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October 30, 2009

Comments

Not sure what I'm going to think or do when Ugh Jr. is old enough such that people might be tempted to criticize my parenting style (right now all I get is smiles and "what a cute baby").

Likely not going to react well I would imagine.

Yeah, Samuels doesn't make any sense here at all.

On a related note, anybody planning to see Chris Rock's new doc on the subject?

Thankfully this was a "Newsweek Web Exclusive" and not a single tree needed to be cut down for this garbage.

Word.

Word, word, word.

Von, I do sometimes actually agree with your posts, but I think this is the first one you've ever written where I've actually wanted to give you a big hug for writing it.

Um, did I say that out loud? It must be Friday. Let me buy you a drink.

If this silly fuss were about a non-performer's child, I would agree that it's nobody else's business...but most of the money entertainment celebrities make is based on a cult of personality. Ms. Jolie is a good actress in her range, but people are not filling the seats just to see her interpret the roles. Her celebrity status is a draw all by itself. She maintains it, in great part, by deliberately making her private life public. It's a tacit bargain, the boundaries of which are defined by paparazzi brawls and defamation lawsuits.

In short, Jolie's daughter's hairstyle is fair game because Jolie is paid very well for putting up with this sort of gossipy tripe.

Angelina Jolie's kid's hair? No, worse than that: some magazine staffer's opinion about Angelina Jolie's kid's hair. At least now I feel good about the hour I spent trying to figure out if Pedro Feliz has really improved since the Giants let him go.

It's bizarre. As a child of wealth and privilege, I'm guessing her main challenge isn't going to be how society accepts her hair. (I would think that society is enormously accepting when your Mom is Angelina Jolie, and everybody you encounter dotes on you from the 5-star hotels, to the private jets, to the green rooms to the film production trailers.)

The hair isn't the challenge for the little tyke, the wealth and celebrity are what she'll need to overcome, from about age 10 through her 20s.

I'd say Jolie looks like the late Michael Jackson in that picture ;-)
Now I am waiting for Glenn Beck to take that hot hair topic up and show how it proves that liberals are destroying America (which would at least carry the slight chance of him being ripped to shreds by her).

In short, Jolie's daughter's hairstyle is fair game because Jolie is paid very well for putting up with this sort of gossipy tripe.

No. Even if Jolie were using her daughter in this way -- and I don't think, in fairness, she is* -- it's not fair game to criticise this little girl over a hairstyle.

*Of course, standards in this area have slipped considerably in the post-Jon/Kate, Octomom, balloon boy era.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words, Jes.

In short, Jolie's daughter's hairstyle is fair game because Jolie is paid very well for putting up with this sort of gossipy tripe.

I've always wondered about how the various special rules that apply to public figures get translated when it comes to their kids. For example, if I said something libelous about the Obama girls that would not be libelous if I said it about Obama, could it nevertheless be libelous with respect to them? Same thing for the paparazzi, we seem to let them get away with stuff that would be invasion of privacy if done to a private person, what about celebrities kids?

I've always wondered about how the various special rules that apply to public figures get translated when it comes to their kids.

What hath New York Times v. Sullivan wrought?

RE Parenting skills:

When our daughter (now 29) was about seven, my mother in law criticized us for spoiling her rotten, while *my* mother criticized us for being much too hard on her.

From that, we knew at the time we were dead on track for her to grow up to be bright, sensitive, useful, and pretty much universally admired.

And she did, and she is.

The Crafty Trilobite: In short, Jolie's [] hairstyle is fair game because Jolie is paid very well for putting up with this sort of gossipy tripe.

Fixed that for you.

Jolie is paid. Jolie is a celebrity.

Jolie's daughter, when she turns 18, may be a celebrity in her own right or just famous for being the beautiful wealthy daughter of Angelina Jolie, or may turn out to be the next mathematical genius or might just prefer to live a private life and tell reporters to eff off.

Nothing justifies harassing a little girl about how she likes her hair. Nothing but outright evidence of neglect justifies anyone getting at a parent about her daughter's hair - and the appropriate means to "get at" a parent about feared neglect is not an opinion column, it's a quiet phone call to your local social services.

Von's right. Absolutely completely dead right. *raises a glass*

Jes, we're going to need more booze .....

Best for the weekend. I'm on trick-or-treating duty.

Since I am hanging around today, my comment on this is, what jes said. Goood job von and jes.

Not to mention... Samuels might want to stop and think about the relative ages of the kids and why the oldest might have highlights and a mohawk -- he's old enough to be in school (in Malibu), I assume, and around kids for whom these sorts of things are vitally important. Nothing like SoCal to turn children into consumerist basket cases over their appearance and brand awareness at an early age.

No sense in making children hyper-aware of their appearance in the name of self-esteem -- especially at such an early age. I'm pretty sure that they can find all sorts of other areas on which to build that anyway.

That, and what von and jes said.

von, great post. Really right on the money. I couldn't agree more.

aimai

The CT (3:57) said that, because of Jolie's celebrity status, her parenting is fair game for public comment. The consensus seems to be that this is wrong, since it is unfair to the child.

So, assuming I've surmised the the thoughts here correctly, an honest question: does this apply to the more extreme cases of massive pop culture and media attention given to the parenting of, say, Britney Spears?

Ditto to von, Jes, and everyone else. I could not believe that piece: that someone wrote it, that Newsweek put it up, etc., etc.

I especially liked this: "I thought long and hard before sitting down two weeks ago to write an article about the state of Zahara Jolie-Pitt's hair."

Pity. It would have been so much nicer to think this was simply dashed off in a moment of folly, rather than representing the product of anyone's "long, hard thought".

"Finally, this is the last post that I ever want to write about Angelina Jolie."

I'll pass that on to her next time I see her, Von... She'll be crestfallen.

Last time I talked to her was back when she was still married to Billy Bob Thornton: a buddy of mine was part of Billy Bob's entourage-crew, from the Slingblade days, and I was occasionally dragged along when they needed another body for the weekly poker game held at Billy-Bob's house. My impression of Angelina then was that she was unassuming, easy-to-talk to -- no hollywood airs, and amazingly beautiful -- freak-of-nature beautiful: like the old saying, it was hard to keep your eyes off her; and some of us joked Billy Bob made sure she was there so we wouldn't be able to concentrate on our poker hands.

During one of these poker sessions Billy-Bob was looking a little scruffy, and Angelina showed up behind him at the table, tied a bath towel around his neck, and preceded to trim his hair. He kept on playing and betting, as if there was nothing unusual about it. Afterward she patted him on the shoulder and took away the scissors and towel, but the locks were left on the floor. One of the other players said, "Now you're fu*cked like Sampson, Billy-Bob, you're gonna lose every hand from here on in." But the opposite happened and he cleaned most of us out that night, and I remember thinking: there's no justice; not only does he have the most gorgeous woman you could imagine, he's a lucky son-of-a-bitch at cards too.

Of course, the lucky-at-cards, unlucky-at-love axiom kicked in soon after that, and they split up and divorced. And that was pretty much the end of the card games too.

The circuitious point to all this is that Angelina obviously had an interest in and a familiarity with hair-cutting; so if she wanted her daughter's hair to look different, she obviously could trim it herself -- meaning she's probably satisfied with the way it looks. And if she did cut it and it looked weird after-wards, everyone would be making Joan Crawford Mommy Dearest Hangers In The Closet remarks, so it's a lose-lose for her either way.

This is interesting! Thank you for this post!! Keep blogging!!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

"A very serious, thoughtful, discussion of hair that has never been made in such detail or with such care."

I vote for restricting hair discussions to weird Japanese http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exte>movies and Illinois http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/countdown-with-keith-olbermann-blagojevichs-hair-a-political-liability/3210963895/?icid=VIDURVNWS01>ex-governors.

The phrase "fair game" is a generally reliable red flag that something dishonorable, if not despicable, is being rationalized. Putting a 4-year-old in the metaphorical crosshairs, for instance.

Her hair looks something like that of a friend of mine, daughter of an Ethiopian father and an American Jewish mother. My friend's hair is generally regarded as beautiful and one of her best physical features, so I'm mystified that Samuels considers similar hair a problem. Also, I know my friend devotes a fair amount of effort to hair care and products, so her hair's appearance is hardly the result of laziness.

Speaking of mystification, what's the apostrophe for in the headline?

Margarita: "The phrase "fair game" is a generally reliable red flag that something dishonorable, if not despicable, is being rationalized. Putting a 4-year-old in the metaphorical crosshairs, for instance."

With 4-year-olds, yes... but otherwise, it depends on who the 'fair-game' is and why the crosshairs are on them:


Cheney still in crosshairs of Senate Intelligence probe

“But given that Cheney briefed two senior members of the Senate intelligence panel, the committee can review what Cheney told Roberts and Rockefeller about the interrogation program and evaluate whether his assertions were supported by the facts. That is, the Cheney briefing is fair game for the Senate investigators.

I remember being a little girl with hair. I was a little white girl, but believe me, unless one's parents keep it cut short, all little girls have (or anyway used to have) problems with hair. I was required to have long glossy straight hair, with sausage curls. I'll bet I'm the only person here old enough to even remember sausage curls! My hair was straightened, and then it was curled, and then it was decorated with great big ribbon bows.

In any case, my hair was "okay" only for moments at a time, the adjustments and repairs were time-consuming and painful, and long story short, I cut my girls' hair short until they were old enough to discuss how they wanted to wear it, and how much trouble they were willing to put up with to have it the way they wanted it.

I have several black kids (well, former kids, anyway -- they're all grown up now), so I do understand some things about the particular difficulties of "black hair", as well as the anxieties of kids who want to look like everyone else.

I don't think putting up with this kind of intrusive crapola is what Ms Jolie is "paid" for. I'm just glad that her kids seem to generally look happy, despite the efforts of people like Alison Samuels.

The author of the piece thinks it's horrible that Jolie's response to the question "why doesn't my hair look like yours?" wasn't to figure out how to make the girl's hair look more stylish? Exactly what would be wrong with telling the child "I think your hair is beautiful just the way it is - we can look different and both look beautiful"....?

"Secret English court seizes billions in assets from the mentally impaired"

http://joshfulton.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-english-court-seizes-assets-of.html

Yes, I sometimes read Jezebel. Screw you.

Maybe I need to read Jezebel more regularly, but what's the horror in admitting you read it? Because it's a Gawker site? Or because women talk about frivolous girly stuff like celebrities and fashion, unlike men, who only discuss serious, weighty matters like fantasy football leagues and whether Penelope Cruz is hotter than Megan Fox?

I kept waiting for all the comments like Lindsey got whining that this issue doesn't nearly have the gravitas required of an OBWI post and yet I don't see them.

I'll leave the readers to wonder why.

I assume it's because Von doesn't have a group of trolls following him here from somewhere else. The commenters attacking Lindsey seemed to be mostly new to ObWi, despite their stance of defending the place from going downhill. I figured they were members of an anti-fan club she'd been unlucky enough to attract.

It would have been so much nicer to think this was simply dashed off in a moment of folly, rather than representing the product of anyone's "long, hard thought".

Regaining consciousness after being heavily gobsmacked by a rare von/Jesurgislac/hilzoy/Slarti moment of agreement, I add that the unstated idea that this matter is important enough for anyone to devote ANY long, hard thought at all to...that there is silliness.

I'll leave the readers to wonder why.

Our resident troll doesn't want to make soup from von's underwear, I'm guessing.

a rare von/Jesurgislac/hilzoy/Slarti moment of agreement

Hah! Proof that this blog exists solely to reinforce confirmation biases.

More seriously, y'all probably agree on 99% of things (okay, maybe only 95% cause Jes would start wondering what was going on).

I like to think that "Don't harass little girls about their hair" is one of those no-brainers, like being against burning kittens or kicking puppies.

Of course I'm wrong. But you know. Kittens, puppies, and little kids: I still have this thing that most people would agree you shouldn't kick any one of them.

"Of course I'm wrong. But you know. Kittens, puppies, and little kids: I still have this thing that most people would agree you shouldn't kick any one of them."

I don't know, puppy">http://www.dowlendesign.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/puppy_kick.jpg&target=_self">puppy football is rather popular.

Although kittens I have to agree -- kicking them just gives you inferior product.

I'm still wondering about those who think, in principle, that criticizing Jolie's parenting is unfair to her child (where I assume that even if the particular critique we were all talking about wasn't complete crap, it would still be the case).

I would think that this would mean, for example, that the public obsession with Brtiney Spears parenting was, likewise, unfair to her children as well. That would mean this issue goes a lot deeper than some Newsweek blogger.

I do think that it is/was inappropriate to publicize Ms Spears' parenting problems for all to obsess about. Unfair to the parent, unfair to the kids, to make them the feedstock for the sausage mill of infotainment. If Ms Spears' parenting practices needed comment, it was not from the entire population of North America and possibly other countries as well, but from some local authority. For instance, perhaps a person from the children's services branch of the local police force could have spoken to her about the inadvisability of driving with a toddler on one's lap.

But where is the benefit to the parents or to the kids, of publicizing every famous parent's every parenting move, so that everyone can imagine it's their place to comment on it and to give unwanted advice to the parents? I do not believe they are "paid" to put up with this.

To a degree, that Alison Samuels essay was about Samuels' jealousy that Jolie's daughter will not have to suffer the hair torture growing up that Samuels did. It is a natural instinct to believe that the bad experiences you went through were necessary ones and to be indignant that someone might make it through like without them.

Presumably, Jolie's daughter will not find much social success among middle aged women of the black middle class on the American south, but since her future does not depend on such approval, Samuels' concerns are non-issues. That's one of the advantages of being from a wealthy celebrity family.

Thanks Older -- FWIW, that's where I think I am on the subject too.

Saw a good documentary today on this subject --

From what I gathered, it seems if a black woman wants "good" hair, she can either put acid on her scalp, or spend thousands of dollars sewing in human hair.

Now, maybe Samuels just doesn't know this (I didn't), in which case, von's just right; but if he was actually asking why Jolie didn't put peroxide in the hair of her four year old daughter -- well, I'm at loss...

This was an interesting news weekend.
On George Stephanopolis' show he interviewd WH Senior Adviser Valerie Jarret, about the failures and accomplishment's of Obama's first term in office; On Face The Nation Obama's Chief Adviser talked about Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's characterization of Obama engaging in Photo Op politics when attending the return of American war dead from Afghanistan; other news outlets were discussing the distortion of the jobs creation stimulus statistics: were jobs created and/or saved, or statistics invented and saved), and the New Jersey governor's race (will Obama's help sink Corzine?), and the Iran crackdown on dissidents at the upcoming Nov 4th rallies (will they spend more time celebrating kidnapping our diplomats and chant 'hate America' slogans, or rounding up and arresting and shooting their own people?) -- but all that's been published here at ObWi since Friday is this thread, about hair preferences.

Maybe you need to change your header logo to "This is the Voice of Boredom. I wouldn't go so far as to say we've actually FALLEN asleep... ZZZZZZZZ"

Now that Publius is leaving, I think you should let Jay out of that cell where he is forced to read and then comment on ObWi posts. Who knows? Perhaps if you let him go, he might return to actually post something that contributes to the conversation rather than what he has published.

"I'm still wondering about those who think, in principle, that criticizing Jolie's parenting is unfair to her child..."

I don't agree with that as a general principle. But Samuels' assertion that there is something wrong with Jolie's daughter's hair bothers me, even though Samuels' primary target is Jolie's parenting style.

Fashion is somewhat arbitrary, so when Samuels has a problem with hair that looks just fine to me, there is no way I can prove her wrong, or vice versa. But it seems to me that she is advocating a standard which is biased against females of African descent. If she were engaging in an abstract discussion, that would be one thing. But when she singles out a particular four year old girl for failing to meet her standard, that crosses a line that I would not cross.

Sorry Ken, I didn't mean to imply that everybody who took offense at the article did so from that particular principle -- I was actually just repeating the question I had asked earlier, when there were more commenters who were making an explicit connection.

I would say the generic rule is: While celebrities may be up for criticism about their parenting skills, any criticism of parenting that is directed at making the kid in question feel bad - especially, feel bad about how they look! - is bad criticism.

when there were more commenters who were making an explicit connection.

You were the only commenter who made any explicit connection between Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie.

"I would say the generic rule is: While celebrities may be up for criticism about their parenting skills, any criticism of parenting that is directed at making the kid in question feel bad - especially, feel bad about how they look! - is bad criticism."

This is actually a very good clarification. Thanks.

"You were the only commenter who made any explicit connection between Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie."

I meant between the principle of backing off the parent, and this thread. Sorry I was unclear.

When Angelina Jolie is seen in public endangering her children, and then is hauled into court where a convincing case is made that she's an unfit mother, we can talk about the difficult issue here. "I don't like her daughter's hair"? Not so much.

See, it's all perfectly clear if you look at it objectively.

Got it. You like and agree with Von so a few knock off posts is no big deal. (I agree by the way and also have a great deal of respect for Von, though disagreeing at time.

You really dislike Lindsey so anything short of Pulitzer nominee commentary on her part is the end of ObWi as we know it and a sure sign of the coming Armageddon.

You're correct, it makes perfect sense when looked at from your eyes.

I'd just like to go on record saying that I especially love von when he's surly.

"For the life of me I can't think of a stupider thing to write about then an actor's daughter's hair, but Von's inanity gets a pass because he has male genitalia."

Do we know von's a guy?

Do we know von's a guy?

According to von, he's a guy. We also know Hilzoy is a female and "...really, she was a SuperStar..." according to our latest Lindsay critic. Hilzoy sometimes wrote about stuff like this and it didn't appear to bother anyone. But different people comment at different times. In any case, I'd say the gender-based double-standard evidence is weak, though absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

When von posts a "lightweight" post, it leads to discussions on celebrity, and the challenges of African-American hair. Lindsay gave us crabs, which was retoactively called an "open thread".

On the post itself, I think it's incredibly dim of Samuels to make this comment in light of Chris Rock's documentary about people like her and their comments about A-A hair. It's like she was begging for a smack-down.

Now I have to prepare for the Apocolypse, what with von, jes, hilzoy and Slarti all in agreemnet.

In general I find Linsday to be a first-rate blogger, but what's up with her hair?

A comment as turgid and pretentious as Philly Cheesesteak's can only be a spoof.

"Hilzoy sometimes wrote about stuff like this and it didn't appear to bother anyone."


But Hilzoy actually thought highly of this blog (as all the energy and effort she put into it showed)...

Whereas for L. Beyerstein ObWi doesn't seem to be that important, as she recently noted when asked in an online interview to list her favorite blogs, and this one wasn't among them.

Nor does ObsidianWings show up on her own blog-roll of 70 or so other blogs... which indicates it wasn't even on her radar until a few months ago.

Plus, you have to think there's something wrong with her mind: a New Yorker who says she 'hates' the Yankees... which probably means she's a Mets fan -- see, a seriously disturbed person that no one should take seriously..


"Plus, you have to think there's something wrong with her mind: a New Yorker who says she 'hates' the Yankees... which probably means she's a Mets fan -- see, a seriously disturbed person that no one should take seriously.."

OK, that's classic!

Not to change the subject, but a blog with a "Maher Arar" tag might want to note the latest news re: Maher Arar.

(Some quotations from the dissenting opinions here. Scott Horton's writeup, here.)

Thanks, Anderson. I miss Katherine.

"I do know, however, that if you see my kid running around wearing pajama pants and a cape, it is not necessarily the outfit that I picked out for him. But if it is, why do you care?"

I think it depends on the location -- in your house, I've got no problem with it; during a regular school day, your going to raise some eyebrows to say the least.

Thanks for the link, Anderson. That was just... ugh. A long, infuriating, ugly read, and some of the more craven judicial pandering I've seen in a while.

Yo, Von!!!!
There's a lot going on in the news. How about starting some semi-open threads on one or more of the following topics?


Voters in Main have probably torpedoed the state law that would have allowed gay couples to marry.

Today the GOP wrested political control from Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey.

The North Koreans are producing more arms-grade plutonium, and the Iranians are backing away from their promise to send their fuel to Russia.

And French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government started a 'What is French?' website today, to start a national identity debate about immigrant assimilation in regard to French tradition -- the kind of debate we need here, in the now-bilingual English/Spanish Southwest.

So? How about getting back into gear: when the going gets tough, the tough get writing...

that of course should read "in Maine"

Alternatively, Jay, if Von isn't putting up posts about the latest Republican talking points fast enough for you, you could start your own blog and write about them yourself. Failing that, your only option might be to demand a full refund of your ObWi subscription fees.

And French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government started a 'What is French?' website today, to start a national identity debate about immigrant assimilation in regard to French tradition -- the kind of debate we need here, in the now-bilingual English/Spanish Southwest.

Jay, I find it amusing that you cite this as if it's something Americans would want to emulate, given how differently France and the US view civic identity. I'm pretty sure that the multi-cultural US tradition is preferable to the mono-cultural French one for the overwhelming majority of Americans, even (especially?) conservative ones. All that rugged individualist hokum runs directly afoul the kind of mono-culturalism you're blindly praising here... to say nothing of what such folks' distaste for e.g. the Dept. of Education suggests...

I think we need a new open thread.

Overheard on NPR this morning: "there is no Constitutional right not to be framed". As in: the Constitution does not protect you from prosecutors setting you up to take the fall for a crime, and you can't bring suit against them for doing so.

NPR was working the speedback this morning: that, in quick succession with Corzine losing NJ governorship after only having invested $30 million, along with Bloomberg narrowly winning in NY after having upped the ante to $100 million in his quest for third term as mayor.

One. Hundred. Million. That'd buy a lot of beer, I think. It could even buy enough city council votes to reset the term limit to three.

now-bilingual English/Spanish Southwest

huh? the southwest has been bilingual for a long, long, time.

One. Hundred. Million. That'd buy a lot of beer,

What do you think the poster-printers, advertising salesmen, and campaign staffers bought for themselves with that money?

Everyone talks about how campaign donors use money to buy politicians. Forgotten in all of this is how politicians use campaign money to buy friends.

KcinDC: "Alternatively, Jay, if Von isn't putting up posts about the latest Republican talking points fast enough for you, you could start your own blog and write about them yourself."

I was just trying to get the conversational ball rolling again (apparently it worked; Eric started an open thread above); but thanks for reverting to your old quibbling self: it reinforces the Progressive personnae of ungracious snideness we neo-Independents have come to know and love.


thanks for reverting to your old quibbling self: it reinforces the Progressive personnae of ungracious snideness
You say that like it's a bad thing. You would be happier in your life if you merely realized that it's your place in the world to endure the mockery and derision which you bring upon yourself.

Not only does it upset you than von doesn't use his blog to repeat the right-wing talking points you wish he would, but now you demand that you be treated in a role of something other than the designated whipping boy. Lighten up, Francis. Learn to enjoy it.

"huh? the southwest has been bilingual for a long, long, time."

That's like noting prior to Katrina the levies in New Orleans had water behind them for a long, long, time.

I must be missing something, because I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is supposed to be with the kid's hair.

now-bilingual English/Spanish Southwest

Yeah, it's a big change. Until about 150 years ago it was pretty much Spanish-only, at least as far as European languages, and had been so for a couple hundred years.

I must be missing something, because I'm still trying to figure out what the problem is supposed to be with the kid's hair.

The most detailed and thorough insider's explanation of the whole politics of black hair is IMO at Pam's House Blend.

I saw the pic of that gorgeous little girl and her hair and the sad thing is that I have read enough blogposts (by Pam and others) that I got at once what the so-called "problem" is with her hair ...

just me: "Lighten up, Francis."

Who's Francis?

"Not only does it upset you than von doesn't use his blog to repeat the right-wing talking points you wish he would"

Since I'm not a Republican, or a Conservative, I'd treat Von's talking points the way I always treat them, agreeing or not agreeing, depending on said points...

just me: "Lighten up, Francis."

Who's Francis?

The education of Jay Jerome continues

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