Has anyone else ever noticed that the women are usually the smartest guests on “Red Eye?” Among them are Ann Coulter, Patti Ann Browne, Remi Spencer, and my interviewee this week, Jedediah Bila. Fox News Channel’s “Red Eye” host, Greg Gutfeld, told me, “She’s a smart lady. Knows her stuff. Although she listens to horrible music.”
Bila is a frequent guest on “Red Eye” and other Fox News and Fox Business shows. She is a contributor to HUMAN EVENTS and the Daily Caller. Her new book, Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative, is a compelling look at what drove a middle school, high school and college teacher into the arms of conservative commentary. Her story got the attention of Sarah Palin, who proclaimed on Twitter that she wanted to “hunt down” a copy of the book and recommended people make it part of their summer reading.
In Outnumbered, Bila writes, “I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy, political correctness, and cry-baby syndrome of some on the left as they call you whatever, whenever, however without blinking an eye. That includes any and all who feel persecuted by my right to an opinion.”
In the last few years, Bila’s story has become very familiar in the political landscape. People with no political background are becoming engaged in policy discussions. As a missionary for conservatism in Manhattan, Jedediah Bila’s teaching career has really just begun.
1. If there were a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
BILA: The Bishop’s Wife. That’s partly because I’ve been in love with Dudley since the age of 5. Or is it Cary Grant I’m in love with? A little of both, I suppose.
2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
BILA: There are so many. But I’ll have to go with two.
The first one is from my boy—that’s right, he’s mine—Hubbell Gardiner: “When you love someone, from Roosevelt to me, you go deaf, dumb and blind.”—The Way We Were
The second is from Noah in The Notebook: “Well that’s what we do, we fight. … You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I’m not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a two-second rebound rate, then you’re back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing.”
3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he is “cured.” If you could give President Obama, the “Clockwork Orange treatment,” what movie would you make him watch?
BILA: Steve Bannon’s The Undefeated. I mean, it’s only fair that he should get to know the woman who’s going to beat him in 2012.
4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
BILA: An old Wonder Woman T-shirt from the ’80s. At some point, I figured that if I wore the T-shirt enough, I might turn into her. And I’ve always been a fan of the lasso, so I continue to give it my best shot.
5. What’s your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
BILA: I know I’ll never live this one down, but MTV’s “The Challenge: Rivals.” I can’t resist any kind of physical challenge show. As Andy Levy would say, “I apologize for nothing.”
6. Tell me one of your favorite conservative-at-a-Manhattan-cocktail-party stories.
BILA: I hate the cocktail party scene, so I typically avoid it at all costs. However, every now and then I have to attend one. Last year, I was invited to a party on the Upper East Side by some of the left-wing elite’s finest. The air-conditioning system went out and it was about 100 degrees in their apartment. There were whining, screeching women EVERYWHERE. Someone had to make it stop.
So, in the midst of listening in on a third discussion about the “intellectual rock” that is Barack Obama—and trying my best to ignore the screeches—I removed my button-down shirt to reveal a “Reagan Was Right” baby tee. The silence felt so good.
7. What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
BILA: Pizza, Italian bread, salad, Sicilian olives, Broccoli Rabe, and pretty much any kind of cake. A little pasta on the side never hurts, by the way.
8. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
BILA: Bon Jovi. We were somewhere in the first 10 rows. I went with my best friend and her dad. She spent most of the night talking about how she was going to get Jon to marry her. I spent most of the night fascinated by the drums. Not much has changed in the last 20 years.
9. What books are on your summer reading list?
BILA: Next up are Reagan’s The Notes and Breitbart’s Righteous Indignation. After that, I’ll likely reread my favorite Spanish novel, Queda la noche.
10. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the politics?
BILA: It doesn’t get much cooler than hanging with the “Red Eye” boys. I’ve honestly never laughed so hard in my life. But I have to say that the coolest thing for me has been being able to reach out to our country’s youth and engage them in discussions about politics, culture, and America’s future. Their energy and enthusiasm are so inspiring to me.
11. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, “This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
BILA: One “as cool as Elvis” moment occurred last week when I had the honor of beating a liberal “gentleman” in a boot camp challenge. He underestimated me because of my size (I love when that happens) and was left out of breath and begging for water.
The bet was that if he lost, he’d have to read Liberty and Tyranny. As a former teacher, I assure you that he will be quizzed. The bonus? He’s finally going to learn something.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
BILA: I was teaching at the time at a private school in Manhattan. I had followed the 2008 presidential election pretty closely—and the appalling lack of journalistic integrity that accompanied it. I found myself exploring political topics through journal writing here and there, but my push toward politics really happened one particular day in March of 2009. I shared it with readers in my new book, Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. And now I’ll share an excerpt with you:
“I spent a good part of the afternoon reading news’ articles. The more I read, the more disgusted I became. The state of objective media is an outright disgrace.
I sat for a while thinking about the election of 2008 and about what an Obama presidency would probably look like (still hoping I’d be dead wrong). I picked up some of my personal writings, none of which I intended to publish. Some secrets of your soul are meant to stay that way. I moved on to folders filled with research papers on art, literature, and philosophy. That’s a lot of time, I thought. And then I glanced over at a couple of political reflections I’d written over the past few months.
I suddenly felt lost and didn’t know why. And then I remembered something that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, something a college professor told me twelve years ago. I had been sitting in his office talking about how I didn’t know what to major in, how I had no idea where I was headed or how I’d get there. I remember him removing his glasses—he had the perfect professor spectacles—and saying, “You’re a writer, whether you like it or not. If you ever feel lost, just sit down, trust it, and write.” I don’t know why that memory came to me in that moment, but I know that a political column flowed rather quickly from my “pen” soon after.
And so a new chapter begins.”