio show to inveigh against the United Nations and its lack of support for President Bush's war on terrorism. Said O'Reilly: "I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else. Just flooded them out. And I wouldn't have rescued them." What's your response?
A) I'll remember that the next time I see O'Reilly trapped in a burning building. In hell.
B) OK, OK, so maybe Bill goes over the top from time to time. But at least he's not sarcastic, like that sniveling wretch Al Franken.
C) Hey, it's in the Bible, isn't it?
7) And finally, in the unlikely and catastrophic event that al Qaeda takes O'Reilly up on his suggestion to wipe out Coit Tower, what do you think the reaction would be?
A) You know, it's almost worth staking the place out and getting arrested, just to see if Fox would fire him.
B) Oh, please. You're acting like there's someone in the world who takes Bill O'Reilly seriously. I mean, aside from Bill O'Reilly.
C) I don't know, but can you just imagine the "Talking Points Memo" on that night's Factor? O'Reilly's face might melt out of pure, smug satisfaction.
How to score:
Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."
0-6 points: You obviously agree with Aaron Peskin, president of the Board of Supervisors, who said: "It sounds like he's on the same medication Rush Limbaugh is addicted to, and he should go see a therapist." Ooooh!
7-10 points: Everybody relax. I'm sure if there are al Qaeda cells in the United States, they're not watching Bill O'Reilly. They're watching Desperate Housewives.
11-14 points: Congratulations! You are a true apologist for the no-spin zone. Now go drill that militia.