Thursday, November 10, 2005

Stella Never Really Had a Groove To Get

So, Terry McMillan and her ex-husband, Jonathan Plummer, went on the Oprah show yesterday to discuss the demise of their marriage. I couldn't watch the whole thing, because it was pathetic and sad. I've always had a bit of a problem with Terry McMillan anyway. I don't think she's that great a writer, but you can't tell her that, which is okay. Affirm yourself, because few people will affirm you, but I digress. I really have a problem with the public's hunger for intimate details about celebrity life, and celebrities who go right along with it.

I once heard someone say that Americans have abandoned shame, the thing that makes us apply discretion. I'm not suggesting that we shut down completely, and never reveal things that need revealing, such as abuse, but there's a big difference between telling the truth about something harmful and airing your dirty laundry. I think it's not so much that we've stopped feeling ashamed of things, but that many of us simply prefer to make others feel shame, even when our own behavior deserves reproach. Why else would talk shows like Maury, and the revolting Jerry Springer show, enjoy such longevity? Or court shows, where things unrelated to the case are always thrown in. Does your ex-boyfriend's current girlfriend's crack habit and other baby's daddy have anything to do with why you're suing his mother for an unpaid cell phone bill? Someone else's dysfunction is great entertainment.

I try my best to avoid being judgemental. After all, there are always three sides to every story, Party A's, Party B's, and the truth. But the truth isn't always so interesting, nor does it always see light. McMillan admits that she slept with and began a relationship with Plummer within days of meeting while she was on vacation. She's lonely, she's horny (never a good combo, and don't let alcohol get mixed in), and here is a physically attractive, interested, available young man. She describes him in fantastic terms. He's no angel, though. He made a decision to sleep with her, and leave home to be with her. He admits that he came here with few marketable skills, and that she took care of his financial needs. He didn't have to accept anything from her. He also didn't have to tell her anything, especially something that was probably terrifying, given the culture he came from. She, on the other hand, has played, and continues to play the victim, and millions of t.v. viewers and Web crawlers indulge her.

It's a sad story. Sex doesn't make for a strong relationship. Control, financial or otherwise, doesn't make for a strong relationship. There are too many women who believe that a piece of a man is better than no man at all. Did she really think that a 23-year-old was long-term relationship material? Did he really think that she would simply take him in, and not try to control him?

I believe Jonathan Plummer has learned far more than Terry McMillan has. She, and Oprah, whose ratings-grabbing shows covering the darker side of homosexuality sink lower and lower in quality, had an opportunity to help people in weak or faltering relationships, but instead turned the so-called down-low phenomenon into a "Reefer Madness" of our time. It's entertaining, but completely without merit. There simply was no groove to get.


Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

Shame or no shame...Springer or not...

And mind you my comments are without having seen the Oprah episode devoted to the examination of Ms. McMillan's marital woes...

If anything that I have read about HIM (not his homosexuality itself) is true (i.e. that he married her to obtain a Green Card, to come to the US, and enjoy her wealth, NOT out of LOVE but exploiting Ms. McMillan's good will and love for Mr. Plummer), he is at the very LEAST a FRAUD, a POSSEUR, and a criminal (as it IS a crime to marry to have your spouse sponsor your GC application).

I dare say that Mr. Plummer took the most convoluted route I've seen, to date, to "Come Out." Without judgement, I am sure that Jamaica, generally speaking, still views homosexuality as a "deviance" rather than a "variant," and as such, "Coming Out" in Jamaica was just not possible for Mr. Plummer.

His statement I read elsewhere that (at the age of 20) he did not know what his orientation truly was, I find suspect. There is a difference between knowing, and witholding that knowledge because of a perceived negative backlash.

I sympathize; however, like your post says far more eloquently, why SHOULD WE CARE AT ALL, LET ALONE KNOW THAT THIS COUPLE IS GOING THRU THIS? It's truly none of my business.

But without drama, Ms. McMillan's name probably would not be in the papers as much, and hey, there's no such thing as "bad publicity." Ergo, all publicity is good, because it gets people thinking of that person.

PS: Re: Springer and similar ilk... thanks to shows like that, which cater to the lowest-common denominator just for ratings, most folks who live in foreign countries, who thanks to satellite television now get all sorts of American programming zapped into their homes, I can tell you with some level of certainty that what is shown on Springer (and similar shows, or even movies etc), is what the average foreigner (who has no personal friendships or interactions with "Joe Average American") bases their opinions of US as a society.

5:16 PM  
Blogger dmfinny said...

It's the sensationalism, even in 2005, surrounding homosexuality that makes the public salivate. He was, to an extent, a golddigger. She was a user. They're both wrong in their own ways; he didn't fulfill the Jamaican stereotype of coming to America and working (like the characters on "In Living Color") four, five jobs. She played the victim, and although the says she has nothing against gay men, her first reaction, as made known on SmokingGun, was to use every epithet associated with homosexuality. Again, his sexuality, hell, HER sexuality, was irrelevant. The problem is that Oprah had a chance to cover a much more meaningful topic, and instead got some p.r. for herself and T-Mc's new project, and I don't like it. Then again, I don't have to watch her show, or see the movie once it hits. And, as a bonus, I could give a rat's ass about the demise of their marriage. Perhaps if the spouses in the marriages that end in divorce (estimated at 50%, but many of those probably should have died a natural death anyway) spent less time wondering who Brad and "Bennifer" were shtupping, perhaps they'd still be married.

Thanks for watching.

11:29 AM  
Blogger dmfinny said...

BTW, my mother came to America from Jamaica (yes, most of the time, I do have a couple of jobs), in 1950 after viewing American newsreels (for those of you too young to remember, newsreels were digests of news shown along with a movie feature) and believing American streets were paved with gold.

She too, had two jobs for many years.

11:32 AM  

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