I laughed out loud when I watched the video you see up there. What I hadn’t realized, working in the media, is how lost the joke was on so many people. Even my oldest daughter, Abbi, who lives on social media, hadn’t made the connection between Ferrell’s reflexive satire and other social media.
The upset, followed by crying, followed by angry screaming and closing with his made-up word was almost a letter-perfect version of a young Brit’s railing against Kristin Stewart on YouTube. Working in the media and having CNN, HLN, Fox, MSN on the monitors all day I get to see the destructive and silly dumbing down of my own industry. It didn’t air on my own channel, I should say, but it did on others.
I bring this up because my daughter hadn’t seen the video of the British teenager who seems dead-set on quarterbacking for team Edward. Abbi found Ferrell’s video hilarious because, let’s face it, he could read the phone book and make it funny.
But recently an editorial came out that blasted the entire “media elite” and the networks for continuing the, in their words, “slutificaton” of Kristen Stewart. I was on board with what the author had to say . . . I am trying to raise two daughters and when you have little girls, your perspective on the world certainly does change. A lot. I am the first to admit that when a guy sleeps around his buddies high-five him. When a girl does it she’s derided. You can claim it’s come a long way all you want. I dare you to look at your best friend the same way, ladies, if you found out her “number” totaled 50 and not 15. (or 5 or whatever. Sue me, I haven’t been in the real world in 20 years. I don’t know what a good number is anymore) It’s not fair, it’s not appropriate, and . . . it’s a double standard.
Here’s the thing. Women get called sluts, or worse, and guys are “players”. That’s a fairly “playful” word for male slut. Sorry, the shoe fits. I’ll be the first to admit I was a horny, hormone-addled teenager once and my mind had sexual thoughts about every 5 seconds. So does every other 15-to-21-year-old boy. There’s a difference there, though, and that difference is on whether or not you choose to act on those impulses.
The acting on the impulses is where the author of the editorial lost me. “What 20-something girl hasn’t had an affair?” is her question. That’s her argument?! So . . . she had an affair. So . . . she slept around, who hasn’t? I know lots of men and women who haven’t. Sure, I know that sometimes when guys do it they’re celebrated. Girls do it and they’re chided. While her point is fair, I immediately walked away from agreement when she acted like cheating – by anyone – should be sloughed off.
I tell my girls – and will tell my boys – that sex is something special. Have I or people I’m friends with had sex for enjoyment and the love isn’t there, what have you? I’m pleading the 5th. But does my experience tell them that being intimate is far better than getting laid? Yes. Without a doubt. You can argue with me that I’m wrong and I’ll not waver in my commitment. Does it mean my kids won’t experiment and find out the exact same thing on their own . . . when they leave the house and I’m not around to chase the dates away with an unfinished guitar neck? No. I have every expectation that they’re subject to the same hormones and thoughts every young adult has. I don’t want them to, I truly don’t, but I can’t be a hypocrite and tell them I’m clear as the driven snow, either.
Where I wish the editorial had continued was in continuing the stream of thought that said it took two people to make that “scandal” happen. The director – Rupert Sanders – cheated on his wife with Stewart. The editorial tried to take the scandal in the direction of an employer asserting pressure on an underling to have sex while he’s in a position of authority. The author tries to shift the direction of the scandal now all on his shoulders and say “meh . . . she’s in her twenties, she’s warranted . . . ”
I had a discussion with my daughter. Not about the editorial but after watching Ferrell’s video. She didn’t immediately think about “trampire” as a title that should attach itself to Stewart. What she did think – without my prodding – is that she just doesn’t like Kristen Stewart. Go with me here . . . I was dragged by my then-tween-daughter and wife to see the original Twilight for Abbi’s birthday. What I thought was it was a weakly written, poorly acted, crappy re-write of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that my wife had been reading. (No emails. It’s true . . . less sex, but same stupid creatures. Sorry.)
My daughter, who does get social media updates and has seen the Kristen Stewart scandal unfold, didn’t see her as a slut. But she doesn’t see her as clean, either. To my daughter, in her thoughts, Stewart’s a stoner who never smiles, makes millions per movie and became famous yet bitches when she has to face the very public who made her who she is. Yes, she was a child actor, so my daughter thinks she needs to buck up and deal with the publicity. Sorry you don’t like the public, but you wanted to be an actor. On top of that, she doesn’t think Stewart’s that great an actress. Doesn’t really think Robert Pattinson is, either. So her fall and the poking fun, to her, aren’t so much about the “sluttiness” as it is just karmic reaction to a chronically unhappy person.
But does she think the director took advantage of Stewart? I doubt it. Stewart makes bucketloads of money for her movies. She is surrounded by people and has a lot of control of how she acts on set. Is the director her boss? Well, I guess you could make that argument, but is he taking advantage? I have no idea. Is he a creep? Absolutely. The thing that gets thrown under the train here is the fact that this guy was married. Yes, he broke a vow, and however weak that may be in this day and age, I take it seriously. It’s not a vow to be taken lightly. I did it and took it to the end – eighteen years precisely – until my wife passed. It wasn’t easy. We weren’t always most loving to each other, but we always loved each other. That’s what I want my kids to know. This guy threw away a marriage – and make no mistake, there’s no way she’s trusting him again, evidenced by the fact the sequel is without Kristin Stewart – for a fling with a twenty-something girl who’s not insanely attractive or filled with personality. (And the horrible, double-standard-filled guy in me asks: you’re on a set with Charlize Theron and you have an affair with Kristin Stewart?!!!) Sanders, you killed your marriage, no matter how long the marriage continues to last.
Love should be your goal. There’s a reason 90% of Beatles songs are about love. Does it always happen? Are you always passionate with the person in the bed with you? No. I suppose not. But at the end of the day, that should always be your goal. I married Andrea at 23. I never strayed. Never slept with another woman . . . was there temptation? Sure. Did I act on those? No. Not ever.
Guess what. I’ve wasted 1300 words on K-Stew and R-Pat. (My fingers hurt just from writing that) They’re wasted words . . . because really, and this is the biggest lesson: it’s not my business. I shouldn’t care. Because my kids are exposed to it I make examples and use the lesson – marriage is a major commitment. You can’t just ignore it when a younger body walks into the room. It’s work, pure and simple. From Stewart’s perspective: you screwed over your boyfriend. If you aren’t happy, break it off. You’re in a position where your naivety cannot be an excuse, the paparazzi chases you daily. If they get pics of you with a bong, don’t you think they’ll get you kissing the director? Have the guts to break up Pattinson and then have the guts to have the discussion with your director about his “marriage.”
By the way . . . editorial writers: calling Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Access Hollywood, Billy Bush . . . all those “hosts” . . . “media elite?” Not the same. The reason so many people are railing against Aaron Sorkin and his show Newsroom it seems is because he’s right, unfortunately, on one thing: the media’s deteriorated. Should we insert opinion like he does? No. Should we be looking to the 4th estate’s television founders for example? Yes. We fill the blank spots in the 24-hour-news cycle with just too much noise.
Now go read some Dickens or take out a copy of National Geographic or even get on the BBC’s twitter feed . . . so you can get some real information. Leave worrying about “trampires” to bottom feeders and the parents who have to clean up after them.