I just finished reading a piece on Megyn Kelly in the most recent edition of Vanity Fair. While I've never watched her Fox News program The Kelly File, the article paints a compelling portrait of the lawyer-turned-journalist who takes great pleasure and purpose in speaking the truth to hype. Kelly's particular, highly attuned self-regard is largely absent of identity politics. And while that is certainly an easier thing for a white American woman to do (especially if she fits in with prescribed beauty standards), it is still worth noting that her tenacity and take-no-prisoners brand of tough questioning is largely "against type." Katie Couric, by contrast, asked tough questions when she was in primetime, but did so with a smile and a soft voice. No such luck with Kelly, a former litigator who, according to this article, does not suffer foolishness gladly.
According to the article, early on in Megyn Kelly's tenure at Fox News, her boss, Roger Ailes, told her to "make more mistakes." That's great advice for anyone starting out in a new venture. What is the point of having knowledge, enthusiasm, vision, and dedication to a field if one is afraid of making errors? How can we learn if we don't try new stuff out? Over time, Kelly's voice in journalism began to emerge when she became less concerned about making mistakes and more interested, in the words of Steve Martin, in "being so good they can't ignore you." (She is said to like this quote very much.) To take on a mission like that necessitates hubris that can produce groundbreaking work, but also some errors along the way. My takeaway from the Vanity Fair article is that those two outcomes are not separate, or, as buddhists like to say, "they are not two." Groundbreaking work means that one must make mistakes along they way.
Talk all you want about the evil Roger Ailes and Fox News have rendered onto our republic and the world by making candidates like Donald Trump appear to be viable alternatives to the very un-glamourous and important work of governance, and I will largely agree with you. And if the folks at Gawker are to be believed, Kelly is an odious presence on television, and a virulent racist. There is a case to be made, however, for the rise of Megyn Kelly, no matter what Donald Trump or Gawker may say about her. My lesson from the article is simple: living with a voice can be challenging sometimes. Any composer worth her salt knows this. But to move through challenges, humbled and informed by them, and everyday be un-ignorable by virtue of one's good works--maybe that's the hokey pokey. Maybe that's what it's all about.