I Wished for this on New Years Eve…

24 01 2014

… As Miley Cyrus idiotically rang in 2014 with Ryan Seacrest, and as Dick Clark no doubt turned over in his grave, I told my family I wanted but two things to happen this year:
1. I want Miley to go away. Girlfriend is twerking all over my last nerve!
2. I want a cure for Bieber Fever. This kid is such a tool (who hasn’t EVER had a #1 single in the US)!

J. Bieber Mugshot, via Miami PD Twitter

J. Bieber Mugshot, via Miami PD Twitter

So as I started my day (1/23), with usual still bleary-eyed readings of People and TMZ to get my pop culture juices flowin’, I was filled with joy at the headlines about Justin Bieber’s early morning arrest in Miami, FL.
Do I wish him harm? Of course not. He is incredibly lucky he has a huge team around to cater to his every whim and block off public streets for drunken drag racing. He’s also damn lucky no one was injured or killed, as he did have a passenger in the obnoxious yellow Lambo.
I do wish someone would teach this fucking moron man-child a thing or two about responsibility. It’s obvious his parents are not capable of influencing him in a positive or constructive way (Mom, Dad; let the finger-pointing begin). You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, someone who just won’t take your advice that waving to fans as you are released from jail is tacky… Especially if that someone is your teenaged child, who makes more in one month than you could in a lifetime.

This is a 19-year-old KID who has more money than he can actually fathom what to do with, and millions of fans who hang on his every tweet, affirming all of his poor behavior with empty pledges of “love” and praise. Under normal circumstances, the Biebs would be just another college kid. And college kids make mistakes. The difference here is, the whole world is watching him– and because he takes their money for iTunes singles, stupid flashy merchandise, and concert tickets– he is accountable to that audience. He has to play the part of squeaky-clean, hormonally-neutral, parent-approved teeny bopper. That is literally what he signed up for.

Justin Bieber: Professional DBag.

Justin Bieber: Professional DBag.

The Biebs is just the latest example of a child star gone off the rails. Historically, a family background of addiction, generational criminality or domestic abuse, and disadvantaged economic status are common among child performers. Such factors are present in the Bieber background, having been not only acknowledged, but openly discussed for [further] profit, by Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette.
As the adorable-now-sophisticated Mara Wilson, former child star (Matilda, One Simple Wish, Mrs. Doubtfire), explained in a spring 2013 article for Cracked.com, ‘many child stars find themselves wanting to rebel in ways that would be detrimental to their careers.’ Some stay in line, and end up miserable,’ having been pushed into acting as a means of supporting their families.’ Others are presented with inappropriate opportunities or set up for exploitation, given the ‘adult nature of Hollywood that sometimes prevents even the best parents from being able to protect their child from the industry.’
Joke as we will, but with too much money, nothin’ but time, and nobody to say ‘no,’ there are a finite number of conclusions to the career (and life, if he keeps this up) of Justin Drew Bieber. Here’s a little list for you, with other child stars individuals to consider, as we think about what’s going to be Team Bieber’s next move…

*Best Case Scenarios:
Drew Barrymore
Demi Lovato

*Desperate Obscurity:
Dustin Diamond
Erin Moran

*Worst Case Scenarios:
Mackenzie Phillips
Brad Renfro





Oh, Mia Farrow, You Attention-Starved Hasbeen…

4 10 2013

Why exactly is it a big deal that Mia Farrow and 8 of her 15 children agreed to be interviewed by Vanity Fair?

(Undated file photo, via People.)

(Undated file photo, via People.)

I read the teaser article and contributor Maureen Orth’s original, sprawling 1992 profile of  Farrow (and the custody battle of the decade), but I am at a loss as to why this is pertinent news. (We can all thank the Journalism Department at the University at Albany for my keen evaluation and desire for stories that are timely!)

Mia Farrow’s career consists of films made mostly during the 1960s-1980s. She has worked only sporadically on screen since the 1990s, and has not been in a mainstream, money-making film of note since 2006′s The Omen; so excuse me for pointing out her lack of relevancy. (She appeared in Jack Black’s comedy Be Kind Rewind in 2008 but let’s be real, nobody saw it! The film, which basically ripped off a Nickelodeon kid’s sketch, grossed only $30 million.)
I will grant however, she has done remarkable work on behalf of UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations. But in our salacious, often invasive, 24/7 celebrity media culture, your good deeds only get you so far in the press.

Undoubtedly aware of this, Farrow coyly answered Orth’s blunt question of son Ronan’s paternity; “Possibly,” she claims, the 25-year-old could have been fathered by Farrow’s ex-husband Frank Sinatra. The very inkling single-handedly sent blogs and weekly glossy mags into a frenzy.
Though Farrow claims she and Sinatra “never really split up,” despite her having been served with divorce papers on the set of Rosemary’s Baby in 1968; Barbara Sinatra (who was married to the prolific musician from 1978 until his death in 1998) was quoted by BBC that the mere idea “sounds like a phony to me.”
Woody Allen, Farrow’s partner of over a decade and presumed father of Ronan (born Satchel O’Sullivan Farrow; later called Seamus Ronan Farrow), stated through a representative that “The article is so fictitious and extravagantly absurd that he is not going to comment.” Although estranged from Farrow, and thereby Ronan, since the early 90s when he took up with now-wife Soon-Yi Previn–it would appear that Allen still holds the boy in regard as his only natural child.

(Present day Farrow; Photo via Esquire)

(Present day Farrow; Photo via Esquire)

I kind of can’t help but think of Farrow as a former good-time-girl with a grudge. Was Woody Allen’s betrayal absolutely depraved and immoral? Yes.  Does she have every right to be humiliated? Yes.  But to toss around accusations like this, 20 years after the fact, is just sad. Everyone in the free world knows about DNA testing, and I feel like in 1992 when shit was goin’ down that having a paternity test done would have been just the nail she needed to close the door on Allen for good.

This whole thing seems, as Miley Cyrus would say, a strategic hot mess.

Some people have viewed her as an ethereal, Earth Mother-y woman, but former Farrow family nanny Kristi Groteke says, “Scratch the surface of Mia’s naivety and bewilderment, and you get a woman who knows what’s happening.”  It should be assumed, at this point, that a woman with so much experience with men letting her down (her father was a philandering drunk, her ) is not the doe-eyed ingenue of Peyton Place. This crusader for the underprivileged has enough world experience to know how to play all the detail-hungry Hollywood games.

This will no doubt continue to be media fodder until the whole article is released, in VF’s November issue, but I am more interested to see if anything truly comes of it. Perhaps on the first edition of Ronan Farrow’s rumored MSNBC weekend show he could do a cross-over special with Maury Povich and out WHO IS THE FATHER! (I kid, but that would be awesome.)

 

 





Michigan Mother Arrested for Attempted Murder of Disabled Teen Daughter

7 09 2013

I am so appalled by a People magazine brief I read online about this Michigan mother who tried to kill her autistic 14-year-old.  I can’t not comment on this.

Kelli Stapelton Mug Shot; Benzie County, MI

Kelli Stapelton Mug Shot;
Benzie County, MI

I can imagine, to a degree, what it’s like to parent a differently abled child; as my mother has been an educator and administrator in the special ed sector for nearly three decades. She worked with kids who were emotionally disturbed, had mental retardation, and autism. I have grown up being exposed to, and fairly well educated on, their issues and limitations, as well as the strategies and successes; and participated in different activities with and for autistic children and young adults. On several occasions, particular students that struck a chord with her would be brought into our home and included in family activities.
My mom’s stories about some of the pitiful families these kids come from turn your stomach and break your heart. These children are not disposable, not a single one of them, no matter how impaired or volatile. People with patience can achieve results that will leave the kid feeling capable and valuable.

That said, reading about the the accused, Kelli Stapleton, sent me immediately into a kind of rage. HOW could any parent kill their child? HOW could any parent of a disabled child turn on them that way? HOW will this girl, if she ever recovers, be able to trust her mother (and primary caregiver) again?!

I was compelled to read Stapleton’s blog, which is titled “The Status Woe,” which was not only referenced but quoted in the People article. (DISCLOSURE: Like this page, it is hosted by WordPress.)

I cannot believe what I read.  It is one thing to advocate for your child, a very necessary thing whether they fall on the spectrum or not, but quite another to admit to bullying your way to get what you want-– when the trained professionals have a different plan for how best to manage your child’s day to day. “It takes a village,” unless Kelli Stapleton lives in that village. She is a one-woman show.
Besides the fact that this woman has put their entire lives, every bloody detail, out there for the world when her daughter has no way to protest; I was disturbed by the amount of attention-seeking and immature illustrating Stapleton does.  How can someone expect to be respected and taken seriously when they have adorned their “website” with gifs and banners, admitted to being profanely vulgar towards a county mental health staff, or chastising a teacher (and co-worker of your spouse!) because she dared to do her job and input on the ‘behavior plan.’

There are certain phrases, buzz words if you will, that people in this industry- parents, educators and aides, and (OT/PT) therapists- do not use. (Ex: Normal.) Stapleton’s blog is littered with them and she places blame on the child for behavior she is not yet able to control (Ex: stating her daughter makes their homelife ‘horrific’). These are not altogether unforgivable offenses, but they raise red flags.  Stapleton is very ‘me me me,’ telling the Traverse City Record-Eagle last February that she started her blog because “I felt like I needed witnesses… If I didn’t survive this situation, I wanted people to know that I was a good mom and I did everything I could do, and I asked for help from all these resources.”
She even blogged that, “For 12 years, I have done a fabulous job of complementing professionals to stroke egos, kissing enormous asses to get needs met, flexing my muscles when necessary, and begging when it was called for,” but stated outright that no one would be “FUCKING WITH THE BEHAVIOR PLAN.” Seems to me like it’s Stapleton’s way or the highway, and that means her daughter’s well-being hangs in the balance.

I won’t feign sympathy for someone who tried to kill their child, and being that her family has volunteered personal information by way of that blog, and a Facebook group, I CAN CRITICIZE HER ALL I WANT.

Isabelle, and her father, Matthew Stapleton. Photo source: The Daily Mail (UK)

Isabelle, and her father, Matthew Stapleton.
Photo source: The Daily Mail (UK)

Stapleton’s husband, Matthew, wrote (in part) on the “Team Issy” Facebook September 5th: “So many of you have been very supportive of Isabelle and my family… and for this we are grateful. We are blessed with supportive friends, family, and an incredible community. Even strangers have been supportive of Issy and we ask that they continue to do so during this tough time.
We are also aware of the many stories and rumors that can accompany such events. We ask that you continue to keep the focus on Isabelle’s recovery and not necessarily on the events that have brought us to this unfortunate fight for her life. We ask that people don’t judge, but instead direct their positive energies on the recovery of this beautiful young lady.”

Seriously?  Haven’t you asked your community for enough?  They bought bracelets and t-shirts, they signed petitions and sent letters, they consistently fundraise. Your wife, who previously said the community’s continued support was “just so humbling and beyond generous and amazing”, just tried to kill your daughter.  How dare you even consider asking more of them.

Autism is no one’s choice, but the situation the Stapleton’s now find themselves is entirely Kelli Stapleton’s fault. Her choices to strong arm the insurance companies, the clinical organizations and therapists, the school district… all lead to this family’s back being against a wall and their daughter with no program to attend. Stressful as that is, killing her solves none of the problems, and further, doesn’t teach her mother to be less selfish.  Several news outlets (GOOGLE IT, I can’t link to them all) report that the “incident” was a murder-suicide… perhaps. But as we see entirely too often with filicide, the parent survives. THAT is why Kelli Stapleton has been charged with a crime, THAT is why Kelli Stapleton deserves to be in jail, THAT is why Matt Stapleton should get a good divorce lawyer.

I look forward to the comments and continuing coverage of this story. I can only hope it reaches national news channels and crime shows (I’m looking at you, Nancy Grace), and justice is properly served for this girl.

—————————————————————————————————————
UPDATE     Despite statements made to police that Stapleton believed it was time she and her daughter “went to heaven,” as she had reached “her wit’s end” with her daughter’s condition; a court appearance has been set to determine her competency in participating with her defense.  Stapleton admitted that she lured the girl to the family van, drugged her, and then set ablaze two charcoal grills to kill them both– because “this would be the best solution for the family” to end the her frustration with the girl’s condition– according to trial transcripts and a Michigan State Trooper affiliated with the case.
Kelli Stapleton’s husband, Matt, who is prinicipal of Frankfort High School, has petitioned for divorce and full custody of their three children.

I think it’s very clear what Stapleton’s motivations and intent were, and there should not be a judge or jury in the world compassionate enough to believe that a mother who claims to have devoted her entire existence, and blogged about it for all to see (praise), to creating a full life for her daughter, could have “snapped,” or behaved in such a way without premeditation.  This was her life for over a decade, which means she had nearly 4,000 days to consider how, when and where to kill her middle child.

 





Startling Number of Celebrity Scientologists

12 07 2013

So, breaking news in dedicated pop culture circles (like the one I live in):
Actress Leah Remini, best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on King of Queens, has left the controversial ‘religion.’ She has previously admitted to participating in the Scientology organization for “half my life” (during an interview with Howard Stern) despite being born into a Catholic family in NYC’s Bensonhurst neighborhood.

Read her tweet in response to the news here, via People.

What people perhaps do not understand is just how many Hollywood figures are involved with this organization, to varying degrees. Tom Cruise and John Travolta are the two celebrities most often mentioned in Scientology talk, but they are just the guys standing on the tip of the iceberg.

I have always been fascinated with Scientology, but after reading Jenna Miscavige Hill’s book Beyond Belief and subsequently finding Tony Ortega’s blog I am simultaneously horrified by the very existence of such a group in this country, let alone how many people subject themselves to the ridiculous rigmarole and hierarchy.

I understand that Wikipedia information is to be taken with a grain of salt, as just about anyone can register on the site and begin ‘educating’ others. However, it is the clearest, most comprehensive list of past and present members of note that I have come across. It is worth noting, there is over 100 citations on the page, linking out to independent pages to research the claims. I believe this is so that anyone working for Scientology cannot claim otherwise, as they so often do. Additionally, it has been suggested that full staffs within the Scientology organization are tasked with surfing the internet for anti-Scientology materials and defeating them; be it through threat of legal consequence, blatant comment-bombing and general slandering, or

Here’s a few names that I’ve come across in my Scientology enraged information collection research that surprised me the most (and a little identifier for those of you who fill your brains with meaningful trivia):
– Erika Christensen; the beautiful actress, best known for roles in Traffic and on NBC’s Parenthood series. Christensen was homeschooled, and raised within Scientology.
– the Masterson brothers, Christopher and Danny; actors who have appeared on Malcolm in the Middle and That 70s Show. The boys, along with their half siblings Jordan and Alana, were all raised in ‘the faith.’
– Elisabeth Moss; breakout star of Mad Men is the daughter of (one of) the most powerful entertainment agents in Hollywood. She too was born into Scientology.
– Ethan Suplee; the former Boy Meets World bully was introduced to Scientology by his My Name Is Earl co-star Jason Lee (who is a hugely enthusiastic about the organization).
– Greta van Susteren; former practicing attorney, current news anchor and contributor for Fox News and CNN networks. Honestly, I can’t help thinking “She’s too smart for this.”
– Giovanni Ribisi; accomplished character actor and downright dreamy dude. He and his twin sister, model Marissa Ribisi, were born into the group. Marissa is married to musician Beck, a second-generation Scientologist himself; while Giovanni married British model Agyness Deyn, subsequently bringing her into the fold.

Please keep in mind, these are also people that will probably not befriend or work with Katie Holmes for the next billion years or so, as she remains persona non grata following last years very public (and very courageous) split from husband of 6 years, Tom Cruise.

UPDATE: See this Huffington Post article about Kirstie Alley’s twitter freak out! Alley, an actress known for her roles in the 80s and 90s, is reportedly ‘livid’ about Remini’s defection from Scientology. Great little whos-who of celeb Scientologists slide show attached!





On My Radar

29 05 2012

Here’s a recap of some things I have been following/thinking about lately:

1.  Amanda Bynes is a HOT MESS. 

Amanda Bynes, 2008 SAG Awards

In 6 weeks time the former Nickelodeon darling has gotten a DUI and been involved in (by my count) four fenderbenders — the first of which had her sideswiping an LAPD patrol car.

Bynes, 26, has worked consistently as a comedic actor since childhood. First featuring on Nickelodeon’s Saturday night program All That, an SNL-like variety show for the tween set, before starring alongside Jennie Garth in the fan-favorite What I Like About You in 2002. Bynes was last seen on the big screen in Easy A (2010) and Hairspray (2007).

Until recently, Bynes seemed to be humble and healthy. I’m thoroughly surprised at her antics; they certainly feel more fallen-Disney-star (*cough*LiLo!*cough*) than disgraced Nick star (*cough*JamieLynn!*cough*).  I hope she pulls herself together, because I know she can continue into adulthood and be just as funny and just as successful as before.

I think it’s time for someone to ‘Ask Ashley’ about a 5-step program.

——————————————————————————————————————

2.  John Edwards is (still) a douche.

The disgraced politico and one-time presidential hopeful has done little to change his image, or himself. In all fairness though, theres not much he could do.  You cheat on your cancer-stricken wife and have an illegitimate child with the bimbo, you get a special seat in Hell.

His trial has concluded, and (literally) the jury’s still out as to whether he violated federal law by using campaign funds to cover-up his affair with videographer Rielle Hunter.

I am STUNNED that his daughter Kate has been at his side throughout the trial, much like she was by her mother’s side as she was DYING. I am not part of their family, and want to refrain from being too judgemental, but WHAT’S UP WITH THAAAT?!!  She’s an adult. She should be able to look at the situation objectively and say “He’s still my dad… but he’s also a douche.”  He isn’t looking out for ANYONE but himself, so don’t get too wide-eyed at the possibility that if he is acquitted, he will live the rest of his life trying to atone for his flaws. He won’t.

——————————————————————————————————————

3. Movies whose announced release dates have been moved back — This is never good!

G.I… Just Kidding

It was announced just days ago that GI Joe: Retaliation will not hit theaters June 29 as planned. They apparently decided to delay the premiere in order to apply a 3D treatment, ya know, so they can squeeze more money out of us. 

I think two things occurred to Paramount execs a little too late; they realized that the first one wasn’t great and they were going to be EMBARASSED by the continued success of The Avengers.  Also, they would have had two Tatum flicks pitted against eachother: GI Joe Retaliation and the testosterone-rich ensemble film Magic Mike.

—————————————————————————————————————-

4.  Ted Kaczynski lists convictions/sentences as achievements on Harvard Class of 1962 alumni newsletter.

I read a couple articles about this:  I chuckled to myself then I wondered for a second why it was news, before remembering how stupid and touchy people are. I think the reunion committee took the harder of two options; someone (probably a liberal) would have objected to Kaczynski’s total omission from all things related to the Class of ’62 reunion, but I’m guessing now we know that MORE PEOPLE object to the mockery being made of their own successes by listing his legal tribulations amongst their MDs, PhDs and the like.  Either way, he’s still in prison and they’re all presumably quite rich… Let’s focus on that instead.

A mildly-related item: I immediately was reminded of a CLASSIC Will Ferrell skit on SNL in which The Unabomber attended his class reunion. I still pee my pants a little, even having seen it dozens of times. ENJOY!

 http://ahref=

——————————————————————————————————————

5.  Phil Phillips wins American Idol! 

Phillip Phillips, 21, of Georgia, wins Season 11 of FOX reality competition AMERICAN IDOL

Season 11 closed out with a high and a low; record-breaking numbers of votes and viewers. 132 million votes were logged between the finalists, but Nielsen Soundscan reports that this was the least watched conclusion of any AI competition season (nearly 8 million fewer than last year).

My brother and I liked Phil from the beginning. HOWEVER, I told my brother I would not cast a single vote for him until he performed a Dave Matthews song. (Which he finally did when he made the Top 6!)

I love that he never picked big numbers to get votes; he was always authentic and original. I have described his voice to non-Idol-watching friends as “if Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Tom Waits had a vocal lovechild.”   He’s hot. That’s all there is to it!

Runner-up Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old powerhouse from the San Diego area, was no slouch. I cannot and will not deny she is a great talent. BUT I also cannot and will not deny that she lacked personality. Singing a big song is only part of being in that business, and she just needs to live a little more life before she can top the charts.

I’m also glad Phillips won because I never felt that Sanchez should have been allowed to compete. Her Wikipedia page lists a number of accomplishments and professional opportunities earned before her Idol audition. The format of the show has evolved so much since season 1, but I know you cannot have had a record deal prior to auditioning. (Carly Smithson of season 7 was controversial for being in violation of that rule.)  Sanchez was featured on two major recordings, which from a technical standpoint I guess doesn’t violate the eligibility requirements, but it doesn’t seem fair. She’s got a lot of famous fans, and thanks to the show she’s had more exposure, so I don’t doubt that she will get a deal regardless of taking 2nd place. But who’s to say she wouldn’t have gotten the deal anyway? And if she hadn’t made the Top 24, would Phillips still have won?  I guess I’m glad they let her through, because ultimately she didn’t win.

But still, what kind of pop-culture consumer would I be if I didn’t obsess over people I don’t know and speculate on things that didn’t happen?





Life Beginning to Imitate Art for SATC Creator

7 12 2011

News broke this week that columnist/author Candace Bushnell, the woman responsible for the wildly popular Sex and the City franchise, has filed for divorce from her husband of nine years, professional ballet dancer Charles Askegard.

Initially proceedings began “amicably,” sources told the New York Post. Then, Bushnell found out about Askegard’s affair with fellow New York Ballet troupe member Georgina Pazcoguin.

Bushnell believed the relationship between her soon-to-be ex-husband and Pazcoguin, which motivated her to name the woman a co-respondent in the divorce papers.

 

Bushnell said in a statement, “I still care about Charles as a person. I respect his desire to pursue his own happiness and hope that we will continue to be friends in the future.”

Askegard and Pazcoguin each had no comment this week.





Hero of Last Week (According to Me!)

7 12 2011

“We’ve been in your living room. We were at your birth.
You filmed it for us and showed us the placenta,
and now you want some privacy?”
Daniel Craig, ripping into reality stars like the Kardashians, to British GQ