I just don’t have time for the drama; or, live and let live


I worked for a chain of small-town community newspapers for over ten years. During that time, I was accused of lots of things, including actual criminal activity, none of which I was guilty of. Of course, that didn’t keep certain people from speculating, in spite of the dearth of evidence. I guess it makes for an entertaining hobby.

For example, I was said to be taking bribes from the mayor. Really? Did they bother to take a good look at the very used car I drove? The lack of designer labels in the closet? My humble abode of a manufactured home? If the big bucks had been rolling in, surely there would have been some outward signs my lifestyle had improved . . . but nope, still just scraping by. Those reporters in movies that have great apartments and drive sexy sports cars? I don’t think they really exist.

I was also informed that if I were a “real” reporter, I’d go to the Wal-Mart home office a few states over and see just what kind of deal with the devil our mayor had made . . . somehow, certain people were under the delusion we had the expense account of the New York Times, when the reality was we barely got enough for gas money to the south end of the county. Somebody had been watching too much television, methinks.

I had a nasty little troll stalking me at our website, alternately berating me for my lack of writing talent and journalistic integrity, and wanting me to bear his children. Geez Louise, if I was that much of a no-talent amoral hack, why would he want me to birth his babies? I liked it better when he just hated me, you know? It didn’t make my skin crawl quite so much.

It didn’t help when our managing editor, who battled the extreme pain of Crohn’s Disease and found a certain herbal remedy helpful, was, along with her boyfriend, arrested for possession and intention to distribute marijuana. The next thing you knew, word on the street was our entire staff was running a major drug operation inside our newspaper offices and selling the stuff at our back door. People were afraid to let their children come inside our door for fear they’d be tainted in our presence.

We had to laugh. Oh, and by the way–the story of the arrest DID run in our paper, contrary to what some smugly expected, and on the front page. Needless to say, that editor was out the door, with the sportswriter and I basically running the paper until we could get a replacement.

Having a certain degree of celebrity, even a very, very small amount as I did, can bring you unwanted attention and “fans” you would be happy to not have.

There was the prisoner whose cellmate subscribed to our paper (a hometown boy, it seems). He decided to write me a nice long letter which I had to stop reading because it was making me blush. There were things he wanted to do with/to me, you see. My husband wasn’t too thrilled with it either. I gave thanks my prisoner fan wasn’t, apparently, a violent offender (he’d been sent to prison on a drunk driving conviction).

Don’t get me wrong. For the most part, readers were kind and complimentary (and not incarcerated). They appreciated the effort I put into covering a variety of events all over the county, the late nights I put in and the research I did on stories. They loved my weekly columns, in which I often wrote about universal themes of family, friendship, loss and love, and what it is like growing up in the south.

But there were those who, for whatever reason, were unhappy with me. My fellow reporters had to endure the same thing. I suppose it goes with the territory. You definitely have to develop a thicker skin and a sense of humor about it all.

When your profile rises, as RA’s profile has over the last couple of years, it seems
the trolls sharpen their axes and the less-than-desirable fans start ramping up their efforts. The crazies come out; the gossip and innuendo and speculation kick into overdrive.

We shouldn’t forget that actors, just like underpaid newspaper reporters, are still human beings. I say let ’em do their jobs, live their lives and give them as little grief as possible. You know, the old “treat others the way you would want to be treated” axiom.

Or am I asking too much?

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

16 responses »

  1. No, I don’t think you’re asking too much. I don’t understand why some “fans” think that RA “owes” it to the public to share his private life with them as if it were his moral duty or something.. As far as I am concerned, his duty is to turn up at the theatre on time every evening and deliver a performance to the best of his ability. Which he has been doing (and even more -see “stage dooring” for 1.5 months now.. In the rain, after a trip to NYC.. on matinee days after 2 performances..). What he does in his time off is none of our concern. I read a book about Michael Gambon (well it’s a compilation of interviews, entitled A Life in Acting, very interesting!),and the reporter asked him about his private life and Michael just could not understand why people were interested in that,and said “They should get a life!”…

    • I guess largely due to my own personal experiences and feeling bewildered over why people would say and do some of the things they have—in one case, actually causing me to lose a paying gig—I don’t find any pleasure anymore in visiting celeb sites and reading gossip. I know it can hurt people. And I know human nature seems to make us love building someone up and glorifying them and then tearing them down, but I don’t want to play that game, I simply don’t.

      I blame so-called celebrities like the Kardashians for some of this—my gosh, these people will take selfies half (or completely) naked and post them and announce how often they have sex. I am surprised they don’t keep us informed every time they take a dump. There are people who are fame whores, plain and simple. And then there are legit, hard-working professionals like Richard and Lee and Michael and others for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration. As you say, they don’t owe us anything except to show up for work and give their best to a role. And it seems to me RA goes above and beyond in so many ways.

      • The Kardashians are just the biggest whales in that particularly Seaworld. Every single person in the world is now entitled to have a reality show, and celebrities are seemingly obligated to have one which chronicles their every burp and snore. (The most disgusting I can recall was the part of an episode of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s reality show that I made myself watch).
        And on the same note, I saw a TMZ cameraman (please don’t judge me for that) ask someone about rumours about JayZ and Beyonce. The guy being interviewed basically said that it was Jay and Bey’s own fault for not sharing even more of their private lives, that celebrities had to ‘give a little’ or face rumors and accusations that their relationships are ‘corporate’.

        • Yep, everyone from unmarried teenage moms to tow truck drivers and pawn shop owners have their own shows these days, along with various C and D-list celebs. And I think it does odd things to their heads sometimes. Oh, I remember that Whitney and Bobby trainwreck. I used to read the TMZ site regularly along with Perez Hilton, so no worries; I just got tired of it all, I guess.

          I do get Us Weekly email updates because I find their headlines so effin’ hilarious (80 percent of them involve a Kardashian, of course. I swear, they are on their payroll ) Somehow I think you have to find balance as a “public person” as far as what you choose to reveal and what you choose to keep private; if I were a celebrity with young children, for example, I would not be using them as a photo op every time I turned around. That just doesn’t seem right to me. And as I said, I do think you have to have a thick skin, a good sense of humor and an ability to roll with the punches. Which I think both Lee and Richard have.

          • US Weekly and People seem to have a running battle. They cover the same stories with opposite headlines: “Brad and Angelina split up” vs. “Brad and Angie set a wedding date” in the same week! It’s farcical.

            I’m not sure about the thickness of RA’s skin (certain things still suggest ‘not very’) but he seemed to be able to roll with the punches after the big photo debacle of January because he seemed quite chipper.
            Frankly, it seemed Lee may have been more upset about those, but then it was his very young nieces and nephews who were in the photos. There are also tons of other earlier family photos that were stolen by the same folks, but they weren’t likely to excite shippers, so no one heard about them. Frankly, most of those were a lot more more disturbing to me: photos with the babysitter, photos in his parents’ kitchen, really private family stuff).

            • Farcical is the word! Re the earlier family photos with Lee and Richard, even with the faces of the youngsters blurred out, I was not comfortable sharing any of those photos that surfaced. It really felt like a terrible invasion of privacy to me. Just my opinion. I think Richard is learning to deal with all the idiocy that comes with having a higher profile; not saying he doesn’t get angry or irritated or a bit hurt by it at times, but he has made it pretty clear he’s going to do what he wants to do and not worry whether or not all the fans agree with his choices all the time. Good for him.

              • I’ll have hope when rumors spread by so-called fans using manipped photos don’t get picked up as ‘news’, when ‘Duck Dynasty’ is cancelled and doesn’t get front covers of magazines, when Kanye’s fans realize what an egomaniac he is and desert him, when the Kardashians are forced to take honest work, and a list too long to mention.

    • I’m with you, Judit. On the other hand, we may be expecting too much of a certain element that can’t seem to do anything except pry into others’ lives, spread untruths, and say nasty things. It is none of their business, but in their deluded minds, they think they are somehow entitled to be vicious.

  2. Goodness Angie, you have had to run the gauntlet in your newspaper persona! As you’re not a spiteful or viscious -minded person there seem to be plenty out there who want to turn theirs in on you, you come across as a genuinely nice human being …(and great fun as well!) and your husband looks adorable! So don’t let any of that rubbish you’ve experienced change you. You have made so many people laugh and smile and given freely of your efforts and time. We really appreciate you. In the thousands of fan letters Richard gets, I bet there are a whole load of wierd or nasty ones.. maybe that’s why he can’t always bring himself to look at his post! But most people, thank God are fairly normal. And Richard gives every ounce of himself on stage. That’s why in an effort to give something he wants back to him, I’ve signed the petition to support his cause of bringing Richard the third into film being so that the big backers will know there’s an audience out there for him. It’s called ‘Richard Armitage for Richard 111’ Best wishes!

    • Yes, people think nothing goes on in sleepy little towns–ha! Never a dull moment . . . I try to be a good person, although I don’t always live up to my goals. And yes, I am certain RA has gotten some weird letters and even stranger gifts along the way. I think someone send him underwear with his own photo on it . . . men’s underwear. ?? That had him scratching his head, I suspect! He’s such a dear fellow and he’s appreciated by many reasonably sane people. 😉

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