I read somewhere once—or dreamed it—that Republicans are drawn to punitive, harsh father figures and that Democrats prefer father figures who are tolerant and accepting. Bill O’Reilly falls into the category of father-knows-best-as-he-reaches-for-his-belt. But does O’Reilly know best? It’s certainly not for me to say; I am a confused and lost soul. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a Bill O’Reilly: so sure about everything, always in the right. So, clearly, much of O’Reilly’s success comes from claiming a populist, moral high ground, but didn’t the loofah-falafel sex allegations by Andrea Mackris, a producer on his program, demonstrate that perhaps he’s not worthy of his holier-than-thou pedestal? I was struck by Makris’s claim in her 2004 lawsuit that O’Reilly, while describing a fantasy encounter, insisted that he and Mackris get into the shower. (O’Reilly also sued Mackris, for extortion; the TV host eventually settled out of court with Mackris for an undisclosed amount.) I sensed a subconscious desire on O’Reilly’s part for cleanliness and maybe some neurosis about the female body since the first thing he would want to do was clean it with a loofah, which he then, steeped as he is in reporting on the Middle East, mistakenly called a falafel, according to Mackris’s suit. But what I’m most curious about is how many of O’Reilly’s hard-core followers subsequently used a falafel in the manner described. His fans are known to be quite rabid, and so I would really love to know just how many Americans, influenced by their favorite father figure, soaped up a woman’s pubes with a ball of fried chickpeas.