Where the Bitches at?

[Warning: Hyperion was not in his "happy place" when he wrote this, so some people might be offended. Caveat Lector.]



The Hyperion Chronicles
"An angry boil on the American Ass of Ignorance"



#478 Where the Bitches at?



If you had to sleep with Ellen DeGeneres, Ann Coulter or Nancy Pelosi, whom would you choose?

Don't answer that yet.

Actually, don't ever answer that.


I don't want to be writing a story about Ellen DeGeneres. I really don't. I used to kinda like her. I thought her sitcom was okay, the kind of show you wouldn't mind watching three minutes of while you're waiting for your own show to come back on the air. (How can you top the unintentional comedy of the mullets and Ellen's hetero dating?) I always suspected that the move from hokey charm to flag-planting (or is that pflag-planting?), and more importantly, a total lack of funny was someone else's agenda-driven hijacking.

I liked Ellen in ED TV, and especially as Dory in FINDING NEMO. I enjoyed her comedy specials, found her decent at the Oscars, and while don't watch daytime talk shows, if I were going to watch one, I always said it would be hers.

But no longer.

As I'm sure most of you know; Ellen DeGeneres is in the news this week. Most of you have heard at least part of the story, but a brief recap:

Ellen DeGeneres and girlfriend Portia de Rossi adopted a 2-year-old dog through Mutts & Moms (a non-profit animal rescue group). When doing so they signed a contract stating if the adoption didn't work out the dog would be returned to the organization.

When it didn't, Ellen did return the dog and adopted another younger dog named Iggy. When that adoption also didn't take, Ellen gave the dog to her hair stylist. This broke the contract Ellen had with Mutts & Moms, and when the group found out the dog had been given away, they had the animal removed from the stylist's home and given to another family.

Two days ago, Ellen spoke about this on her talk show, breaking down in tears as she asked the group to return the dog to her stylist.

A day later, she repeated her request, a bit less teary, and angrier. She demanded the dog be returned to the family she chose.

The important thing to remember is that when Ellen adopted the dogs she signed contracts. On her show, she dismissed this: "I signed a piece of paper," but that is hogwash. Ellen is worth sixty-five million dollars, paid from contracts she signed. Were those just "pieces of paper" too?

The second thing that crops up is Mutts & Moms' rules. (Another rule Ellen violated is that they do not allow small dogs to go to homes with children under 14, and the hair stylist has an 11 and 12 year old.) As a bystander, the rules do seem overly stringent, but obviously, they are there for a reason. Anyone who runs a non-profit organization finding animals homes clearly cares about the pets' well-being, and the last thing you want is a family who gets tired of the pet and just gives them to anyone. (Especially someone who rejected not one but two puppies. We should trust her judgment?) Additionally, the child rule makes sense because likely these animals come from abused situations and need to be treated a certain way, or experience where kids can be too hard on small dogs. (I'm not advocating the rules, but one can make a case for why the rules were there without thinking too hard.)

So the two adoptions didn't take. (Supposedly, the dogs couldn't get along with Ellen and Portia's three cats.) It might be tempting to say it's just another case of a celebrity running hot/cold and not taking responsibility seriously, but whatever. (I wouldn't want to live with five pussy lovers ether.)

So Ellen didn't follow the contract. Is that such a big deal? Yes. When you sign, you agree to the terms you are signing. As we covered, Mutts & More had their reasons, whatever we might think of them. We can infer that Ellen knew of the contract, when she brought the first dog back. What she should have done was talk to the group and see if it would be okay to give the second dog to her stylist. Either she'd learn why they had those rules, or (almost certainly) they'd have worked something out.

Even when she broke the terms of her contract and gave the dog to someone else, this was so fixable. All she had to do was talk to the people behind the scenes. Do you think they wouldn't have worked something out for Ellen DeGeneres? Made an exception for a TV star and noted animal lover? Ellen could have had the group on her show, talked about abused pets and how they need love, and people would have been lined up to adopt.

But that didn't happen.

What Ellen did next forces me to look at the whole situation differently. Where I once wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt that—not one, but two—adoptions didn't work, and then she just didn't know the rules and it was a misunderstanding, now I'm wondering. For what Ellen did was take it all public. She used the power of her bully pulpit, her show, her celebrity. Worse than that, she broke down and cried. Ellen! The woman everyone loves. All she wanted was the dog back. Why couldn't they do just that?

(Ironically, her argument was that the dog had bonded with the stylist's family. By now, the dog has been given to another family, seeming to cut Ellen's argument about taking a dog away from someone that loves it down a peg. The difference? C'mon, you know better. Ellen didn't give that other family the dog.)

I refuse to grant Ellen a pass on going public. It was unconscionably stupid, and smacks of typical Hollywoodism, celebrities throwing their weight around. Predictably, things escalated. By yesterday, the woman who runs Mutts & More had received arson death threats. It also came out that Ellen's publicist had left a threatening voice mail, promising lawsuits and to ruin the organization in the press if Ellen didn't get what she wanted. But let's get back to the first item.

Death threats.

Over Ellen's words.

Whether she meant to or not, arson and death threats came from Ellen's actions on her show. She should have known. It was her obligation to de-escalate, to come out and say, "Whoa, this is me. I screwed up. Those rules are there for a reason, and I didn't mean to walk all over them." Instead, she demanded the dog be reunited with her stylist. She hit the media. As she told Ryan Seacrest, I gave them the dog."

That's what this is all about, people. Losing face. Having everyone fawn all over you and do whatever you tell them because you're famous. Having people bend or break their rules for you, and backing down quietly when you complain. Celebrities live in a world where they don't hear no, and God help you if you are the one to tell them.

Look. I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I wrote some good things about Ellen up above, and even if she's had people fooled in some ways, I'm sure she cares about animals. What makes this story so distressing is that it's such a Rosie move. You can totally see Rosie pulling a stunt like this. Except, Rosie wouldn't have cried. She would have invited Mutts & Moms on to the show and them ambushed them with fake kennel footage or something. I don't think you can host a daily talk show and be that much of a fraud. At least some of your personality comes out. And it's wrong to take one incident and make it worth more than the goodwill Ellen has earned up to now for at least seeming to be a decent girl.

That said, it was a horrible decision to take this public, to attempt to shame the group into returning the dog to whom she wanted. People have had pets taken away before, and they got over it. (I think one thing we have all learned is that clearly people in the pet adoption industry—both the consumers and the purveyors—have strong emotions that cause them to act in ways they would not normally.)

The first show could even be forgiven if not for the second. You don't go back on and demand the decision be reversed. Not after death threats that you yourself are indirectly responsible for.

Here's hoping Ellen DeGeneres really is the decent sort and can work this out without more hysterics, can apologize for her own culpability in causing the original action, and then escalating it waaaay out of proportion. She does that and I'll still watch FINDING NEMO 2.

Otherwise, you might as well throw her in with the rest of them that disgust us so much.


After this, I don't have the energy today to write about the other member of the Triumvirate: Ann Coulter and Nancy Pelosi. I'll cover them tomorrow, when we get to the genocide portion of the program. Until then, I remain….


Hyperion
October 18, 2007

3 comments:

Koz said...

I totally agree with you that Ellen was wrong, and she shouldn't get special treatment just because she's Ellen. She went about it definitely the wrong way.

But I also think the shelter is being a little obtuse, even though they were treated wrong. ITS A FUCKING DOG - who cares? Give it to the hairdresser and forget about it.

Although, now it's too late, if she was going to give it to the hairdresser the time has now passed. Selah

Sea Hag said...

Why do I have the feeling that you wrote this entire thing so you could use the phrase '5 pussy lovers?'

I can respect for for admitting that she did something wrong, but her demanding anything for a group who has dedicated themselves to rescuing dogs is pretty nasty, especially since they are doing what they do for the good of the dog, and Ellen is doing it because her hairstylist is unhappy. There are other dogs in the world, hon. Buy your hairstylist another one. I'm glad this organization didn't back down from their own (perfectly understandable) rules.

Sparky Duck said...

First off let me say, Ellen was wrong and the whole going to through the media thing was ludicrous.

Death Threats, a bad thing for sure.

However, the animal rescue people fumbled this a bit themselves. They could have held the dog and did an inspection on the new family. And as someone who has 2 cats from a rescue agency, I can say that alot of these rescue people have there own form of a god complex. Too many hoops to get through to get the cats you fall in love with at first sight. Trust me, my cats don't shit gold.