Seth MacFarlane’s Outrageous Oscar Mistake (At Least, I Hope It Was A Mistake)

"The Family Guy" in a typical moment of sensitivity.

“The Family Guy” in a typical moment of sensitivity.

The viewing public was severely divided regarding “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s performance as Oscar host, with approximately half appreciating his trademark juvenile and politically incorrect schtick (and being impressed that the guy can sing and dance rather well too), and the rest, including the majority of TV critics, finding him boorish, amateurish and unfunny. Personally, I thought he did a reasonably competent job in an impossible assignment (unless, it seems, you are Johnny Carson or Bob Hope, who are long gone, or Billy Crystal, who is seriously past his pull date), made more so by the misconceived show he had to host.

Then I read Katie McDonough’s essay in Salon. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Month: Jodie Foster

Jodie foster

Why is Jodie Foster’s stream of consciousness speech as she accepted the Golden Globe’s lifetime achievement honor, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, worthy of praise for its ethical values?

  • It was genuine, open and honest. Celebrities are paid to live their lives in public, and all of them struggle to find the proper, fair, and sane balance between what they are obligated to show the world, and what they keep secure in their private lives. Nobody has struggled with this balance more than Foster, or suffered moire because of it. A performer since she was a toddler, she never really had a choice to live a normal life. Her speech was a gift to the public revealing inner thoughts and emotions about someone it cares about but has never known as well as it would like to. Continue reading

Jodie Foster on the Cruelty of Child Stardom

Actress Jodie Foster was moved to write a passionate essay for The Daily Beast by the firestorm of gossip, rumor and harsh criticism surrounding the romantic triangle involving “Twilight” star Kristin Stewart, her live-in boyfriend and “Twilight” heart-throb Robert Pattinson, and a 40-year-old film director caught on video smooching with Stewart.  Foster is, as we all know, a former child star, like Stewart, who co-starred with Jodie in “Panic Room” when the 20-something “Twilight” idol was just 11. In her piece, Foster eloquently (even though she went to Yale) condemns the fishbowl life that celebrities have to endure today in the social media, and expresses the belief that parents do their children no favors when they push them to early Hollywood stardom.

“I’ve said it before and I will say it again,” she writes, “if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety.”

I have been privileged to know former child actor Paul Petersen, a truly great man who has tirelessly and passionately worked to alert the public to the inherent abuse of child stardom in Hollywood, and to make the industry more sensitive and humane to its youngest participants. It was Paul who alerted me to Foster’s commentary.

You can read it here.


Isolating Corey Haim: Child Star Deceit and Disinformation in the Media

It is clear that the news media, and especially the entertainment and pop culture media, don’t want to lose their cuddly child performers. Thus when a former kid star like Corey Haim perishes at a young age, the victim of a dysfunctional childhood turned fatal by addictions to fame and drugs, the sad story is usually told as a cautionary tale about how one young actor’s early promise and talent turned to dust and destruction because of his own weaknesses and missteps. A responsible media would use such events to examine the larger, serious, and mostly ignored problem of child abuse and exploitation in the entertainment business, and its terrible toll of casualties.The media is not responsible on this topic, however, and in the case of Haim, seemed to go out of its way to falsely represent his fate as the exception, rather than the rule. Continue reading