Being on TV: It’s Essentially “You Ain’t Sh**, Rarely in LessThan 500 Words”
Since The Show began, I’ve done a running weekly commentary on Facebook about my experiences being… more recognized. It’s a series of status updates unofficially called, “Demetria’s on TV and Things Are Getting Interesting.” We’ve covered the many ups and many, many downs of this new terrain that few people talk about, because if they did, I actually would have fully known what I was getting into.
Anyway, something happened yesterday to a friend that made me think this update was worth talking about.
My friend, a popular journalist and author, was called a “coon” on social media Monday. She did a FB update about it and quipped that she’d made it big. I joked something like, “Wait till you get the C-B-C combo. You’re practically A-List.”
Later, after I read several other comments on her thread expressing anger and outrage that she was insulted this way, I realized how f***ed up I’ve become about social media responses.
C-B-C= cunt, bitch, coon. It is not normal to be called these names (or certain others that are quite derogatory). And yet, I can’t count a day since Jan. 5 when The Show debuted where I have not been called at least one of them (and a whole lot more). And each Sunday to Tuesday- 72 hours- after The Show aired, I (and my castmates) am bombarded with an endless tirade of all three throughout the day on Twitter, IG, my blog comments, email and occasionally FB mail.
I was warned by other female reality TV personalities and celebs that this would happen, even by the so-called “likable” ones. Everyone made the same analogies “They talked about Jesus” or reminded me that Michelle Obama has an extremely high approval rating, and she gets it too. It’s part of what comes with being a woman in the pubic eye. But even the warnings don’t prepare you for the waves of hate. It’s like the sea rising up to wipe out NYC in one of those end of the world movies and you are the Statue of Liberty getting wiped out over and over and over… and over. It’s singlehandedly the worst part of being on TV. (Or being a blogger. It always happened, it’s just a higher volume/ frequency now.)
I’m learning to deal with the volume, apparently. (It used to alternately cause insomnia and nightmares). Hence, why I am was completely desensitized to hear of someone else called a “coon”, which if it’s your first time, is incredibly upsetting. I was in tears the first time I was called a “hood rat” in the comments section of a friend’s blog after the BSH trailer aired. (Funny, I’ve since transformed into a snobby/elitist/entitled, cunt/bitch/coon, but whatever).
I tell you all that to make this point. I’ve gotten with rare exception, used to all of this. Occasionally, I save the really good hate mail (like the one above) to whip out for cocktail and appetizer fodder with friends, like, “OMG! You will never believe this one!” I think of it as the equivalent of an ER doctor horrifying her friends with stories of what wild thing happened on the overnight shift. Everyone listening—unless they are also on TV— is shocked, and weirdly intrigued at the depths and density of the amount of unadulterated crazy in the world.
TV (or blogger) people laugh and we play a game of one-upping each other. Someone not on TV (or blogging) always comments, “what kind of person watches a TV show, then goes online to tell the person that they hate them Like who does that?” Then someone else not on TV (or blogging) comments, “people have too much time.” And then, someone—maybe someone on TV (or who blogs) who is fed up that day or a person who just can’t believe this mess— screeches incredulously, “what is wrong with people?!” and has to be calmed down. Some sensible soul reminds me to focus on the positive and keep my head up, which actually is now easy and actually done. Go figure.
But mostly, I (or someone) just block the person or delete the message from my mentions/responses/comments and move on with life. (And I’m sure that has something to do with why it doesn’t bother me as much.)
What fascinates me is the people who get pissed about this. Like you ranted in my comments telling me I was, [insert negative adjective] [choose either “bitch” or “cunt”] and you’re surprised I didn’t let that sit on my site/platform/social media? Like when it happens to you—and it must if you think it’s acceptable to talk to people that way—you don’t delete it? Really?
Some folks get so upset that they’ll create a new IG, or post from a friend’s account. And be totally upfront about it. Like, “you blocked me, [insert adjective] [now choose either “cunt” or “bitch”], but I’m back!!!! hahahahaha” Or they’ll go from posting on one of my Instagram accounts to the other using the same screen name. Or from Twitter to Instagram repeating the same message. Or from Twitter to my blog to leave a nasty comment or write a longwinded email essentially telling me “you ain’t shit, [insert “cunt” or “bitch”] in 500 words or more (never less). And they will add a line like, “now block this [choose either “bitch” or “cunt”]”.
It’s like a weird sense of entitlement to not just be mean, but to allow the mean to stand for all eternity. Like how dare you not allow me to be cruel to you and for everyone to see the depths of my hatred? How dare you actually do something about it!!!! How dare you not respond to or acknowledge me!!!!! How dare you erase my evil thoughts!!!!! I imagine this, on a loop, is about what goes through The Brain’s, well brain, or maybe The Joker’s.
Whatever it is, it’s a new part of life that I’m stuck with until I fade to black. There’s a lot of bad that comes with the good.