(November 27, 2011) – From the day we began blogging about the Housewives, we realized there was an inherent danger in posting our thoughts about television personalities we do not know. We learned this by reading Dr. Drew’s The Mirror Effect a few years ago.
If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, we encourage you to do it. In it Dr. Drew argues that by observing and commenting on famous people who behave in a narcissistic way, the viewer runs the risk of dehumanizing the celebrity, and in the process, of fostering a narcissistic rage in the viewer, not unlike the irrational hatred that is depicted in Shirley Jackson’s haunting short story, The Lottery.
For this reason, we have tried very hard to look at the characters portrayed in the Housewives shows and to react to them with a healthy dose of empathy that includes an understanding that a) we are only seeing what the editors want us to see; and b) these are real people with real feelings who, just like us, are not perfect. This effort has served us well, although we have annoyed quite a few people who simply cannot understand why we are so reluctant to say a particular character deserves a chance to redeem him or herself when it is obvious that what they have done is simply outrageous.
That’s fine. We do not need people to agree with us or give us a pass for what they think we did wrong. We will always try to react with caution and understanding because we believe Dr. Drew when he wrote that the only way to stay unharmed by narcissistic celebrities is to listen, observe and react with as much empathy as possible.
Well, we bring all of this up because last night we had an extraordinary case of insomnia and stumbled upon Ilana Angel’s post, Lynn Hudson and the Dark Side of Reality Television Blogging. We knew the piece existed and tried not to read it because when we saw a Twitter slap fight erupt when it was first published, we decided it was a waste of time to read because it looked like two bloggers had taken sides with different former cast members of the Real Housewives of New York and we simply did not want to get involved because we are not interested in either Reality TV star. And the Twitter argument sounded absurd when we saw those tweets fly by on our timeline.
Truth be told, we’re still not that interested in either Jill Zarin or Bethenny Frankel. Neither woman has ever really captured our attention. Jill must have an upside, but she always struck us as extraordinarily boring so we unfollowed her on Twitter when we realized she spent most of her day tweeting about recent purchases and her never-ending squabbles with airlines. Bethenny seems like a colorful character, and we do like her husband Jason Hoppy, but we’re never going to buy her Skinny Girl Margarita and we do not need recipe tips. So for the most part, we have ignored both women because we are far more interested in other people (mostly those people who are not famous at all) that we’ve met online.
Now fast forward to Ilana Angel’s truly creepy post about Lynn Hudson and her blog I Hate Jill Zarin. What Ilana wrote in the Jewish Journal is truly disturbing. If even 1% of it is true, it is creepy beyond belief. If none of it is true, it is even creepier.
The post itself is so long, with so many links to external blogs, that it is impossible for us to comprehend it all without dozens of readings and hours of independent research that includes sifting through the comments sections of blogs that were written over a year ago. Even if we had the time to do this, we pray to God that we would refrain from it. First, it is a waste of time. And second, we believe that kind of research is dangerous because it requires us to engross ourselves in what looks like a cesspool of hatred and mean spirited ugliness.
We believe that if we were to spend the time sorting through the accusations, we’d discover one of three possibilities: 1) Lynn’s blog either began as, or involved into, a den of nasty hatred that is populated by an army of soldiers who will defend themselves and their leader regardless of what is right and what is true; 2) Ilana Angel is a dangerous person who will go to great lengths to attack someone who has done nothing wrong; or c) There is a little bit of truth in the above two possibilities. If there is a forth option, we do not know what it is. But we would love to know about it, if you see one, because we don’t like the three possibilities we came up with.
All we know for sure is that:
1. We found Lynn’s blog as a result of watching the Real Housewives of New York episodes when Jill Zarin spent a considerable amount of time complaining about a certain “hate blogger” in Chicago.
2. We looked up Lynn’s blog because we wanted to know if it was a “hate blog” or just the writings of someone who did not celebrate Jill’s mean girl antics.
3. When we found the blog, it didn’t seem like the nicest place on earth, but it also didn’t seem like a venue dedicated to ruining anyone’s, let alone Jill’s Zarin’s life.
4. We decided to start Priscilla from Wasilla because we like to write, are interested in blogging and have watched all of these Housewives shows from day one.
5. We promised ourselves when we started this blog that we would never, ever stoop to being snarky because we have no respect whatsoever for nastiness as a sport.
6. We noticed that Lynn seemed to celebrate snark as a valuable pastime, but we assumed what she means by snark is different from what we mean.
7. We began to listen to Carly Hall Presents, a blog talk radio show that’s hosted by Carly Hall and often features Lynn Hudson as a guest. And we came to believe that Lynn was not a nasty woman who was out to get Jill Zarin.
8. We wrote a blog post somewhere here on this blog stating that both Carly and Lynn are actually intelligent women who enjoy discussing Housewives. (Sorry we cannot find that link now).
9. We grew to really like Carly because she’s fun, smart and she’s willing to say she likes things and people that other Housewives fans detest. We admire that kind of courage to stand up for what you believe in, despite the fact that your position may be unpopular.
10. We even met with Michael Mazzella, who now writes for Lynn’s blog, and was in NYC during a recent stint as a secondary character on next season’s Real Housewives of New York.
11. Everything was fine up to this point. We made a few friends online, took an interest in helping Michael find a job in NYC. Life was good for this little microblog and the handful of people who read it, whom we simply adore.
Then the trouble started a few weeks ago, when we tuned into Carly Hall Presents and heard Lynn make a strange racist comment about Irish American people (check out the tape at the 3:40 mark). We’re pretty non-confrontational, but when it comes to racism we always speak up because we believe it is an outward expression of an inward evil and we’re going to pull off its mask every time we see it, regardless of whether the person who is expressing it is just ignorant and doesn’t know any better, or if they are filled with hatred and personify it.
So we called into the show to ask Lynn what she meant by saying how Irish-Americans get drunk at funerals and that for them “it’s all about drinking.” And she could not step on our words more quickly. She literally silenced us by interrupting what we were trying to say, before we could complete our thought. Rather than politely hear us out, she simply had to verbally barge into our words with her thought: that she is Irish-American and therefore she could not be perpetrating stereotypes about a group that she is a member of. Well, educated people know that nothing could be further from the truth. There are self-haters of every race, ethnicity and religion. And everyone with an education knows it.
And all of these groups are comprised of individuals who cannot be defined by racist generalizations. She continuously said “you’re kidding me; right?” (check out the tape at the 12:00 mark) And we continuously said we were not kidding her and tried to make our point, but eventually gave up because she simply would not allow us the courtesy of listening to what we were trying to say and instead Carly decided we were being “ironic.” No Carly, we were not being ironic. We were trying to ask a question but Lynn did not want to hear it.
That’s fine. Lynn does not owe us any courtesy. She can step on people’s words and close her mind if that is how she chooses to live her life. But then, moments after we hung up, “Mary,” one of Lynn’s minions literally sprinted over to this blog to blast us for having the audacity to question the great and all powerful Lynn Hudson. She said our “attack made me uncomfortable because it was unfounded.” Now keep in mind we never attacked Lynn. We simply tried to ask her a question that we could not fully express because Lynn stepped on our words. And granted we were upset when we called because racism of any kind does upset us every time, but Lynn’s self-appointed protector decided to characterize what little we said by writing, “let me just say that you sounded a little ape-shit yourself tonight on Carly Hall’s radio show. Seriously, are you that sensitive?”
We tried to forget Mary as soon as we read her post because Yes! we are that sensitive and we do not want to give a moment’s thought to someone who mocks sensitivity. But we mention it now because straight throughout Ilana Angel’s piece there are accounts of people who were shouted down or silenced by Lynn Hudson and those who read her blog and conduct a coffee klatch in the comments below each post. None of these conversations has ever interested us even slightly so we don’t pay much attention to them.
But when we read Ilana’s piece last night, we knew from first hand knowledge that at least some of what was written is true. Lynn does try to silence dissenting opinions. And Lynn’s readers do militantly confront people who do not agree with Lynn’s every word. And there is something very sick about that. And we believe that at least part of what is sick is revealed in Dr. Drew’s book The Mirror Effect.
We believe that Lynn and the women who read her blog may have started out lovingly pointing out when Jill Zarin did something hateful or outrageous when she was battling with Bethenny. But we believe they looked into the reflection of Jill’s narcissism and began to ape Jill’s worst traits. We believe many of them are now in full-blown narcissistic rage, as Dr. Drew warned. And we think they are literally mirroring the very behavior that they originally found so reprehensible in Jill.
And that makes us very sad. We feel for them and hope that somehow they can go back to being nice girls who enjoy watching a television show and discussing this with each other in a polite fashion.
We have been very reluctant to say any of this, though we’ve been aware of what has been happening over at LynnnChicago.com for some time. We do not want to be the object of Lynn’s ire or the target of her fanatical readers. We want to have a nice life and talk to nice people about the Housewives.
We are also aware that Lynn knows we’re no longer charmed by her schtick. We’ve alluded to this on our blog. And we’ve been sure to include links to Lynn’s site in these references because we are not trying to hide what we think, or trying to talk behind her back. We stand by what we say and we are okay with Lynn knowing we do not agree with everything she says.
And we know Lynn is aware of what we say because the moment you link to someone else’s website, that person who runs that site is alerted to the fact that you are referencing them. Lynn may deny she is aware of our links, but we know she is aware. And not coincidentally, she stopped following us on Twitter yesterday. We thought that was strange because Lynn always says she loves all readers, including those who do not agree with her. And we believed her. Until yesterday.
Why? Because when we realized Lynn was no longer following us, we discovered we weren’t following her either. (We have no idea how this happened.) So we refollowed her and let her know that somehow we both stopped following each other. She quickly wrote back that she had been having trouble with Twitter all day.
And then she wrote again to say that her computer says she is following us when we know she is not. And we are sure she must know this to because we know nothing more than anyone else does.
Before you begin to think that we care in the slightest whether Lynn Hudson is following us, rest assured we do not. Lynn doesn’t tweet much and most of what she does tweet are alerts that she’s posted a new blog entry. It is not like we were all having a conversation and now she will no longer be able to hear us. Lynn wasn’t listening to us to begin with. Her closing her ears to what we have to say has no effect on us at all.
The only reason we mention it is that we believe Lynn no longer wants to validate us and our blog with a follow because we have made it clear we are not her sycophants. And we believe she wants to punish us the easiest way she knows how with a meaningless “unfollow.” That’s fine. We’ll still follow her until she blocks us and then we’ll carry on with life as though we never heard her name or read her blog.
Now keep in mind, we do not believe that Lynn dismissing our comment on the radio or unfollowing us compares even slightly to what Ilana Angel alleges in her blog post about Lynn. Not even close. But there is a flavor of what we know to be true in much of what Ilana alleges in her Jewish Journal piece. And it is just strong enough that we believe at least 1% of what Ilana says is fact.
Also, please keep in mind that we do not think Lynn is a bad person. Far from it. We think she was a Housewives fan who can write, likes to blog and gained alot of attention and power because she was at the right place and the right time. And we believe Jill Zarin was just nutty enough to make her enemy a famous blogger by mentioning Lynn on-air so many times. More power to Lynn. Her success does not diminish ours. We wish her well and hope she is able to continue the blog now that Jill has become wholly irrelevant to Housewives fans. If Lynn doesn’t deal with Jill’s irrelevance skillfully by renaming her blog, she will turn into the blogger who is talking about Screech from Saved by the Bell 20 years after the show ended, as Carly hilariously predicted on her radio show a few weeks ago.
As for Ilana Angel, we have no idea what to make of her. She seems like she has her facts straight in that long blog post with all the external links. But we have no idea if what she is saying is true or false. What’s more we don’t know what to make of most of the comments that were posted beneath it. Some sound like they were written by Jill and her team. Others sound like they were written by Lynn’s army. But ultimately, we wonder why Ilana sounds so combative when she confronts Lynn on Twitter.
It makes us wonder if Ilana is enjoying the opportunity to confront Lynn as much as Lynn gained a position in life by confronting Jill. We have no way of knowing if this is true or not because we have not read Ilana’s blog as often as we have read Lynn’s. Ilana could simply be someone who has witnessed an injustice and cannot stand idly by. We are sure that was who Lynn was back when she started her blog. But we think she has since crossed the line herself.
We hope that never happens to us. And we hope both Lynn and Ilana find peace and protect themselves from being hurt by The Dark Side of Reality Television Blogging because all of this was supposed to be fun and we hope both ladies can return to making it that for themselves and all of their readers because both have interesting voices and I enjoyed both of their blogs.
A few side notes:
* We like Michael Mazzella. We like his writing and his unique perspective on the Housewives. We wish him nothing but enormous success in the future.
* We like Carly Hall’s radio show. Because it does not focus on the Real Housewives of Atlanta enough for our tastes, we’re going to start our own show about it. If you are interested in hearing it, please let us know and we’ll post a link to it.
* We are fully prepared for Lynn and/or her readers to lash out at us for writing what we have shared here. We have already seen what “Mary” would do given the slightest hint that we had not properly pledged allegiance to Lynn.
* The fact that the Lynn Hudson controversy is being played out on so many blogs is stone cold creepy. Reading item #3 on Stoopid Housewives is a case in point. We applaud SH for coming out of the woodwork. Your mentioning this story is true makes us think it is because we can see no reason that you would lie.
* We are very curious to read more about what Tamara Tattles has to say. Just as we think SH has no reason to misinform people, we do not think TT does either.
* Finally, we know we are going to lose readers and Twitter friends over this posting. While that may be momentarily disappointing, we can live with it because, in the long run, the truth is all that matters to us.
If you made it this far in reading this long post, thank you for hearing us out.
All the best,
The two nice girls who comprise Priscilla from Wasilla
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.