This post is a bit of a continuation of yesterday’s. B posted the following comment on A hornet’s nest:
Chump Lady is a commercial enterprise to enrich Chump Lady financially. There is no more you need to know about “her”.
B is correct. When I was at the site, I did notice that she sells a coffee mug and she has also written a book, has ads running all over the place, and she has a freakin’ donate button. I think the reason B puts quote symbols around “her” is because who knows who is really managing her blog at this point. She has a lot of followers and a lot of comments to peruse and she gives out a whole lot of advice while, by all appearances, also being an incredibly busy and successful woman. She is a journalist, a cartoonist, and a blogger (amongst other things) who has been featured in many high profile venues. In my mind she is also somewhat of a comedian. She is educated. She is a writer. What better way to make money than to go all “freak” on the predicament she found herself in, the wife of a “serial cheater (and probably a sociopath).” This is all great, for her. I mean not the wife of a cheater part, but everything she was able to build subsequent to that. She has built an empire on her whole concept that reconciliation is like a mythical creature, a unicorn. I don’t fault her success, not one little bit. Just like I don’t fault Anne and Brian Bercht for profiting from their experience with infidelity. I found attending one of their seminars to be hugely helpful to me at the time. That seminar, however, better fit my needs as it was done in a nurturing environment and I never once felt humiliated for staying with my husband and no one called me a chump. According to CL’s about page, she is now happily remarried to a man that was cheated on, “kismet.” All these experiences, by the way, have happened to her in a relatively short period of time. My kids were already 15 and 13 by the time she married the serial cheater, but I digress. The part that I need to remember for myself is that her blog is, at least at this point, a money making venture. So, what happens when things go from a deeply felt and honest place into a career? A lot of people’s feelings and needs are tossed aside in the process. We can be sucked in by a persona versus a real person. I don’t really need that in my life right now. We get a lot of acting on television and the movies, but we know it isn’t real. There is so much stimuli around us, especially including the news media and shock TV, and reality shows and shows passing themselves off as real, that aren’t. I do not choose this as a form of entertainment for myself and at this point, to me, her site is entertainment in the guise of an advice blog. It is very one-sided and negative. Comedians make fun of shit all the time, blow things out of proportion, create entertainment at the expense of human decency. it’s their job. I appreciate that people who decide to leave can find some sort of solace from the words on this website. For obvious reasons, I do not find solace there and wouldn’t even if I did decide to leave my husband, and it kind of reminds me of an experience we had nearly five years ago. It was an eye opening event for me.
I wrote an entry about my experience on my old blog and it goes like this:
On Wednesday we did something neither of us had ever done before… we went to the taping of a TV show. We have been offered tickets to shows before, especially at Universal Studios where they run around desperately trying to get audience members for the Jay Leno show, but there was always an age restriction of 16+ years old and the kids never qualified. While we were waiting for the driver at the hotel to take us to the CBS Studios, paparazzi were lurking outside the front of the hotel. Then film crews started pouring out of the hotel and loading up into vans. The Four Seasons town car arrived and we were not interested in sticking around to see what all the ruckus was about. We love the hotel town car service because as long as you are going within 2 or 3 miles of the hotel (and there are a lot of great things located within this distance including all of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Farmer’s Market, The Grove, Century City and at least a couple other large shopping malls and about a bazillion excellent restaurants), they will drop you and pick you up in their gorgeous black Mercedes and you don’t have to worry about driving or parking. Anyway, so we later found out that they were doing a press conference for The Expendables. So the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis were all just a few feet from us, but hey, we had places to be :).
We had tickets to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and we love Craig Ferguson.
I’m adding this current as I had previously completely forgotten about one of my favorite Craig Ferguson projects, the movie ‘Saving Grace,’ released in 2000. Storyline: “A widow discovers after her husband’s suicide that he has mortgaged everything they own and the banks are ready to foreclose. Faced with impending doom and little working knowledge except her ability to grow plants, she struggles to save her home. Enter her gardener (Craig Ferguson), who is struggling to make a few marijuana plants grow in a hidden location and suggests that she use her green house to help grow the plants and sell them to make the money both need. He is wanting to get married, but needs capital. What he doesn’t know is that his girl friend is pregnant and thus fears that they will be busted for growing marijuana. While supposedly working, the whole village is well aware of the endeavor and is hoping for their success. When the plants come in, Grace takes the crop to London and tries to sell it to a ruthless, but charming drug dealer. Everything busts loose from there.” (IMDB). Grace also finds out her old, dowdy husband was having an affair with a woman in London, but somehow the movie even makes that funny and the mistress helps Grace sell the drugs. It is not a roll on the floor laughing comedy. It is sweet and gently funny and endearing little movie with a hilarious scene of two older ladies trying to work their job at a local market, while totally high.
Now back to our previously scheduled programming:
Unfortunately, the process of actually getting into the show is tedious. They tell you to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the 3:00pm arrival time. We were actually there at about 1:45pm, but they over”sell”, well, over”give” because the tickets are actually free, but you have to go online in advance to reserve them. So, first they line you up outside the gates of the studios on the busy street of Fairfax (next to The Farmer’s Market/The Grove) and make you wait there for a while. We thought about going over to Farmer’s Market, however, we didn’t want to lose the opportunity to actually get to see Craig, so we stayed put in line. We were very close to the front of the line, VERY CLOSE. We waited out on the street for approximately an hour and 15 minutes. The line got very long. Then we were moved inside the studio gates, but not into the studio. They send you through a metal detector and then line you up in rows. They bring out a warm up comedian and give you a bunch of rules. The warm up comedian has a whole schtick himself and was quite funny. As part of his act, he gave Blue Eyes a mug and vowed his undying love for him, which of course had the audience howling. It was actually quite funny since the “sexy” girl next to Blue Eyes thought she was getting the mug… ha, that will show her. The sexy girl with skin tight jeans, knee high boots and low cut top does not always get the guy… sometimes Blue Eyes does? Hmmm, well, moving right along.
Finally, after about 2 hours, they escort you into the small and FREEZING COLD studio where the show is filmed. They have this whole selection process where they decide who is going to sit where. They look at you and then ask you to laugh spontaneously. On the late late show they really do not show the audience, but how you laugh and how much you laugh is very important. We ended up about three rows back in the center with about 12 microphones pointing right at us. This is really like a job… you are supposed to laugh at everything whether you think it is funny or not. They don’t have signs or anything, but the warm up comedian spends another 30 minutes or so in the studio prepping you to laugh at EVERYTHING. By the time Craig Ferguson actually comes out, you are exhausted. Also, since we were right in the middle of the audience we really could not see Craig at all because he was pretty much covered up by the large camera that is right in front of him. The one he knocks around and walks right up to, so we were watching him mostly on the TV monitors and, of course, laughing very hard at everything he said. Now, I love Craig Ferguson and think he
is was the funniest nighttime talk show host, but it is just generally a lot easier to watch him at home and laugh when I want to laugh. Plus he looks better on TV. He looks younger and more tan on TV. In the studio he looked a little tired and pasty? Now really, I am not complaining because it was an extremely interesting experience, especially watching the skill of the cameramen. Craig’s guests were Carrie Fisher (who is crazy weird) and Ron Livingston (kind of a boring guest, but Craig has such skill at stream of consciousness comedy, that he can make anyone look good). Craig did talk to the audience a little. Generally, the whole experience just made me think about how we, the audience, the fans, sometimes think that these people that we see on TV are real. They’re not. They are all playing characters, even comedians. This is their job, how they make their MONEY. My guess is that Craig Ferguson goes home and does not make one joke until he has to come back to work the next day. Being a comedian looks absolutely exhausting.
Bottom line, we get sucked in by things we think are real, that aren’t. In my book, there is no crime in people making money using their talents. The deal is, however, I now know Craig Ferguson is not a comedian. Craig Ferguson’s career, is comedian (and actor, etc…). Craig Ferguson, like the rest of us is a normal guy who wears make up for his job and pretends to be light hearted and hilariously and spontaneously funny, and he is not. He works damn hard at it. I often think the same thing about Bill O’Reilly. That man used to be a regular old small town news anchor and weather reporter. He has now made it big because he is a character, bigger than life, fearless. Sometimes he says the most inane things, I wonder if he just gets so caught up in his own hype he forgets what he is supposed to be saying. When you make the kind of money he makes, who cares what you really believe in, I guess? I am not sure if Chump Lady even believes her own words anymore (if in fact they are her words). I honestly find it unrealistic that such an educated and supposedly now happy woman harbors that much hate and resentment towards other people’s spouses. I think she doles it out because that is what her readers want. In the small blurbs I read on her site all those months ago, she does speak to self preservation and self esteem issues, but in not so pretty packaging. Because she is so one-sided, it all feels like some kind of joke to me and my situation is no joke.
I thought I was so over this conversation yesterday… I guess I had a few more thoughts. Now, I’m over it!