Saturday, April 19, 2008

Amiss America

Recently, while watching the True Hollywood Story of Jessica Simpson, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. A young Miss Simpson and her father, a minister, conveyed that their deeply religious background would help Jessica become a role model for young girls. Unfortunately, when she was 14, that passion was rudely interrupted when Sony announced there would be no recording contract for her trademark Christian songs because (sadly) her boobs were too big.

I’m assuming they meant distracting.
Apparently that’s why the church choir wears robes.

That’s when the crying started. I couldn’t fathom an energetic, talented individual’s potential aborted because of factors other than their exceptional ability to complete the job.

Or could I?

There was that time several years ago when I worked for an international toy manufacturer that fired it most productive senior administrative assistant to the President. This company terminated a woman who, on my first day of work, called me from her hospital bed where she was recovering from a fracture of the leg so severe it required surgery and traction. I might mention the break occurred when she was bringing work home from the office – as was her usual routine. This widow had spent two decades with the company (as evidence) of her work ethic. Her only son was killed in Vietnam. After her dismissal, I walked around for days wondering what happened. Then I saw her replacement – a giggling, inept, yet snappy dresser in her 20s named (and I’m not making this up) – Neela.

Of course the shock of Miss. Simpson’s thwarted attempt to fulfill her dreams, had not yet set in when I became aware of another young woman in trouble. Thank goodness the media was able to take up the courageous battle of our very own Miss New Jersey, Amy Palumbo, in her tearful quest to fight the “blackmailing” publication of photos. It was (apparently) irrelevant that the pictures were originally put on the world wide web by her very own little manicured fingers.

Fortunately, Miss Palumbo was vindicated by the powers that be and was not terminated from the Miss America pageant. I mean, who then would fight for world peace?

Last week I decided to see how much Jessica Simpson strayed off her original Christian itinerary and tuned in to watch one of her performances. What I saw was a scantily-clad Jessica lip sinking a song while bumping and grinding on stage. This presentation occurred when she was the musical guest on the aptly named “Mad TV”.

These are our role models. Is it any wonder young girls have self-esteem issues?

The media helps these woman gain center stage where our (common) senses are assaulted ad nauseam The actions of this (select) group of women not only chips away at centuries of accomplishments, they also institutionalize sexist behavior. The result is a demoralized female infrastructure struggling to maintain its footing. And the ripple effects are felt in our schools, our families, our communities, our work places, our military, and our paychecks.

One of my idols passed away this year. And I really miss her. I long for her Texas twang, her spunk, her perspective, and her encouraging, outspoken passion for humanity, and especially for women’s rights. She was my mentor.
Molly Ivins.

She inspires from beyond the grave:

Say, here’s an item: A group of right-wing journalists famed for their impartiality has set themselves up as the Patriotism Police. No less distinguished a crowd than Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, The New York Post editorial page and the Fox News Channel – quite a bunch of Pulitzer winners there – are now passing judgment on whether media outlets that do actual reporting are sufficiently one-sided for their taste.

I’ve been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.

It’s hard to argue against cynics – they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.

And my personal favorite:

I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

Whenever I got lost, Molly helped me find my way.
Hopefully someone will be able to fill her shoes. And quickly!

But I won’t hold my breath. And I’ll brace myself for the next titillating “news” items to appear which I imagine will go something like this:

AM Edition:
Newlywed upset over misplaced breast augmentation samples on way home from plastic surgeon. She suspects they were taken from her car while stopping for a double mocha latte. Full manhunt expected.

Molly Ivins, may you rest in peace with the angels. Someday journalistic integrity will save women’s dignity. When that happens, you’ll see me wildly chanting: “I’m lovin’ it!”

Copyright 08/07

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