You’re either in or you’re out

I admit it. I have a girl-crush on Mary Louise Parker.

I’ve never met her, but my adoration is long-standing. It all started with Fried Green Tomatoes, when she was so sweet. Then there was The West Wing, when she was so cool. And then there was Weeds, when she was just so…hot. I love her in everything.

Last week, my crush became full-blown when she said she is pretty much done with acting because she is too “thin-skinned.” She talked about the intrusive culture of negativity and criticism that actors are exposed to. She thinks it’s ugly. It is.

Parker wants to spend her time writing, being with her family and taking care of her goats. (Reminder to self: look into getting some goats.) You gotta love a chick who has her priorities in line.

I totally get it – had a tiny fraction of the publicity that Parker deals with, and it was too much for me. I realized that the more I worked at my “dream job” – the more vulnerable and unpleasant the rest of my life became. The trade-offs were simply not worth it anymore. It seems that she feels the same way, and I love that Parker is setting her limits and refusing to participate.

It’s a good reminder that there are consequences to trashy and harmful practices like rewarding snark and buying gossip magazines. Maybe it just seems like benign fun, but it’s not, and one of the consequences is no more Mary Louise Parker.

We can’t fix everything that is wrong with the world, but I have hope that if enough people starting calling this out as unacceptable, the direction of media can change. Maybe we can return to a time of accountability in reporting and a basic notion of privacy and decency.

But then my Kumbaya-We-Can-Change-The-World optimism comes crashing down around me when I hear that Oprah is paying Lindsay Lohan 2 million dollars to give her an exclusive post-rehab interview, then star in an eight-part documentary series on OWN.

Because clearly, that girl needs more money and exposure. That ought to help the situation. (Damnit, why is there no such thing as sarcasm font??)

I LOVE Oprah, but this is a major misstep. This is a blatant grab for ratings. This is putting an ant under a magnifying glass and watching it burn. Because even if Oprah attempts to produce this show in the most Oprah-like, soul-inspiring way, people will inevitably tune in to submit to humanity’s most base desires –  watching someone suffer so that we don’t have to think about our own purpose in the world.

I’m so grateful that I was never famous enough that Oprah wanted to do a show with me when I was young and stupid. I’m thankful that there is no reality show detailing my attempts to sabotage my own life while recklessly falling in love with anyone who would make eye contact. I’m thrilled that there was never a comment section that kept track of exactly how many poor decisions I made in any given week. But that’s seems to be what sells now.

So, I sigh and go back to wondering – a la The Truman Show –  “How will it end?”

I really don’t know how it ends, but regardless, I officially want Mary Louise Parker to be my new best friend.

I’d totally help her with the goats.

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