MONDAY’S LETTERS: Matt Damon and Iraq, Judith Regan’s Firing

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By: E&P Staff

In todays letters, a Copley columnist responds to the firing of publishing guru Judith Regan, and readers react to Matt Damon’s thoughts on the Iraq war.


Actor Matt Damon Jumps Into Iraq Debate

Perhaps Mr. Damon needs to meet my kinfolk in the military. Two of them already have college degrees, and the third is about a year away. I doubt any of them would welcome someone with Mr. Damon’s intellect into their units, even if he could manage the physical, which is highly unlikely.

Mary McLemore
Pike Road, Ala.

Mr. Damon may yet get his wish. If Hillary is elected President, she has indicated that if another draft is imposed, she will see to it that females are drafted equally with the men.

C. M. Rupert
North Huntingdon, Pa.


On News Corp’s Firing of Judith Regan

I didn’t know that Judith Regan’s company ReganMedia produced the A&E TV show “Growing Up Gotti.” I found out when I was reading in the Sun., Dec. 17 online edition of the Los Angeles Times about her swift Dec. 15 firing from parent company HarperCollins after her involvement in the embarrassing O.J. Simpson “If I Did It” canceled book and TV special, upcoming publication of a salacious fictional “reimagining” of baseball legend Mickey Mantle’s life and alleged blow-up on the phone at a company lawyer hours before her unexpected firing notice was faxed to her.

But I had been thinking of “Growing Up Gotti” on Dec. 16, just the day before I read about Regan. That’s because, in between writing my own columns and books, I was couch potato-like on the sofa watching a marathon of this season’s TLC reality TV show “Little People, Big World,” about an Oregon family that includes a mix of both little and average-sized members. Two of the four children of little people Matt and Amy Roloff, in fact, are 16-year-old twins Zach and Jeremy. Feisty Zach is a little person with myriad genetic health problems and a mean soccer kick and his twin Jeremy, who boasts an angelic face straight out of teen magazine and an even meaner soccer kick, is tall. The other two cheery, lovingly rambunctious younger kids are also average height.

Unlike shows on channels like Discovery Health (where repeats of “Little People, Big World” sometimes air), such as “Half Ton Man,” “I Am My Own Twin” and “My Skin Can Kill Me,” this season and last I didn’t watch “Little People, Big World,” produced by reality show pro Gay Rosenthal, as a voyeur or even to learn how little people tough it out in a world designed for those much taller. From the first episode I was hooked because of the incredibly wise way these two working parents treated all their kids with respect and got the same back in spades. Firm when needed, softies often, Amy and Matt spew caring, loving advice at every turn while facing economic and personal challenges of their own. The kids (who, incidentally, are anything but perfect) seem to flourish in such an atmosphere, all while cavorting around the family’s huge rolling farm.

As I watched this marathon, I thought of “Growing Up Gotti,” of which I had seen about 10 episodes when it first aired and I thought of the November arrest of Frank Agnello, the 16-year-old Gotti grandson who, like his two brothers had become a TV heart throb, on charges of allegedly possessing OxyContin painkillers, morphine and marijuana after failing to heed a stop sign while driving. On the show, single mom Victoria Gotti, daughter of the famed alleged mafia boss, complains about her sons and they complain about her. Many profanities are bleeped. Threats are often issued. The times I watched it I often wondered how it got on the air because it seemed there was often not one word of redeeming value on the show. It struck me this weekend how this was in such stark contrast to a seemingly similar “growing up” reality show like “Little People, Big World,” with its heartfelt family hug fests, as well as crusading spirit week after week, like when patriarch Matt, after years of similar involvements, starts a major national nonprofit organization that will fight for the rights of little people. When I read that it was Judith Regan’s company that had been behind “Growing Up Gotti,” it all made a little more sense to me. Although it would never cause the unprecedented national uproar that her planned publication or TV special of O.J. Simpson’s fictional “confession” did, or that her upcoming publication of a tawdry fictional “reimagining” of a baseball legend’s life is currently creating, “Growing Up Gotti,” and other programming like it, just adds that much more sludge to a highly polluted media river already almost spilling over its banks.

Lisa Messinger
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

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