Wednesday, March 23, 2005

my new arch-enemy

I really hate Patricia Heaton. It began as indifference. I thought she was funny enough on Everybody Loves Raymond but I began to get annoyed when she was winning the Emmy for comedic actress over my preferred choices. Still, no big whoop.

My annoyance turned to outright public dislike (of the comic I-don't-know-her-as-a-person variety) when she publicly dissed none other than Michelle Pfeiffer a couple of years ago. The brouhaha was mini in scope but did get Heaton some media play (Pfeiffer was mum because she's a classy woman) and involved Pfeiffer's implication that she had not had any plastic surgery... whereas Patricia Heaton had admitted to it and presumably wanted others to do the same. I didn't know at the time that this was because Ms. Heaton was a pious morally superior and judgmental person. But it pissed me off: If you do not want to feel the tiny web wrath of Nathaniel, you do not under any circumstances diss La Pfeiffer.

And if I'm being honest... I would say it also pissed me off a little because moral superiority is possible a character trait I've tried to stamp out in myself as well. It's unattractive even if it's easy to fall prey to. So before I go off on Ms. Heaton some more, it takes one to know one.

Now, I see Heaton sucking up airtime on Entertainment Tonight as the spokesperson for this group Feminists for Life... which seems to be a code word for women who think they're feminists but fight for conservative patriarchal causes like the pro-life movement which is all about controlling women of course --very feminist of them! And their latest cause du jour is the Shiavo case.

Now, I understand that this case has people from all walks of life and political viewpoints all atwitter and its extremely divisive. There are all sorts of moral / ethical / political / personal issues involved in opinions on this one. So to each their own. But what rubbed me the wrong way was the imbalance. Listening to Heaton, a famous and wealthy star using a popular news program to denounce the character of someone she has never met, Mr. Schiavo, made me sick to my stomach last night --and she's doing it again tomorrow night. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Mr. Schiavo is already being sufficiently vilified these days --whatever your thoughts on the case consider that the only thing the media ever seems to be covering is how evil he is, make sure to use discernment to realize that you are not hearing anything balanced about this case. at all. Certainly no coverage of the political ramifications of the Federal government sticking its nose in where it doesn't belong.

I use to dislike Patricia Heaton. Now I really despise her. Who died and made her God? I've never been the type to be this angry with celebrities who express political opinions because they're citizens just like you and I. Mel Gibson. Eminem. Streisand. Penn. Heston. Whatever. That's their perogative. But to use your platform to publicly demean the character of some civilian whom you disagree with? Who doesn't have an equal platform to defend himself (he's not famous. not glamourous. not wealthy. not a politician. etc...) Despicable. She oughta be ashamed of herself.

Tonight on the news channels she will be demonstrating her superiority again by claiming that she would never let her child starve. My guess is that Mr. Schiavo wouldn't let his child starve either. Most people wouldn't. But what if you WERE the brain-dead woman? What if you had expressed to the person closest to you (spouse) that you would never want to live like that? There's more than one way to look at this. Which is why people should just mind their own business rather than judging the marriage of people they've never met or even heard of till last week.

I don't feel comfortable judging the woman's family (who want her kept alive) or the husband (who says she didn't want to be kept alive) but I feel totally comfortable in judging political and public figures who feel comfortable judging the family or the husband.

My advice? Get yourself a living will so that if a tragedy ever happens to you (God forbid) you won't be used as a political football for people who never knew you existed up until you became a way for them to score political points or get their faces on television when their hit series is finally going off the air.

15 comments:

David said...

You sing it sister. Couldn't agree more with everything you said.

adam k. said...

I used to sort of hate Patricia Heaton about the "Feminists for Life" thing a while back (and because I didn't think she deserved those two Emmys) but then I stopped hating her after getting less staunch on abortion issues. What a damn difficult topic. I can now sort of sympathize with those who are genuinely pro-life (against abortions, death penalty, unnecessary war, etc.), and can almost see their reasoning, so if someone wanted to be a pro-life activist I didn't really hold it against them. I don't think women who call themselves pro-life are anti-feminist or evil or anything... just sort of misguided. But then I always think about if abortion were really made a crime, how insane things would be. What are these women really fighting for? To be forced to be put in jail if they ever had to abort a fetus? It really does sort of come down to being judgmental and short-sighted. If anyone wants to fight for mandatory counseling for women who've had abortions, I'd be all for that, but a crime? That just woudn't make for a good world. Anyway. Whatever. If I were following this story more closely, and had seen Heaton talk, I'd probably be back to hating her. But as it is, I think I'll spare myself the discomfort and avoid going near Heaton and her judgmentalism.

Anonymous said...

As much as a love you website and commentary on film, I absolutely despise it when you use your site to state your political jabs. Granted, this is on your blog, so it's obviously different, but...

Patricia Heaton has just as much right to state her opinion as left-wingers Streisand and Sheen. Sure, it disagrees with your thoughts, but calling her "evil" seems to be making you the moral police which is something for which you were just denouncing Heaton.

Obviously, I'm right-wing. Obviously, I appreciate a Hollywood star that comes out and says they're right-wing, too.

As for this whole Schiavo issue, nothing is cut and dry, and I waver back and forth on this whole issue. The one thing I do disagree with is the politicians getting involved in this whole thing (including the man I voted for as President). Granted, I think the husband is a little bit of a scumbag not allowing his wife to be tested for certain treatments and not revealing that his wife told him he wanted to die until seven years after her accident. Granted, I think that if I were in the place of Terry Schiavo, I wouldn't want to live either. The whole situation is tough.

But, Heaton has a right to state her opinion. You can hate her all you want (I'll hate Streisand as a counter-attack).

par3182 said...

i love it when you use your site for political commentary... or whatever the hell you want to use it for. especially when it's a well written piece that some people (cough*anonymous"cough) miss the point about demeaning people they don't know. Keep it up.

Nick Davis said...

I actually remember Pfeiffer or else her agent responding with a terse (i.e., classy), "Okay, but I haven't had plastic surgery." What I really remember really clearly after that is Heaton, like, the next day in the press being like, "Oh, I don't know what got into me, it's true that I didn't know what I was talking about. Whatever."

Michelle Pfeiffer's (lack of) plastic surgery obviously matters much less than Terry Schiavo's case, though that too matters less than the idea of people respecting the privacy of other families and at least some modicum of a boundary between public and private life, no? But it's true that, based on her weirdly gratuitous camera-grabbing and truth-inventing in the past, I don't really trust Heaton or care what she thinks. (That's about her, not about people who may feel as she does re: Schiavo.)

But I don't hate her. I hate Tom DeLay.

NATHANIEL R said...

Anonymous --Again, I see that judgmental thing in myself sometimes --which I admit. So no points there for calling me on it ;)

But I think it's particularly unbecoming for public figures to attack private ones. It's just too imbalanced. It's like throwing the poorly armed prisoners into the rings with the Gladiators and lions and tigers so people could see them hacked up/devoured for entertainment. Everyone is free to state their opinions publicly including celebrities. It's when those opinions are directed at demeaning NON public actual citizens is when I get freaked out.

Attack issues and public figures all you like if you're a public or private citizen. Attack private citizens and their familial situations? Not acceptable.

And I never stated my political views on this Schiavo case. I don't really have a view (again...not comfortable judging her family or her husband) other than that people should follow the laws and stay the hell out of other people's emotional business. Including the president. So on this we actually agree whether we be leftleaning (me) or rightleaning (you)

Nick -ha ha (lack of) Pfeiffer. funny.

Anonymous said...

I see your point, and I agree with you.

But, i love Patricia Heaton on Everybody Loves Raymond so... i dunno. I think she's hilarious on that show and deserved those Emmy's.

But I do agree with you on the whole matter about celebrities/whoever attacking people who don't have a viable form of come back. But this can be applied to a lot of people and situations so I can't be buggared talking about it.

And on the matter of the Shiavo girls' parents, they're ASKING people to get involved in their private life, Mr. Shiavo did not, so everybody should feel free to talk about the parents as much as they like. Or, that's my feeling anyway.

-Glenn

another david said...

I didn't think it was possible for anyone connected with Everyone Loathes Raymond to get any more repulsive... but here comes media-whore Heaton.

She had no credibility to lose so her opinions mean nothing.

Like you, I have no firm opinion on the Schiavo case. Unlike so many mouthpieces on television I realize that I don't have enough information to make a judgement. Presumably legal minds do. Leave it to the courts.

And for gods sake everyone... write a living will!!!!

If any good comes of all this madness it will be that people learn to deal with this issue dispassionately and make the necessary plans ahead of time.

Anonymous said...

Great Post! You send the essay to a paper

Anonymous said...

Great Post Nathaniel ! You should send that essay to a paper

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this will be enough to prevent Emmy voters from giving Patricia Heaton a "farewell" third Emmy award in September.

Good news for Teri Hatcher? :D

Anyway, I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I've kept my mouth shut throughout the ongoing controversy (it's none of my business, nor is it Heaton's) but this was just too much. Like she really gives a damn about what happens to Schiavo. Granted, I'm sure she cares to some extent, but I highly doubt Schivao consumes her every thought, from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to get her tummy tucked one last time.

Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Let's be quite frank about Heaton - she has a lighbulb-sized nose with 2 nostrils the size of a double-car garage!!!
Ever see her without her 1-inch thick make-up on? Her face looks like a weather-beaten catcher's mitt!!! Of course there's those rumors around Hollywood that she also has very bad halitosis!!
She may have seemed like a sweet person during her first seaon on ELR, but have you ever listened to her interviews during the past 5-6 years - very arrogant undertones!!
Any Heaton-lovers out there can't deny that!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not defending Heaton or her pro-life views, but I think it's inaccurate to call her "right-wing." She herself has said in an interview that she hates calling herself a Republican, because on some issues she's very Democratic--she's against the death penalty, for example. But she votes Republican because for her abortion outweighs every other issue.

I'm not pro-life, but there definitely are pro-life people who do not fit the ultra right-wing, Bible-thumping stereotype. On gay rights, immigration, the welfare state, war, they occupy what most people would consider left-wing or progressive positions. Judging from the statements Heaton has made on abortion, she strikes me as being more this progressive type of pro-lifer than the ultra-conservative type. But the media, as always, likes to simplify complex issues and label people as politically left-wing or right wing based on their position on but one contentious issue.

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Anonymous said...

So every Hollywood lefty can voice any opinion no matter how looney without raising your ire? But when Patricia Heaton states she is Pro-Life and a Feminist you get pissed. Some how being in favour of not murdering a baby in the womb and supporting that makes you a Patriach rather than a living a human and a mother. I am a woman a vegan, Buddhist, anti- Bush, anti Iraq war. As I respect all life I am also Pro-Life.