I know that compared to western Europeans Americans are generally less concerned with privacy, and celebrities–regardless of what they’re famous for– are fair game, but the whole Courtney Stodden affair seems a really good case for at least protecting children’s privacy somehow, if only to protect children from themselves if they don’t have parents who look out for their best interests.
For you Dutchies, Courtney Stodden is a seventeen-year-old girl who got married at age sixteen to a 51-year-old actor. She dresses and behaves like an adult porn star and her vacuous talk is the butt of jokes. That the tabloids and lesser “news” programs are all over her is no suprise, but Anderson Cooper, a well-respected CNN reporter has wholeheartedly taken his place at the trough, which really disappoints me.
A while ago I posted an imaginary conversation with Glenn Beck. But the following is an email that I actually just sent to “Anderson Cooper 360”. Just thought I’d share it here as well.
Anderson, I really like your reporting and the Ridiculist at the end of Anderson Cooper 360 is often very funny. However, the way you’ve been picking on Courtney Stodden is becoming increasingly painful to watch.
I know she’s showing some extremely bizarre behavior, but keep in mind that she is seventeen years old. She’s a kid. Most kids her age are still being told to go clean their rooms, and their parents try to protect them from exposing too much of themselves on Facebook. Clearly this kid’s parents don’t feel the natural urge to protect their little girl from the big bad world, but does that mean that it’s okay to watch her every misguided move?
To point out the ridiculous behavior of adults who seek the spotlight for whatever reason is one thing, Anderson, but this kid doesn’t know what she’s doing. She may dress like an adult and play house like she thinks adults do, but right now she’s really nothing more than the product of her upbringing, and I’d hate to think what or who made her believe that her best option is to act out a continuous pornographic movie. She’s socially and emotionally messed up and that’s mainly sad. Just because she doesn’t see herself as a kid or a victim doesn’t mean she’s not and that she’s therefore fair game.
The less scrupulous media are egging her on, waiting to see what she’ll do next, and I admit, her behavior is fascinating in the same way that certain horrific things can be hard not to watch. But it appeals to the ugly side of human nature to give in to it and I expected better of you, Anderson. Your responses to this misguided kid on the Ridiculist, not once but over and over again, show a side of you that I’d rather not know about. You wouldn’t make fun on public television of some poor homeless schizophrenic person ranting on the sidewalk, would you? No, you wouldn’t, because that would be bullying. So please stick to making fun of someone your own size. After all, it’s not like there’s a shortage of adult public figures who do and say stupid stuff.