Category Archives: rosie o’donnell

let’s do it for your 50th, rosie!

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Dear Rosie,

TWEET.  TWEET.  Okay, so it’s obvious by reading Twitter that you realize people are upset with you. And I’m REALLY trying here to give you the benefit of the doubt.  You see, I read your books.  Find Me and Celebrity Detox are two of the most raw and insightful memoirs I’ve ever read.  I liked “Nice Rosie,” “Crafty Rosie,” “Passionately Political Rosie,” “Stand Up For What You Believe In Rosie”…even “Flinstones Rosie.”  I didn’t even hate “The View Rosie.”  I liked that you were seeming to come back to American television with more balance, temperance and graciousness, as demonstrated through the OWN network.  I don’t think you’re an innately hateful person, I think you shared a fear that you feel awkward about.  It probably wasn’t the best idea to share this on television, but you did, the cat’s out of the bag. So now, let’s deal with it.  And I hear the people screaming and calling you names, which will never justify our cause.  People are justifiably angry, but they ruin their entire argument when they result to name-calling and demonizing you.  And commenting on your appearance or your family is just uncool and off-limits.

  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. -Robert Frost
  • If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument. -Proverb

So that’s what we agree on.  But Rosie, oh Rosie, when you open a bag like the one you did, you can’t run from the ramifications.  You want “us LP’s” to just quiet down because “you’re done”?

But here’s where it all gets a little iffy.  Concerning.  Beyond frustrating.  Okay I’m going to use a feeling word here and I feel really angry.  You can’t just expect “us” to “sense your heart” in 140 characters or less. This is Twitter.  It’s not really meant for something, a discussion, this profound.  You didn’t start the conversation on Twitter, you started it with the most powerful culture-maker in America: television.  And the myth that I can just “spread your apology around” to an entire disability group, to an entire population in America, is absurd.   I can’t just get on my phone, which is not miniature, and call up “all my peeps” and say, “Hey Rosie said ‘she’s sorry’ on Twitter.”  I mean, I live in a big world, not to mention, most of my friends are average-sized and were equally offended.  But that’s not even the real issue.  The real issue is, had you heard something like what you said stated about any other minority group, you’d have handled this way differently.  But it’s okay, because Little People are the last minority group where it’s okay, perfectly acceptable actually, to be openly made fun of.

Here’s where we can get agree – your mentioning of “that little person who won the Emmy AND the Golden Globe” Peter Dinklage and the importance of learning about Martin Henderson.  That’s where the real stuff of this life comes to the forefront and all of the stupidity on Twitter can fall away.  Here’s a real human being who got thrown by a bunch of drunken idiots and will now spend the rest of his life suffering.  But here’s the kicker, until we address “dwarf-phobia,” face it head-on in all it’s ugly glory – warts and all – things like what happened to Martin Henderson will continue to happen.

Because I guarantee you, if you had said what you said about the LGBT community, the medically-obese, people with Down’s Syndrome, the hearing-impaired, black people, anyone else — American media would have had a field day.  You’d have the NAACP, the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, the Special Olympics and about every American media channel speaking up.  Because they know, that angry consumers means less advertisement dollars.  But since it’s “perfectly acceptable” to make fun of Little People and there’s seemingly no dollars attached, everybody’s quiet.

I don’t want you to feel ashamed that you have a phobia.  I want you to face it head-on.  On your show.  In a real way.  Because I’m only almost 30, but I’ve learned a little something with age.  You have to face what you fear.  You’re months shy of 50.  If you still find it okay within yourself to be afraid of Little People, you have got to question your stalwart devotion to inclusiveness for everybody.  Think of it as a “Happy 50th Birthday gift” to yourself.  To no longer be afraid of something.  To accept your fear, to package it up as something “awkward that you feel uncomfortable about” makes it pretty.  So let’s tear the paper off and get to the bottom of it.  You can do it!  I believe you can. I mean, girl, I was a part of the NO H8 campaign and I’ve got “nothing to do with it” or so they say on paper.  But I’ve got everything to do with it.  Because the marginalization of ANY people group directly affects me.  Because I’ve got to clean up my side of the street first.  I’ve got to see where I’m a part of the problem and not part of the solution and do something about it.  And for me, that meant standing up for another minority group and making sure I begin to truly wrap my head around injustice as a social institution.

  • I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. -Malcolm X
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated. -MLK Jr.
  • In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today. -Paulo Coelho

So Rosie, what do you think?  It’s something pretty cool that you can do to celebrate your 50th birthday!  I’ll make you a really good Funfetti birthday cake – and I can’t even eat flour!

Love,

Jen

an open letter to rosie and chelsea

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Dearest darlingest Rosie and Chelsea,

First of all, I genuinely enjoy both of your work.  From what I know, you are raw, real and funny as hell! I think we would have great talks over dinner. I think you’re both worldly and whip-smart. I can imagine learning a ton from the both of you.  But I don’t genuinely know you or the feelings you have behind your probably-not-the-smartest comments you made on Rosie’s show.  I’m hoping the close-mindedness of your comments will actually spur change in a positive way.

I’m not so hurt by what you said, partly because I’m used to it.  I’ve experienced it first hand.  It’s more painful coming from people I actually know and opportunities actually lost because of ignorance.  A lot of people think the same thing, only most people don’t voice it or don’t have a public platform from which to speak.  I really want to change your mind, but I don’t think this can be done through screaming.  I think the only way to change your mind is for you to get to know me, or someone in my community, someone who is educated, passionate and fully alive.

I’ve lived in Hollywood for 3 years now.  I’ve seen a lot.  I am a teacher and an actress.  A lot of people out there have the exact same prejudices.  Nothing really surprises me in humanity in general.  Let’s hope that by you voicing your thoughts so publicly, that we can use your platform to make a difference, to really have a discussion that brings light and changes minds.  Vilifying either of you won’t really do that.

Chelsea– us LP’s, well I can only speak for myself, we don’t need to be rescued by you.  I get how you feel about Chuy.  He seems to have had a pretty painful life.  But you’re kind of perpetuating the problem.   We just want to be equal in society, we don’t want to be fetishes. Not all of us work in the porn industry and need to be rescued.  A lot of us are pretty darn normal.

  • “I want to tackle them.”
  • “Who else is going to give that guy of job?  Someone has to rescue him.  There’s not a lot of opportunities for that kind of people, they need our help.”

And Rosie–thanks for your honesty but get to know me so you won’t be afraid. We’re pretty freakin’ normal, well most of us, and yeah- don’t be scared.  Here’s where people get angry.  You’re a staunch advocate for equal rights in the LGBT community.  If you’re going to stand for the marginalized, you need to stand for all the marginalized.  If I campaign for No H8, I’d really like you to do the same.  As they say, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

  • “No that would be child abuse, I would never do that.”
  • “I have so many feelings, I can’t just act normal.”

Little People are as varied as black people, fat people, gay people, etc. Please, educate yourselves so you aren’t ignorant.  A lot of my LP acquaintances and friends want to vilify you both.  I just think you need some education, you need some healing.  We’re all a little bit broken.  So let’s do dinner and meet somewhere in the middle.

C’mon ladies, let’s just talk.

XOXO,
Jen

P.S. I’ve read all of your books, ladies!
P.P.S. Ro, I like your show’s new 1-on-1 format MUCH better!
P.P.P.S. After Lately is amazeballs!

invisible international justice league of women kicking ass

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Just because I’m a grown girl and I get to, I rewatched Rosie on Oprah and these two quotes continue to stand out to me, both of which are Rosie, speaking to Oprah.  The first one she is remembering her hysterical 3am call to Oprah after the Columbine shooting in which Rosie felt that her celebrity was so compellingly burdensome that she might be able to cure social ills– to the point of compulsion or an overarching guilt that she was responsible for ‘the world.’

“I think it’s because at the time it was 3 years after my show was on and I had this illusion about fame that it would come with a magic wand and I would be able to cure all social ills.  So when the first national tragedy happened when I considered to be ‘on my watch’ which was an illusion as well, I thought, well, I have to get the other superhero women to form a justice league…”

She now reflects with Oprah that this hysterical phone call was more about her reality check that celebrity cannot cure things like cancer and her coming to terms with this.  Oprah had a profound impact on Rosie’s life beyond what Oprah actually did or said in their relationship because of the power or the pedestal as she describes below:

“Okay because here’s the thing, you play a central role in the movie of my life, only you don’t know you’ve been cast in that.”

I often times think of my own childhood, growing up and watching Rosie on “The Flinstones Movie” and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and how she has played a central maternal role in my life and yet, she doesn’t really know it either.  Part of my desire to be a working, successful actress is to be able to be a part of the invisible international justice league of women kicking ass, and I have to realize that no amount of fame or money or power will allow me to cure the world of all social ills.

On the most dangerous drug, fame, and getting detoxed from it:

I felt the need to give back compulsively…[doing many charity events to take care of children] and my son would say, “why don’t you stay home and just take care of us?”

Thoughts?

the sacred and the sexual

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i actually wrote this last night on the train home from portland after a book i was reading.  when i got home i heard about the miley cyrus vanity fair “scandal” and decided to post this as it is very fitting.  and to comment on the miley situtation, i echo what donny deutsch said on the today show.  the view gals added more interesting talk on the issue, as did rosie.  i think the vanity fair shoot was a calculated career move – they’re media-savvy.  the “apology” was necessary to keep the air clean with disney, nervous parents of teen fans and the shoot was “necessary” to begin propelling her into a credible career once she hits 18 and the hannah montana gig is over.  miley professes that she is a person of faith, many morning commentators reminded us, which make her actions more “dishonorable”.  i don’t think that is necessarily fair either.

whether or not we believe the photos were appropriate, whether or not we chide the cyrus family’s “values” – we do realize this business, show business requires sexuality, at least some element of it.  so really, why are we making miley an example?  are we that surprised? 

so what’s a performer to do?  what do we do to find wholeness in sexuality and spirituality as it pertains to our profession  and our personal lives?  we are often hired, paid and required to be found “sexy” or at least romance-inducing, attractive or desirable?  how do we reattach the sacred in public life?  part of my job as a striving, sometimes-working actress is to be appealing.  and to be genuine in it, through it and despite it.  maybe my industry friends will chime in and say this better than i, but how do i balance the dueling tensions of the sacred and the sexual, the private and the public and the deeply personal? 

what happens to our souls when we must channel a private experience (sexuality) in the public sphere.  are we damaged by pouring ourselves out into the public realm?  does public sensuality, as in what is required to sustain a successful acting career rob me in any way?  how do we seek reconciliation?

all these ruminations have been brought about by well-meaning church ladies asking how i can “say curses” or “seduce” in an audition.  while i am a more “liberal church lady” who adores her gays and needs a savior, i rarely have an answer that they find suitable, except for:

 a word is just a word and this is acting. 

but still, that answer seems to not calm their reservations.  i get that hollywood and church seem to be fighting, but i truly love them both and want them to be honest, genuine friends.  reserve judgment. :)

am i making any sense?  i’m not sure.  what do you think?

sound byte

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Rosie O’Donnell Book Signing

Sound bytes.  I’m starting to believe that Americans get 99% of their information from 30 second sound bytes.  Not only is the entertainment industry fueled by them, politics and world events are as well. 

Because 99% of what the media spews seems to be false 99% of the time (maybe that’s overexaggerated), I thought the video above and this video might shed a more human light on a very polarizing pop-culture figure.

Now realize that I am on the Z list, actually, I am not even on the alphabet.  Yet ask me the number of rumors started about me from my 5 seconds here-and-there on my friend’s reality show.  Most all of them so false, leaping assumptions of badly drawn connect-the-dots.

I am a nobody.  I don’t mean that in a poor me way, just that I am so starting out in this business.  I have so much to learn and achieve. 

I just want to remind us all, let’s not dig for gold in a soundbyte.  Nothing really there usually. :)  I enjoy Rosie though, I think she’s generally a good person, disagree with her sometimes though, find her tone angry and wounded at times, but I don’t think she’s the anti-Christ FOX news wants me to believe she is.

magic made alive

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Can’t really explain it, I haven’t got the words
It’s a feeling that you can’t control
I suppose it’s like forgetting, losing who you are
And at the same time something makes you whole

Rosie

My sentiments exactly about acting, magic made alive.  Sitting in the velvet seats at my first Broadway show or walking on set for my first movie.