Pile On

I use Seeded Buzz as a marketing tool to promote my blog.  At present, it avails me little, but it does give me a rich cache of other bloggers to read through when the notion strikes.  Today, I clicked through the entertainment heading and found this post from DK King about Vulture Culture.

That we have become a pile-on society is nothing new.  It bounced back to my attention yesterday, with the reports that Joan Cusak had told Gabourey Sibide that she should “quit the business” because it was so image conscious.  All my social media lists blew up with outrage.  How dare the “herself unattractive” and “only successful for her brother’s goodwill” Cusak tell the sweet, precious Precious that she wasn’t good looking enough for the business?!  Ugly, devil woman!

Since I am the first person in line to tell anyone (great looking, or fugly) that the entertainment industry is no place for human beings, much less human beings with insecurities, I could easily see myself saying something similar in the context of a conversation over the difficulties of making it in the business.  Since Cusak has been outspoken about her own professional struggles as one of the Unf-ckables (what Rachel Dratch calls that set of women who only get hired to play the roles of ladies no man would ever consider sticking it to, in her book–which is not great, but is worth reading if you’ve ever wondered why SNL hasn’t been funny for the past decade) I have a hard time thinking she would be Junior High Mean Girling Sidibe about her looks.  I have a very, very hard time thinking Cusak was looking down her long, unconventional nose and sniffing, “Fat Girl, you should just quit the business now, because no one with your butt is going anywhere.”

Since Sidibe said Cusak was being nice, it is easier for me to fantasize that the conversation was more like, “Girl, if you have any insecurities about it, quit the business now because it is extremely hard to make it if you don’t fit the mold.” 

Of course, I want to believe that Cusak is a nice, helpful person because to this day I find myself doing Cusak’s backbrace dance from Sixteen Candles, and I cannot use a water fountain without thinking of her.

It is an excellent example of the pile-on, the words that are going to get the page views, are the ones that accuse Cusak of trying to crush a fat girl’s dreams.  And, as the vultures descend, projecting out of their own insecurities or very real experiences, the implications turn darker, until Cusak is the naked bones DK talks about.  Pile on.  From a sound bite.  From a quote taken out of context.

It feels like we are always reduced to factions.  Those who are for.  Those who are against.  And those who couldn’t give a rat, and who think those who are For and those who are Against are morons.  It feels like there is no table for conversation across lines, only the high school lunch tables segregated to the Jocks, the Criminals, the Basket-Cases, the Brains, and the Princesses.  And the ones who don’t give a rat and think the other ones are morons.

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