People Mailbag 8/27/2012

It’s been awhile since anyone on the MailBag page has annoyed me much. This time? There’s two.

Linda Merk of Rochester, NY writes: Why do so many stars feel they have to carry their children everywhere? Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are always carrying 6-year-old Suri, and now Julia Roberts is seen toting her 7-year-old to the beach. Kids should walk on their own so they can become independent.

Linda, you answered your own question. Why are you seeing pictures of these children being carried? Think about that one. Now, you walk with your six or your seven-year-old child while running an errand or spending some time together, and have five, 10, 15, 20, or more photographers surrounding you. Calling your name. Calling the kid’s name. Trying to get their picture. You see if #1, you don’t want to get the heck out of there, and #2, if you aren’t just a little concerned for your child’s safety. Sure, there’s the price of fame, but then there’s actually being in that pack of people with your child. And that is not the time to teach them independence.

And then Ellen George of Atlanta writes: I love Kelly Ripa, but I winced when I saw her looking so skinny in her bikini. She’s sending young girls the wrong message about body image.

Ellen, Kelly Ripa has always been skinny. She has muscles–well-developed ones. Not too-skinny looking ones. The message she’s sending? #1, she goes to the beach. #2, not all bodies look the same. #3, if your body doesn’t look the same (you don’t think folks who are below average weight are ever sensitive about that?) you don’t have to hide it. If Ellen is “wincing” when she sees a skinny person enjoying themselves at the beach, she’s the one with the body image problem–not Kelly Ripa.

Bieber and Gomez

In the June 27, 2011 of People, Debby Scott writes:

So, Justin Bieber, 17, flies off on vacation to Hawaii with Selena Gomez, 18? What fine role models these two stars are to young people. What can their parents possibly be thinking?

Usually, I’ve got issues with the writers of these MailBag letters, but this time, it’s with People. I am a 37 year-old chick who wouldn’t know a Bieber song or a Gomez song. All I know is that there is something wrong with that boy’s hair, and he looks like a wee baby, so if he’s having sex, well, I just can’t even imagine wanting to do that with him. He’s so… young. But that’s not the point. The point is, I am not in these folks’ demographics of fandom, but even I’d read in more than one publication that the two kissing stars were in Maui. With parents–at least one set. I totally forget which set. But one set was mentioned. His. Hers. Whatever.

And if I, a non-celebrity stalkerazzi/non-fan of these two know that their parents were somewhere on that island with them, then surely People knew. There may not be pictures of them, but based on reports, it sounds like there was some chaperoning going on, and there’s at least some reasonable doubt. Are they pushing the envelope in terms of showing their fans (they surely knew the photogs were there) that they aren’t Disney virgins? Sure. But for People to publish Debby Scott’s letter as if there wasn’t some reasonable information that parents weren’t part of this trip, well, that’s just adding smoke to an implied fire.

Sure, you’re a celebrity magazine, and we know you’re corruptible *cough-paying-for-Britney’s-birthday-party-cough* but why publish a letter that emphasizes what you left out of your commentary on the kiss/grope-filled trip, People? It’s one thing to leave the detail out, but to add the Debby Scott criticism as if there was no evidence that parental chaperoning was part of the trip? Well, that doesn’t seem like responsible journalism. And if you want to remain the one celebrity magazine that isn’t completely up for dismissal as hogwash, then don’t let people go up on a pedestal or be taken down from one if there are conflicting facts. And though unrelated, please don’t publish those grainy photos that might be “exclusive,” but are obviously taken without the opportunity for the star to know the photog was there. Those long distance shots just aren’t fair.

People Mailbag 6/13/2011

Donna Nelson wrote: I believe people who attempt to change their gender are still the same sex they were born as, no matter how much they alter their bodies and [how many] hormones they take. I don’t think they have the right to call themselves anything other than what they are born as. DNA is DNA. You can’t change it.

Well, Donna, I see that you likely didn’t take many science classes after high school or college. Most commonly, women have two X chromosomes, part of the DNA make-up, and men usually have one X and one Y. But brace yourself, Donna. There are women who have Y chromosomes. And men who have X chromosomes. I use “women” and “men” here to describe how we assign folks based on sex organs, and I mean women like you (and me), who haven’t done anything odd, hormone-wise. One of us might have a Y chromosome with no sign of it–no extra facial hair or deep voices, etc. So, if you find out you have a Y chromosome, Donna, will that make you a man? Really think about that, Donna. THERE ARE WOMEN WHO HAVE WHAT WE NORMALLY THINK OF AS MALE DNA. And the reverse is true.

Am I saying that Chaz has a Y chromosome? Of course not. How would I know? He probably doesn’t know. But he might. You might. I might. If I find out I have a Y chromosome tomorrow, I’m gonna keep going around as a woman, Donna. You’ll have to decide for yourself what you’ll do if you find out you have one. It’s more common than you think. Some people even have THREE instead of TWO. Now what?

DNA is DNA–and it’s a lot more complicated than you make it sound.

Dear Whoopi. Yes, it’s about Mel.

Whoopi, I am usually in agreement with you, but I will say that being black doesn’t make you an expert on what is and isn’t racist any more than being female makes me an expert on what being a woman is all about–I can’t speak for all women. I can’t imagine that you would want to speak for all black people on what is and isn’t racist. Leave that to the Al Sharpton’s of the world (topic for another post).

I’m all for sticking by a friend, but by defending him…well, you may as well say that when non-black people say “Some of my best friends are black” as a defense against being racist that it is, in fact, proof that they’re not, when we (okay, I) know that many racists have claimed and will claim that “some of their best friends are black.” Next you’ll be saying that when people express surprise that a black person can speak articulately that such surprise isn’t a sign of racism.

And argue the context or the other party’s motives all you want, but he still said what he said, and this isn’t the first time.

People are rarely all good or all bad. Maybe he is a good friend, but he is also a racist. Race is complicated, as I’m sure you know, and so is racism. Somehow, your friendship and his racism seem to coincide. Just because they might seem as if it can be only be one or the other, I don’t believe that is true. We are far more complex than that. You may defend your friend, but I think you are doing more harm than good for the both of you by making the issue so, well, black and white.

Living Social, I Hate You

I love cupcakes. No, I love frosting. The cake part is simply a vehicle for the frosting.

And on Facebook, Yahoo! News, and elsewhere, there are these ads with a big ol’ great-looking cupcake. I mean, that thing looks good. It definitely draws my attention. And it has a little “sticker” on it that says, “Get Today’s Deal!” It’s a local “1-DayDeals” ad–they’re in a number of markets. So, I click.

There’s the cupcake, bigger than life, but now they want to know if I want deals of four different types. I’m supposed to select the ones I want. Nothing about cupcakes, but there’s a restaurants option. I leave that one checked and uncheck the rest. Then they want my e-mail address!


#1, four categories suggests there is more than one deal (the singular was on the original ad!)
#2, I already don’t trust you: there are four categories, and none of them looked like they were leading to the cupcake of my dreams. So, no, you don’t get my e-mail address. No chance.

Moreover, I hate you for continously showing me that cupcake with no way to get it.

Living Social. Feh!


AT&T: First, you fail because I had to search YouTube and Google to figure out it was your commercial I wanted to trounce. I’ve seen it multiple times, so I should have been able to remember who was doing the advertising, no? No. I couldn’t remember. iPhone? Droid? Whatever. I don’t even know if your smart phone has a name. I’d have to watch the commercial again, and it probably wouldn’t tell me, anyway. After all, I don’t think it even said the brand name *slaps head*

But here’s why you really fail: I have accepted that people love their smart phones, and I have accepted that a world full of very impatient people who seem to get bored at the drop of a hat (which wouldn’t interest them either) now have little toys that help keep them from sighing heavily while waiting in a line. I get that, but come on–the smart phone does not inspire creativity or imagination or a “world where anything is possible.” If anything, a smart phone puts the kibosh on imagination.

You fail because you lie. And you fail because you suggest the opposite of what your product actually produces. Your product distracts and keeps people from imagining possibilities. And you don’t speak your brand name aloud in a television commercial! Seriously?