Friday, January 25, 2013

Manti Te'o Odd Situation; The New Normal Hair Debacle; Divine the One and Only




I've been following this ordeal Manti Te'o is going through with tongue-in-cheek interest because it's so completely bizarre. I also think it's a reflection on what it's like to live in these modern times of social media where anyone can be duped and tricked into believing almost anything.  Even more interesting is how Te'o responded to a question about whether or not he's gay.

Manti Te'o insists he's the victim of a hoax and that he was set up, I think, by a man pretending to be a woman. His parents support him, even though what he told them sounds unusual to most people. In one breath the parents claim he's not a liar and in the next Te'o admits he lied to his father at one point. Go figure.

This is the basic Manti Te'o story, according to wiki:

 One of the enduring stories of Notre Dame's 2012 season was Te'o's strong play following the death of his grandmother and girlfriend, as well as his emergence as a Heisman Trophy candidate. In January 2013, Deadspin revealed that the existence and death of his girlfriend had been faked. Te'o released a statement[3] claiming to have been the victim of a hoax that lured him into an online relationship with a nonexistent woman.

It's a complicated story of how online relationships can begin and end. You can read more here, where I think it gives the best scenario about what actually went down. But to be honest, I'm still a little confused. I think what I really don't get is how he could be duped quite that way. Then again, I've been duped more than once and I do actually get it to a certain extent. The difference is that I never got emotionally involved with anyone online, and I never would. My dealings were more on a professional level. And they weren't all that bad either.

Then why, Couric asked, had he said the two met through his cousin and at a game his sophomore year, when he now says she had reached out to him on Facebook? Why had he told his father that he and Kekua had gotten together once in Hawaii?

And why hadn't he had stronger doubts before this winter? Like how, in their FaceTime chats, her screen always appeared black? Or how every in-person meeting they set up fell through, like when she was hospitalized or the time her brother had borrowed her car?

Once again, the entire situation seems to revolve around an "online relationship." And I find it interesting because I think we'll be seeing and reading about more cases like this in the future. I hate to say this, but I find so many people weaving webs of intrigue online I'm never sure who to trust anymore. I recently discovered someone going by a name of a brand of pink champagne.

In an October article about Te'o, before all this fakery was revealed, it talks about how Te'o wrote a letter to the parents of a child who had passed away, expressing his own grief and offering them comfort in what had to be the worst time in their lives. I can't imagine anything worse than the loss of a child. Nothing.

When his girlfriend died, the natural reaction for Te’o could have been, "Why her? Why me?" It would have been understandable if he had been thinking about himself at that moment.

Instead: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith." Te’o wrote an emotional letter, via email. Picture a big, tough linebacker sitting at his computer, "definitely crying," as he said, over someone else’s pain, some stranger’s pain.

All he had known about Bridget, all he had been told through a mutual friend, was that Bridget's brain tumor was finally proving too powerful and that she wasn’t going to get out of the hospital again. And she loved Notre Dame football and Manti Te’o.

“Obviously, going through what I’ve gone through, with my girlfriend passing away from cancer, that whole thing hit home for me,’’ Te’o said in a private moment the other day, “My whole thing was just to reach out and let them know I’m here. I wrote her parents.

“Just letting them know that the heavenly father is always there. Although it may not seem like it right now, He’s always there to help. It was definitely hard to write.

“And I think it helped to ease my pain, too.’’

I wouldn't even begin to comment one way or the other because there are so many factors to consider, and in the US we are considered innocent until proven guilty. But one thing in a Huff Po article really annoyed me. The illustrious Katie Couric, modern liberal reporter gal of our times, actually asked Manti Te'o if he was gay. And Te'o responded in one of the worst ways I've seen in a long time.

Addressing speculation that Te'o could have been involved in concocting the hoax in order to hide his sexuality, Couric asked if he was gay.

"No, far from it ... far from it," Te'o replied.

Well, I guess he's not gay, and he's more than proud to admit that. It's evendient by the way he repeated "far from it." And another example of how awful it is to be considered gay by someone who has turned his entire life into a complete mess. I actually don't blame Te'o, because he only responded in a way he's been taught to respond to questions about being gay. And that's one of the things we need to fix.

The New Normal Hair Debacle

A friend who designs hair phoned me this week about a recent episode of The New Normal she'd seen. I saw that episode and liked it. John Stamos was in it and I like to watch older guys who still look great. It gives the rest of us hope. But my hairdresser friend was livid. Here's a paraphrased example of our general conversation.

My friend: Did you see that haircut they gave Ellen Barkin?

Me: Yes. It was a little strange. I like the old haircut better.

My friend: It was one of the dumbest haircuts I've ever seen, and the way those assholes made it look so chic and wonderful blew me away. Do you know how many people can wear their hair that way and get away with it?

Me: Not really.

My friend: About two or three pencil thin models with eating disorders in New York. That's how many.

In any event, my friend wasn't thrilled with Ellen Barkin's haircut, and frankly I didn't think it looked all the great either. But it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever seen. It reminded me of a time when I went to a party and one of the female guests showed up with one of those ultra short butch haircuts an overzealous hairdresser had talked her into getting. Another friend, a gay man in his fifties, saw her and started jumping up and down. "You look great in that haircut, honey," he told her. "It's you. It's you. You have the face for it." Then the woman turned to talk to someone else, and he turned to me and said, "Oh my God, did you see that hideous haircut on her? It only makes that poor thing's nose look ten times bigger. I'd be chasing that hairdresser down the street with a baseball bat."

I always mind my own business and never get involved in things like that. And I trust my hair designer with my life. But I don't think I'd take anyone's advice from The New Normal with my own hair.

Divine in all her glory:

One of my all time favorite gay performers was someone who went by the name of "Divine." I remember first hearing about Divine when I was a kid, probably around six or seven years old. My mom had a gay friend and he used to talk about Divine all the time. At the time, I had no idea how important Divine would be to pop culture or to the gay community. I just thought she was someone I'd love to meet in person someday.

Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), also known as Harris Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, disco singer and drag queen. A character actor who often performed female roles in both cinema and theater, Divine adopted a female drag persona in his musical performances, leading People magazine to describe him as the "Drag Queen of the Century".[1] Often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, he starred in ten of Waters's films, usually in a lead role.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a conservative, upper-middle-class family, he became involved with John Waters and Waters's acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, in the mid-1960s and starred in a number of Waters's early films such as Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). Hits on the midnight movie and underground cinema circuit in the U.S., the films became cult classics, with Divine becoming particularly renowned for playing the role of Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos, during which he had to perform a series of extreme acts including eating dog excrement.

I'm also a huge fan of John Waters, and the way he uses parody with normal everyday life. I'm going to do a post just about him soon, for those who might not be familiar with him, or his parodies. I've seen him in person in P'town in the summer. He stays somewhere in the East End.

If you haven't seen a Divine film, I suggest "Pink Flamingos" first.