Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mackenzie Phillips, please go away

The headlines began quite ominously earlier this week. Mackenzie Phillips, the star crossed child actress whose ongoing battles with drug addiction have scarred her career and her life for the better part of the last three decades, was scheduled to appear on Oprah Winfrey's show this Wednesday. She was going to drop a bombshell.

Pause for dramatic-sounding music from your favorite entertainment "journalism" program. There, I'm good. Let's continue.

If my deep and extensive research is on target, her big bombshell revolves around allegations that her late father, John Phillips (aka Papa John) of The Mamas and the Papas, raped her on the eve of her wedding, and later carried on an ongoing sexual relationship with her.

Pause. Ew. There, I'm good. Well, not really, but the initial wave of nausea has passed. So let's continue.

I wasn't there, of course, so I can't validate or dispute her claims. Coincidentally, neither can Papa John, who died in 2001. But I can conclude that this is an integral component of a perfectly orchestrated plan to sell more copies of her book, High on Arrival. Also coincidentally, the book is being released...tomorrow.

It's almost as if the great big daytime media machine needs an endless supply of sad sacks to keep the masses titillated and primed to buy whatever it is that keeps the machine oiled and fed. Wait, not almost. It is.

I find myself wishing Ms. Phillips would fade into an obscurity that allows her to finally heal. But even if she mercifully does just that, there's a never-ending lineup of celebs waiting to take her place.

Your turn:
What compels people to bare all in public? What compels regular folks to lap it all up like bees consume nectar?


barbie2be said...

so, the other day i was at my shirnk's office. and we were talking about how he thinks i could be the next mrs. fields or famous amos and i told him that i wouldn't want that because i would hate having people comb through my life to try and find the dirt. i have a hard enough time sharing the dirt with him, i sure wouldn't ever intentionally share it with the world.

Anonymous said...

It just seems to me that so many stars all of a sudden remember crap like this to put in a book to make a few more bucks. Keep your business to yourself. I love celebrity gossip but not this kind of stuff. I agree with you Carmi...Go away Mackenzie

Mojo said...

Gah. I never liked that show all that much anyway. And her on-screen sister has done so much better for herself, yeah? Last I heard she was pimping Jenny Craig. Oh well, at least she's still got some kind of following.

One of the more ... entertaining? aspects of my bi-monthly trips to the blood bank is the wall-mounted flat screens that spew forth the latest Hollywood gossip via the very kind of bomb-dropping tabloid programs you're talking about. And being quite literally tied to the recliner (okay, taped to it) with no access to the remote, I'm a captive audience for the duration (fortunately I'm what you'd call a speed-bleeder). But once every 8 weeks I get to catch up on who's doing what to whom or had it done or gone to rehab for it or ... It used to be the topic of blog posts the next day. Until I realized I was only helping to propagate the problem. Actually I probably just realized that I just didn't care that Kelly McGillis's "shocking secret" is that she's a lesbian. I'm supposed to be stunned by this. I'm not. It's not like I saw it coming or anything, I just don't see Ms. McGillis's sexual orientation as any of my business. Or anyone else's other than hers for that matter.

That said, if Mackenzie Phillips' allegations are true -- which I obviously can't confirm or deny either -- her bringing them to light isn't an altogether bad thing -- if it's done for the right reasons. Spend as much time around Violence UnSilenced as I do and you learn that when it comes to things like domestic violence and sexual assault, breaking the silence is a key to breaking the cycle. In this case, however, the timing suggests that the story was more about selling a book than any kind of catharsis or desire to help others in the same circumstances. Still, if her book makes it possible for someone else to confront their own past (or present) and heal, then I can't really condemn her for it simply because she's a public figure.

I guess I just have a problem with her credibility. And that's sad, because that's an all-too-common problem for victims of this kind of violence.

But I still don't care if the dress Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the 2008 MTV Movie Awards was worn by someone else before her. I just don't.

kenju said...

I saw that show today. Confession may be good for the soul, but I doubt it has to be done on national TV with thousands of people watching. To admit that this happened during the ages of 18 to 29 is unthinkable (to admit and to have done it).

Anonymous said...

Sure, Mackenzie could be just trying to sell her book. She also could be trying to put a face on something that happens more than people would like to admit. She could be a voice for an issue that no one talks about. If she's true, her message will resonate. If she's false, she'll fade away. Judging her or others like her isn't the answer. Understanding and helping those who've been through it is. Judging by saying "she was old enough to know better" doesn't take into account addiction and people's need for love and attention, which if you've never struggled with, you have no idea how that can twist your mind. The mind does crazy things sometimes. Kathryn Harrison wrote a disturbing yet beautiful book, "The Kiss," about a similar subject. It was a true story and, though disturbing, an important one. Things like this happen, unfortunately, to girls and boys all the time, more than you would think. Healing should be the goal for all -- and everyone has something to heal. If you judge those who are brave enough to share, chances are you're uncomfortable for their own reasons. If people had helped these girls instead of judging, ignoring or attacking, they might not have ended up in the situations they did. And if nothing like this ever happened to you, thank goodness and send love to those who are struggling.