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May 19 2012

The Incidental Celebrity Catfight

Oh, it’s on. Accidental celebrity Bristol Palin attacked President Obama for his acceptance of marriage equality, and now accidental celebrity JWoww from Jersey Shore is criticizing her for it. And of course, she did it on Twitter, which is a perfect place for both twits:

Jenni ”JWoww” Farley has blasted Bristol Palin for her criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama’s stance on gay marriage.

After the 21-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin wrote a blog post about 50-year-old Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, JWoww blasted the politician’s child via twitter.

The 26-year-old ‘Jersey Shore’ star wrote: ”Bristol should keep her uneducated, ignorant mouth shut. If you’re living in the past you wouldn’t have a kid without marriage. Hypocrite. It’s 2012!

”My best friend will get married one day and not just have civil union with his man. Stop hating people.”

I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear what Snooki has to say about it. Actually, I’m annoyed that I even know who either of these people are. Why should I even know that Bristol Palin or JWoww exist? Neither has done anything to merit being known by anyone but their friends and family. And yet I know them. And so do you, most likely, even if you, like me, have never watched one second of Jersey Shore. Warhol was a prophet.

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  1. 1
    Brett McCoy

    I don’t even know who JWoww is. Probably best I don’t know.

  2. 2
    wholething

    If JWoww was in the new Three Stooges movie, then I know who she is.

  3. 3
    snafu

    I must confess that I had not heard of JWoww. I guess now I have. And the cycle of needless celebrity continues.

  4. 4
    tbp1

    Yep, I had no clue who JWoww was before this. Can’t put the genie back in the bottle, sadly.

    At least she’s on the right side of the issue.

  5. 5
    Larry

    The standards by which someone is declared to be a celebrity have become somewhat lax these days.

  6. 6
    Michael Heath

    I had no idea who JWoww was until reading this post and will look no further. I know who Snooki is because South Park did a cartoon character of her.

    I am beginning to realize I’m losing touch with huge swaths of the popular culture so similar to how previous generations aging demographics traditionally did. The difference now is that the media can and does cater not to America at large, but instead tk fragmented sub-populations. That’s especially true of us baby boomers though the silent generation has Fox News and AM talk radio – which the older portion of the baby boomers unfortunately also seem to enjoy as well. So if I choose to consume media, I can enjoy stuff different stuff than what the 18-34 demographic consumes, unlike previous oldsters who became even more cloistered.

  7. 7
    valhar2000

    Well, JWoww, whoever she might be, is right: Bristol Palin has no right to hit other people with conservative morality when she has had a child out of wedlock, and suffered no consequences for it other than making a lot more money than I’ll ever make on my job.

  8. 8
    Gretchen

    Okay, so I don’t really see anything wrong with JWoww’s tweet…her meaning is a little muddled, but that’s it (and it’s hard not get your meaning muddled in 140 characters). So why the bashing, now? Especially if you haven’t seen Jersey Shore?

    I wonder if there’s a term for pointlessly insulting women expected to be vapid and silly, akin to slut-shaming. Bimbo-blaming?

  9. 9
    Gretchen

    Also the term “catfight” needs to just die already. Take it out in a cold New England forest, make it dig its own grave, shoot it, and bury it.

  10. 10
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I agree with Gretchen. Farley said pretty much the same thing everyone on her side of the debate said in response to B. Palin. And they are arguing over a major political issue, so reducing it to “catfight”, as if they’re squabbling over who has the shinier shoes, seems gratuitously sexist.

  11. 11
    Nick Gotts

    Looks like you overestimmated JWoww’s fame, Ed. I’m another “never heard of her”. Oh, and another recommending you retire the term “catfight”.

  12. 12
    Doug Little

    Also the term “catfight” needs to just die already. Take it out in a cold New England forest, make it dig its own grave, shoot it, and bury it.

    No, No, you have to make it beg for it’s life then give it both barrels. “bitchslap” can do the burying unknowing that it’s gonna get the piano wire treatment on the way home and end up on the side of the Jersey turnpike.

  13. 13
    Gretchen

    That really made me laugh, Doug. :-)

  14. 14
    Ed Brayton

    Gretchen wrote:

    Okay, so I don’t really see anything wrong with JWoww’s tweet…her meaning is a little muddled, but that’s it (and it’s hard not get your meaning muddled in 140 characters). So why the bashing, now? Especially if you haven’t seen Jersey Shore?

    It isn’t that she’s wrong; she’s obviously right. But the bashing is really about the entire notion that anyone should give a shit, that this is actually reported as news.

    I wonder if there’s a term for pointlessly insulting women expected to be vapid and silly, akin to slut-shaming. Bimbo-blaming?

    The fact that JWoww is a woman is entirely irrelevant to my reaction. I would have thought and said exactly the same thing if it was The Situation. Or Prince Charles, for that matter (as I have said many times). Or anyone else who is an incidental celebrity, anyone who is well-known without having done anything to merit being well-known. That’s really what my comment is aimed at.

    As far as the term “catfight” is concerned, fair point. At the very least, it’s a cliche that I should have avoided, even leaving aside the latent sexism of the term.

  15. 15
    Gretchen

    Okay, well, I tweet all of the time about things I believe. If someday somehow I become an incidental celebrity, I will be sure to stop doing so lest I arouse the wrath of Ed for making him care against his will. :-)

  16. 16
    brandon

    Maybe she didn’t earn her fame, but at least she’s putting it to good use. Seems kind of weird to insult her for that.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    Gretchen writes:

    Okay, well, I tweet all of the time about things I believe. If someday somehow I become an incidental celebrity, I will be sure to stop doing so lest I arouse the wrath of Ed for making him care against his will.

    If you become a celebrity my bet will be on your having meritoriously earned it as opposed to being an incidental one.

    Gretchen writes:

    I don’t really see anything wrong with JWoww’s tweet…her meaning is a little muddled, but that’s it (and it’s hard not get your meaning muddled in 140 characters). So why the bashing, now? Especially if you haven’t seen Jersey Shore?

    I wonder if there’s a term for pointlessly insulting women expected to be vapid and silly, akin to slut-shaming. Bimbo-blaming?

    I’m biased against reality show characters. I’m fairly confident I would have reacted the same way if it was a guy named K-Bamm.

    They’ve kinda become the secular low I reserved in the 1970s for TV game show hosts, like the guy on the newlyweds show or Gene Rayburn, e.g., “My teacher was so short his ____ dragged on the ground.” “Low” in terms of hoping I’d never have to stoop to a job with less dignity. I perceive Jerry Springer as a transitional fossil between game and reality shows.

  18. 18
    Dr X

    I’ve heard the name JWow. I don’t know who JWow is and don’t intend to look it up. We don’t have cable, but for some reason, knowing who Snooki is, like knowing who The Situation is, has become almost unavoidable.

    While we’re getting rid of offensive terms like catfight, I’d like to see Guido go. I find it viscerally offensive and most of the Italians I know would find it offensive coming out the mouth of anyone but another Italian using it. And if we use it, it would be used privately between one another as derisive term to refer to another Italian who embarrasses us by playing to stereotype. That’s what I find offensive about the whole concept of the show Jersey Shore. I don’t like the idea of conveying to people that terms like this are fine with Italians, in the same way I think it’s a bad idea for black people to use the n-word to refer to each other in any kind of public setting where some jackass bigot gets to say, subsequently, that he should be allowed to use the n-word because black people use it. It isn’t the same, but I still don’t want to give bigots ammunition for using the word in order to enjoy a sense of white superiority.

  19. 19
    Gretchen

    Michael Heath said:

    If you become a celebrity my bet will be on your having meritoriously earned it as opposed to being an incidental one.

    I’m biased against reality show characters.

    Well, thanks. And we can both be glad that I didn’t make it onto The Real World.

  20. 20
    davem

    Add me to those who’ve no idea who JWoww is, but already I like her more than Bristol Palin.

  21. 21
    pipenta

    Read this and thought, gee, I don’t watch much TV and I don’t know who this person is, but why is what she is doing any different than what any number of FTB-ers are doing? Just glancing at your blog entry, it hadn’t quite dawned on me that it was sexist. But sadly, I’m afraid it is.

    JWoww has thrown herself into the public debate. She might, by virtue of her pop-culture celebrity, change more minds that a FTB writer. I’m hoping that is not the issue here.

    She is on the side of what is fair and reasonable. She is standing up against bigotry, against a culture and a system that supports bigotry.

    This is a historic time. The bigotry against and hatred of gay people was massive, still is in some circles. And yet we are watching a cultural paradigm shift happening as this hatred dissolves like a sandcastle when the tide comes up. Sure, there are still some big ugly lumps. We just need the tide to come up higher. JWoww is one of those waves. We need ALL the waves we can get. We need to be the ocean man! Don’t damn her, CHEER HER!

    We are a minority. There are more believers than atheists. Letting go of sexism is not an option if you actually want this movement to succeed. You need to drop that shit for two reasons: We need every body we can get to reach critical mass. Also, it undermines our message if we tolerate, let alone promote, sexism. That is what religions do, not us. This is why Dawkin’s nasty brainfart about the elevator incident was so damaging. I admire Dawkins very much. He is a hero of mine. But I will criticize him because, again, when reason is your banner, you cannot afford sacred cows. He screwed up big time on that one. And when women atheists stood up against that, the backlash against them was an ugly little moment in the otherwise bright history of our movement.

    But you know what? We are not going to stand for it. That’s the thing about having a movement centered around reason. You don’t get to wave it around if you don’t use it.

    So brainfarts happen. Even Dawkins has them. Don’t feel too bad. But don’t waste a lot of energy and time and goodwill into shoring up arguments to defend a blunder. That was what made the Dawkins/Watkins incident so pathetic. If he had simply smacked his forehead and said, “Gah, I didn’t think that through. Sorry.” that would have been the end of it. But instead he hunkered down and his minions attacked and it was all very disheartening, even as it terribly informative.

    With the advantage of hindsight, it is easier to do better now, is it not?

    In my vision of atheist values and atheist culture, we drop absurd beliefs that cannot be supported with reality, and that means we examine ourselves, own up to our bigotries and misconceptions and drop them. And then we stand shoulder to shoulder.

    I’m thinking you owe Ms. JWwow an apology, probably via twitter.

  22. 22
    leni

    I know who JWow is and didn’t like her much.

    Until now.

    I wish more celebrities would pile on. Not that their opinion counts any more than any else’s, but I’m for the public shaming of bigots.

  1. 23
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