April 24, 2007

"Like, I really -- what I want to do is experience the whole entertainment business because, I mean, I'm not just a musician, I'm an entertainer."

So says Sanjaya Malakar, a darling boy who deserves his own sitcom. Perhaps the story of a someone who wants to be a star, has a lot of heart, but isn't any good at all. (It worked for Lucy!)

Sanjaya was on Letterman last night, doing the Top Ten.



And look, here's Arianna Huffington gushing about sitting near Sanjaya on the plane to the White House Correspondents' Dinner:
[T]he woman across the aisle from me leaned over and asked if I was flying in for the dinner. I told her that I was and asked if she was too. "Yes," she said. "I'm Sanjaya's mom!" I glanced back, and there was the fallen-but-radiant Idol, seated next to a bodyguard hired to protect him from the mobs of well-wishers that now follow him wherever he goes (It was a good hire: Sanjaya's table was a hot destination throughout the Correspondents' dinner). Mrs. Malakar was a very charming woman. Our conversation ranged from the black-beaded dress she had bought for the occasion to her less than rosy assessment of the Bush administration. My mind flashed on how Simon Cowell might have assessed Alberto Gonzales' off-key testimony, and whether the AG would have won over Arlen Specter if he'd done his hair in a pony-hawk.

Eh, my mind just flashed on what a dull writer Arianna Huffington is. She's sitting with Sanjaya and mother and all she gives us is the insinuation that "Mrs. Malakar" agrees with Arianna's boring politics? It's an unsupported insinuation, of course, because who has a "rosy assessment of the Bush administration"? Probably not even Bush himself!

And, Arianna, not every woman latches on to her husband's name. You ought to know better than to call a woman by her child's last name with a "Mrs." in front of it! Just as my name isn't "Mrs. Cohen," Sanjaya's mother is not Mrs. Malakar, she's Jillian Recchi. (And Sanjaya is just as Italian as he is Indian.)

40 comments:

reader_iam said...

I'm cracking up at the Love Boat-level pedigree line. Rich may be a "has-been," and his performance at the WHCD may have been said, but at one time he was quite famous and did some good stuff. There's more than one way to approach humor--it doesn't always have to be edgy. If fact, if it's always edgy, the blade tends to go dull.

But that's not why I'm cracking up. It's because I immediately thought: Does Arianna's Michael Huffington-level pedigree explain why my expectations of her are decidedly discounted?

Could be.

Victor said...

Arianna is very readable.

Patrick said...

congrats to Arianna for not flying on her own private plane.

reader_iam said...

I'm OK with Arianna's writing, as such, however.

Beth said...

It's just a parenthetical aside, but it's so, so wrong: Lucille Ball was a very funny comedian and a talented performer. To see her name in a comparison with this flavor of the month made me spew coffee across the keyboard!

Maxine Weiss said...

You'll always be Mrs. Cohen.

Wrap yourself around it.

Monkeyboy said...

Mrs. Malakar was a very charming woman

So Arianna never actually asked her name or properly introduced herself?

Ann Althouse said...

Maxine: I never used that name.

Monkeyboy: She didn't even bother to Google to get the name right, which is what I did. Took 2 seconds.

reader_iam said...

I think it was in a podcast, not a post, so I can't link it, but Althouse has told a story about a judge who gave her a hard time about never taking the Cohen name, as if that had something to do with divorce.

Or am I misremembering?

Mark said...

Arianna's post (which I would not have read but for Ann's link) was very readable and right on point. And who the hell cares what Sanjaya mom's name really is!

Ann Althouse said...

Iam: Yes, the judge that granted my divorce lectured me about my failure to change my name.

mark: Obviously, I care. It's a significant feminist issue.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Maybe Sanjaya and Kellie Pickler could be in a sitcom together.


Does the Althouse name belong to your father's side or your mother's?

Ernie Fazio said...

So you don't like Arianna either, l'Althouse? But what you really do not like are her politics. Interesting how that is.

We didn't like her politics when she was shilling for her rich, but very limited, right-wing husband, Michael. Now we like them, and generally like her as well. She is spunky and iconoclastic and stands up to them all. Someone I would think that l'Althouse would like in spite of her leftish politics. She is wonderful on "Left, Right and Center," a public radio show with Robert Scheer (left), Tony Blakely (right), Arianna (out there,) and some guy in the middle who moderates. She is witty, informed, and not too self-promoting. Again, I would think that l'Althouse would like Arianna, politics aside. Have you gone so far to the dark side that you cannot have any polite dialogue with even the iconoclastic left?

Ernie Fazio said...

Didn't know where to put this, but I just read on Echidne that Jessica Valenti has published a book called "Full Frontal Feminism, a young woman's guide to why feminism matters." You might think about reviewing it from your own feminist perspective. You two may not be that far apart.

boston70 said...

I like Arianna and enjoy her writing.

Admit it Ann, you don't like her politics.

There is also a tinge of envy and jealousy in your post regarding Arianna.

She is fabulous and looks great-come on you would like to be her, wouldn't you Ann?

Trinity said...

There is also a tinge of envy and jealousy in your post regarding Arianna.

It's only there if you put it there.

Ann Althouse said...

I actually don't know much about Arianna's politics. I was just irked at the way she summarily processed Ms. Recchi.

trev said...

boston70 said...

I like Arianna and enjoy her writing.

Admit it Ann, you don't like her politics.

There is also a tinge of envy and jealousy in your post regarding Arianna.

She is fabulous and looks great-come on you would like to be her, wouldn't you Ann?


Tinge? I think there is a lot of jealousy here. I think that Althouse wants to be Arianna. That is the problem. Arianna is more famous, better looking and more coherent.
All this fuss about the last name, yeah you got her there, what an idiot Arianna is for not checking the last name of the 7th place finisher of American Idol on an airplane. On Althouse that kind of slop would never get by.
Gee Althouse, the way you pull this woman down I would have thought you were a man.

Ann Althouse said...

The notion that women can't criticize women is completely sexist as is the assumption that criticism is based on "female" jealousy. You are sexist.

Wade Garrett said...

Let me get this straight: A young, non-threatening, no-talent singer was kept on American Idol for three or four rounds longer than he deserved because teenage girls and middle-aged mothers in the midwest fell in love with him? This NEVER happens!!! I am shocked!

Palladian said...

Back when Ariana was a right-wing Zsa -Zsa Gabor, she wrote a book about Picasso that was such an incredible piece of shit that I vowed then and there never to read anything she said every again. Her politics are this month's sable coat, she'd toss them off in a minute if she thought it could get her some more press.

Anyway, don't look to rich people to lecture you on how to live your life, whatever their politics.

And the supposed "left-wing" men that pull out the "you're just jealous because she prettier than you" crap... way to expose yourselves as the pigs you actually are. You're not liberals or feminists. You're playing politics like dirty team sports. Whatever it takes to score one for your team, you'll happily oblige. You've got no philosophy, you're just scoring cheap points. Politics is like a more boring form of professional baseball without the integrity. And given the current state of professional baseball, what with the steroids and corked bats and such, that's really saying something.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Palladian. It's been clear to me for decades that lefty men are not feminists. They pretend to be to the extent that they see that they have to be, but their perceptions are inadequate and they let the truth about themselves show at embarrassingly regular intervals.

They want to attack me because I won't get in line and serve the interests they identify as the correct one, and they attack me with blatantly sexist statements. Doubly sexist. And stupid as hell. I've seen it all before a hundred times. What makes me angry is that lefty women don't call them on it.

vnjagvet said...

Left wing women have a double standard in such matters.

Their attitude towards Clinton's escapades proved that.

As you, Prof. Ann, have pointed out frequently if I am not mistaken.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Can you explain to me how name-changing [or not] is a "significant feminist issue"? Is it an anti-patriarchy argument or an identity issue or something else? In this society, women are usually wearing a surname of a male family member: husband or father or maternal grandfather.

boston70 said...

I am sorry. I didn't say Arianna was prettier than Ann.

I said Arianna was attractive and had a fabulous quality about her.

I think Ann is attractive and fabulous too.

I never thought of myself as a sexist or a male "feminist". Maybe my comments were sexist and if they were I am sorry.

I just thought the initial post by Ann sounded like she was envious of Arianna. If that is sexist I am sorry-it is just the way it came across to me.

I don't know if men are able to be feminist.

reader_iam said...

In this society, women are usually wearing a surname of a male family member: husband or father or maternal grandfather.

And so are the men. It's just that the latter aren't assumed to have changed their name upon marriage. In the vast majority of cases, they die with the surname they were born into, so to speak, and--more--that's the standard expectation, that they'll carry their basic identity, as expressed in their birth name, throughout life. There's not the expectation that they'll symbolically "transfer" their identity and graft it onto someone else's. And there's not the assumption that they have done so.

No doubt Althouse can put it better and more pithily.

All that said, and though I understand the issue thoroughly, it's not all that important to me in terms of myself and my own life. (I'm very respectful and careful about it with other people, however. People are entitled to define their own identities.)

As it happens, I have my so-called maiden name (which was accidental; I intended to add my husband's name to my original three, but screwed up the paperwork; I'll spare you the details). But people call me Mrs. XX, or Firstname XX all of the time, in some contexts. I'm even referred to that way in printed material and roster lists and directories in one particular context. In other contexts, I'm not sure people know my husband's last name. I really couldn't care less.

I don't expect others not to care, however. I know they do. It's not for me to decide that they shouldn't.

Wade Garrett said...

I grant that the issue of whether to take their husband's name or not is a significant issue to a lot of women, though almost all of my female friends (say ages 25-30) who have gotten married in recent years have taken their husband's name, with only one exception.

I think its unfair to criticize a female writer for simply assuming that a mother has the same last name as her son.

Ann Althouse said...

"I grant that the issue of whether to take their husband's name or not is a significant issue to a lot of women, though almost all of my female friends (say ages 25-30) who have gotten married in recent years have taken their husband's name, with only one exception."

Well, that supports my belief that feminist took a big step backward in the 1990s.

"I think its unfair to criticize a female writer for simply assuming that a mother has the same last name as her son."

Why did you say a female writer? What's the difference? Obviously, I think it's fair, but what's this business about criticizing women? It's ridiculously patronizing.

Wade Garrett said...

To the contrary, feminism took enormous strides forward in the 1990s. Having factions disagree about what to do next in the wake of enormous political victories is a sign of strength, not weakness. Don't pick out individual feminists with whom you disagree, arbitrarily declare them representative of all feminists, then use your disagreement with them as grounds to dismiss the entire movement.

Furthermore, I don't see how women taking their husbands' name is a sign that feminism took a step back. Some women choose to keep their name. Others don't. Still others hyphenate. Isn't feminism supposed to be about giving women choices, not imposing your own will upon other women?

Finally, the reason I said "female writer" is because you wouldn't have bothered to mention it if it was a male writer.

Ann Althouse said...

"Finally, the reason I said "female writer" is because you wouldn't have bothered to mention it if it was a male writer."

Bullshit. I sure as hell would have. You're revealing what's in YOUR head, not mine. Look to yourself, man. You think feminism made "enormous strides" in the 1990s? And I'm supposed to be impressed by what you think because... why? You are uninformed and you are a sexist. Deal with it.

Wade Garrett said...

Wow, you sure do get defensive in a hurry! You've called me a sexist in the month of April, which gives me something in common with, oh, about 100,000 other people. By assuming that a mother had the same last name as her son, she is guilty of sloppy journalism, but not of sloppy feminism.

With few exceptions (Raina, I know you're out there!), almost none of my female friends, almost all of whom are highly-educated professionals and all of whom share feminist goals, identify as Feminists. Why is that? Its because so many capital-F Feminists are a bunch of irrelevant baby boomers locked away in academia, who don't do or say anything that relates to the struggles most women have to deal with in their lives.

The feminist movement has achieved so much, and won so many important battles, that it doesn't know what to do NEXT. Leaders disagree about what needs to be done. Byzantine intra-movement turf wars develop and everybody tries to 'out-feminist' each other.

I'm a man, so of course I'm going to be wrong about all of this, but I always thought that feminism was about giving women CHOICES. The choice to vote, pursue a higher education, and work outside of the home. The choice of how best to balance your family and your career. Feminism isn't about scoring points at the expense of other women.

A recent mayoral election in Washington D.C. hinged over the issue of which of the two candidates was "more black." For serious. Both candidates were well-educated and accomplished in their fields. Could you imagine such a conversation being held in 1960? Probably not, but now that that's so much less to fight about, people have to invent battles they feel as if they can win. The same is true of contemporary feminism.

In the past year, you've picked fights with two of the most popular feminist bloggers in the United States, over stupid, catty little issues, such as how they dress, or how friendly they are with Bill Clinton. If you're such a feminist, then prove it to me, and to all of your other readers. Prove it by saying something yourself, instead of waiting, claws extended, for others to speak, so that you may attack them to prove your Feminist bonafides. Prove it by showing me a single feminist writer under the age of 35 with whom you agree about anything remotely approaching feminism. Prove it by talking about the issues that real women care about, instead of issues that women cared about in 1975. (Apparently, no feminist younger than Camille Paglia has ever had an interesting idea.) Keeping your own last name was a big issue for women of your generation, but as far as I can tell more women are taking their husband's last name than they were 20 years ago. The name issue is an OLD BATTLE. If you're a feminist, prove it by showing that you can have a discussion about feminist issues with other feminists, paticularly those of your students' generation, without criticizing them in all sorts of trite, petty ways that give Feminists a bad name.

Ann Althouse said...

Wade: YOU just proved that you are a sexist for EXACTLY the reason I just told you you are. Women are allowed to attack just as men are. And women are susceptible to attacks just as men are. They don't get special immunity from attack and when they attack they should not be belittled for attacking and being women at the same time. I'm attacking on real issues, on the merits, and it is absolutely sexist to impugn me by saying I'm doing this as a jealous older woman. Shame on you.

Wade Garrett said...

Hey, if you say so. What should I do with all of the e-mails I got over night, saying "right on!"? They're all from women. I guess that makes all of us sexists, and it makes all of THEM self-hating anti-feminists. Thanks for clarifying that for us - we had been wondering where we stood on the issue.

Ann Althouse said...

Wade, you're the only one who initially diminished your point of view because of your sex, so I don't give a damn if you have some women who support me. Do you have any idea how many times I have heard men claim not to be sexist because they have soem women who say they aren't? It's a damned cliché. And it's just a new load of sexism.

Wade Garrett said...

The remark about my gender was a joke.

The more defensive you get, the more you prove my point. In your own narrow view of the world, nobody is as feminist as you. Nobody can EVER be as feminist as you, and the fact that other women don't realize that is proof that they are the ones who don't understand feminism, not you. Its a circular argument.

Ann Althouse said...

My argument here isn't about being more feminist than others, it is about claiming my rights as a human being to make the same arguments that men get to make and to attack women the same as men. And I called bullshit on you and you know it. As for defensive, look in a mirror, man.

Jake Taylor said...

Actually, considering you're the divineformidablelegalanalysisperformanceartist Ann Althouse and Wade Garrett is a relatively anonymous commentor, the sheer intensity of your reaction would indicate that Wade called YOU on YOUR bullshit and YOU got a little flustered. Unless this is how you respond to all criticism, in which case, wow. Keep up the good work.

Ann Althouse said...

Jake: The word "flustered" is sexist in this context and has been for decades. Shame on you.

TW said...

Ann Althouse said...

Jake: The word "flustered" is sexist in this context and has been for decades. Shame on you.


Self-parody doesn't get much better than this...

matt said...

We'll be right back with another thrilling edition of "Feminism - Gene Ray style"