I saw an upsetting headline recently that said, “Burt Reynolds Causes a Stir at Today Show with Comment About Hoda Kotb’s Lips.” I wasn’t upset because Hoda’s lips are small or large. I was upset because they interviewed Reynolds, 82, about his “legendary career and lifetime of achievement” and the headline focused on Hoda’s lips … or lack of them.
What’s become of the media? What’s become of our lips? Fake news, fake lips. It’s a plague.
As People Magazine reported, “Reynolds then ended the interview bizarrely, telling Kotb that he was ‘so proud of you for not having your lips larger.’ ‘OK, Burt,’ she responded, appearing uncomfortable.”
We all know fake lips are the scourge of the entertainment industry. Owners of allegedly enlarged lips include Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Meg Ryan, Kim Kardashian, and Alec Baldwin in his role as Donald Trump. I can’t tell fake lips from real lips. I just assume that everything in Hollywood is fake.
If I were Hoda, I’d be nursing resentment right now. She dealt with it gracefully, but gossip columnists and Twitter trolls had a field day because of Burt’s comment, which raises several questions. Should Hoda get her lips done? Should Burt stop giving interviews? Should Matt Lauer get his lips done? But most importantly, should Hoda hold a grudge against Burt like, say, the grudge Matt held against Ann Curry?
All this hubbub reminded me of that other NBC firestorm when Megyn Kelly, 47, interviewed Jane Fonda, 80, and questioned Jane about her plastic surgery. That insult escalated into a national feud worse than the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton smackdown, and eventually Megyn denounced Jane on national TV, which made a lot of Vietnam veterans happy.
What’s the celebrity world coming to? Nothing is sacred anymore, not even implants and cosmetic surgery. Forget about North Korea and China, because butt implants and celebrity feuds are the issues that preoccupy Americans like me.
I’ve lost count of them. Katy Perry versus Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift versus Kanye West. Kanye West versus Jay-Z. Kim Cattrall versus Sarah Jessica Parker. The celebrity world and Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump. It’s time for some kumbaya time.
What I find amazing is these people could be my relatives … well, maybe not Stormy Daniels. The grudges and insults I see in the gossip pages and on Twitter are like the grudges and insults I see in my family. (Shouldn’t the alien race of Hollywoodians be held to a higher standard?)
We mere mortals also love to snipe at each other. I come from a long line of grudge holders. I married into a family of grudge holders. I helped create a family of grudge holders, so I speak from experience when I say that grudges are time-consuming, emotionally draining and very bad for for your cardiovascular health. Nevertheless, we cling to them for dear life … at least until they put us in the grave or urn, depending upon your preference.
Some grudges are legendary, they’re family tradition, they’re Hollywood traditions, like Joan Crawford versus Bette Davis. Sue doesn’t want to be around Chuck since he broke up with her friend Daphne. Joanna hasn’t talked to Bernice for years because of … an inheritance, a betrayal, a rejection, an insult? No one remembers. Someone didn’t get invited to a party, someone spread a rumor, someone got drunk, someone got obnoxious, someone was too political, someone voted for Donald Trump, someone voted for Hillary Clinton, someone didn’t give a gift, someone cheated. And so on.
Yes, there are many causes and they generally revolve around personality differences, political differences, income differences, insults, jealousy, cheating, and lying. The venerable institution of marriage can also be a breeding ground for grudges unless you learn to forgive.
Forgiveness, however, is hard for many of us because we prefer to behave like Megyn and Jane and escalate our resentments.
The problem is that people who hold grudges will never be truly happy. You may think nursing a resentment gives you a justification to be angry, but it’s emotional cancer. As they say in 12-Step programs, “Live and let live.” And “Let it go.”
One more thing. Stay away from the Today Show and don’t have your lips enhanced … especially if Burt Reynolds is around.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.