Past His Prime

Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP

Monday was a shocking day for the news cycle. In the span of just a few hours America lost not one but two of its most well-known cable news hosts.

Fox News announced they are parting ways with Tucker Carlson, their most popular host and biggest news cycle draw. Speculation continues to swirl as to why they tanked their golden calf. Regardless, the news sent a shockwave through the media industry.

Not long afterward, Don Lemon released a statement saying he had been terminated by CNN after 17 years of lying anchoring and reporting.

I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play. With that said, I want to my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business and I wish them all the best.

It couldn’t have happened to a better guy, really.

CNN clapped back with an old-fashioned “I don’t know her” statement.

Don Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate. He was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter.


The Bible says we should not delight in the misery of others (ugh…fine), but I will remind you that it was mere weeks ago that Mr. Lemon so very casually and even smugly announced that 50-year-old Nikki Haley was “past her prime” as a presidential candidate.

“Nikki Haley isn’t in her prime. Sorry. When a woman is considered in her prime in her twenties and thirties…I’m just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says twenties, thirties and forties. I’m just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google or whatever it is.”

Again, we are obviously not going to delight in Lemon’s misery. OBVIOUSLY NOT. I’m just going to mention, in a casual, not-delighting type of way that Don Lemon is 57 years old.

I’m not that great at math but I compared Lemon’s age to Haley’s age and did a little calculating. If you carry the ones, multiply the fives and add eleventy billion, it turns out Lemon is *checks notes* seven years older than Nikki Haley.

I wonder – again, in a non-delighting type of way – if Lemon regrets his comment at all now that he’s out of the job he thought he could never lose and staring down the barrel of an AARP card.

I once watched a stupid reality tv dating show (I watch a lot of those) that pitted women in their late 30s and 40s against women in their early 20s for the affections of a group of young men. The producers threw all the contestants in a house together, stocked the alcohol and the sunscreen and let the rest play out for the cameras.

One woman in her early 40s seemed to strike up a genuine connection with a couple of the young men, and the 20s girls weren’t liking it. One evening they all sat around, bashing the older woman, suggesting she was pathetic for even trying to date younger men. They called her desperate, “thirsty” and cringe. They implied the men she was connecting with only felt sorry for her. One of the girls told her friend, “It’s so gross. It’s like…you’re old. No one wants a 40-year-old ass. Just accept it and learn to knit or something.” Everyone laughed like it was the funniest thing they’d ever heard. They all agreed…being 40 is pathetic.

They made me laugh too.

“Oh, good thing they’re never going to age and will always be 24!” I thought to myself, sarcastically. I felt sorry for those mean girls. I remember my 20s (mostly) and I remember that feeling of invincibility. I couldn’t picture myself aging or declining. Those things were for weak people. But then I aged…and declined, and I realize how foolish I was to imagine my younger years were going to be any longer than anyone else’s. We think we have all the time in the world and then suddenly the world speeds up and you’re hurtling towards 50 and the brakes are out and the airbags don’t work.

The show is a few years old now, and some of those mean girls must find themselves hurtling towards 40 by now. I wonder if any of them ever think back to that moment and how they ridiculed and insulted a woman for having the audacity to not be 20. I wonder if any of them look at themselves in the mirror and long for those 20-year-old abs and feel like absolute trash for thinking a woman is useless and disgusting after 35.

This is how I imagine Don Lemon – notorious mean girl, judging everything and everyone around him as lacking, wanting, and some shade of pathetic; and doing so because he was resting on the false premise that he would always be a top anchor at CNN, that he would always have a great job with lavish benefits and all the perks of fame. He was that sad, idiot little girl, pointing and laughing at the more mature woman, believing against all reality that he will be the one person to beat Father Time.

Now that he’s facing a job market saturated with younger, fresher, smarter influencers who come with their own built-in social media audiences, is Don rethinking what it means to be “past one’s prime?” Is he feeling any regret for that petty, bitchy little stab at Haley, now that he’s no longer a sure thing?

Not that I hope he is…that sounds miserable and I am not delighting in Mr. Lemon’s misery today.

I’m just saying…

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