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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 02:00PM

[This may be considered fluff in the beginning, but it gets serious fairly fast.]

I have been involved in some intensely emotionally difficult, but essential, filing re-organization lately, and (as I have done, in one form or another, since I was in elementary school) in order to keep slogging through, I have been playing YouTube videos in the background: lectures (Henry Abramson, etc.), documentaries, and so on. The other day I played a new-to-me documentary of the history of the Monkees ("The Monkees Behind The Music") because I knew that most of the people in that documentary would be people I knew and worked with back then, when I was writing for the fan magazines. (For a couple of years, I wrote one-third of three different magazines every month, so I was writing the equivalent of a full magazine a month.)

This video led to others, like the history of "The Partridge Family" and the history of "The Brady Bunch," and along the way I confronted something that has continued to bother me since back in Monkee times (and, in truth, since far before--because I grew up in a similar situation, which I was not able to make any sense of until I was well into my adulthood).

When I was writing for the fan magazines, one afternoon my editor brought in a fan letter (both the letter and the envelope) and handed them to me. "I believe this is sincere," he said, "and I believe what she [the letter writer] is saying is factual, but I don't know what we can do about it--yet I really think we ought to 'do something.' What do you think?"

The letter was unsigned, there was no return address on the envelope, and the postmark was essentially illegible.

It had been written by a young teenaged girl (the loopy handwriting, plus the heart drawings instead of certain words, were unmistakable). From what we could decipher, we all agreed that this was written and mailed somewhere in the massive American Midwest.

She said that a "few" months earlier a particular [unnamed] group had appeared in her town for a couple of concerts. She had managed to meet one of the headliners in the group, who invited her to come to an after-show party, she had accepted, they had both had consensual sex together....and now she was pregnant, and she didn't know what to do. She was writing to us because she couldn't tell anyone in her family or in her town, but she was scared, and she needed to know what she should do. She was hoping we could answer her questions in one of our magazines, but she did not know that we had a three-month lead time (for example: when I wrote an article, the SOONEST it would appear on newsstands would be three months later), so any advice we could give would come long after any of her potential options had expired.

We had no way to identify her, or even her general area.

I still think about her, and her baby (who is now an adult) to this day. I wonder about what happened to both of them, and I send them good thoughts and positive energies wherever they are. (The biological father likely never knew that his night of fun on the road had resulted in a child of his being born.)

Back to the YouTube documentaries I have been listening to as I reorganize my currently-essential files:

In several of those interviews, there are references to specific individuals in the television/film/recording industry (some of whom I once knew, fairly well in a "business" sense), who--when they were "on top"--impregnated fans/wives/girlfriends....and then walked away from their own children (and those children's mothers).

Some of those people have now died, and before they died, these once-enormously-famous artists/actors took care to specifically disinherit their own, acknowledged, biological children from having any part (even a small, symbolic part) of their estate(s).

I cannot understand this.

However, since I am the biological result of an "awkward" situation (my father is my biological uncle; my uncle is my biological father), I really do feel, very deeply, for all of those kids--who, I now realize, are probably in the low thousands of numbers if the truth were known.

So my question is: what is the moral/ethical/practical responsibility of someone who willingly and enthusiastically impregnates someone....and then walks away and "hides" behind a phalanx of agents/managers/press representatives/studio executives/attorneys, so they can disclaim responsibility not just financially (although this counts, and in some cases quite a lot), but far more importantly, when it comes to the question of: Is this person a "good person"?

When this person dies (and many in these YouTube video documentaries HAVE now died), what is their real legacy: their once undisputed fame and industry accomplishments (top of the Nielsens or whatever), or their total lack of (in my view) responsibility and caring and humanity.

These are not mensches.

And some of them, people I once (in a working sense) knew pretty well, I used to really think they were good guys.

Today, I identify instead with their thrown-away children.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2020 01:39AM by Tevai.

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Posted by: bobofitz ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 02:14PM

Yes, I agree they are scumbutts and it’s unfortunate they’re not around to prosecute for non support. The world is a cruel place. That’s why we have to be careful about the choices we make....the sooner we learn, the better.

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Posted by: Dorothy ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 04:13PM

Choices?

Teens can't give consent and we don't choose our parents.

I agree that the world can be a cruel place.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 02:26PM

Methinks you could write a book about the hidden lives of the male stars you knew who impregnated girls, left them, and then refused to acknowledge their offspring in their own wills. It would probably be a big seller, especially if you used the stars' names (Of course, you would probably need to hire a lawyer in case any of those who actually inherited tried to sue you for libel).

But that doesn't answer your question. From my position, having been raised Roman Catholic, gone to Jesuit high school and undergraduate college, and having been exposed to liberation theology and the concept of social justice, I would say that your instincts are absolutely right on this. People, regardless of whether they are famous or not, should leave some of their inheritance (if they have any) to any illegitimate children they have created during their lifetime. Unfortunately, most people in this situation, regardless of whether they are famous or not, are very unwilling to do this, mainly because it means having to explain to their significant other that prior to their involvement with this person, they had unprotected sexual relations that resulted in offspring--something that many are absolutely unwilling to admit.

Legally, people can do whatever they want with the property they've acquired over their lifetimes. Unfortunately, many view that responsibility as a way to reward those who sucked up to them and punish those who stood up to them.

And so it goes...

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 02:34PM

Legitimacy is a bitch. I know. She is my mother.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 03:04PM

"... what is their real legacy: their once undisputed fame and industry accomplishments (top of the Nielsens or whatever), or their total lack of (in my view) responsibility and caring and humanity.

The latter, in my view too.


"And some of them, people I once (in a working sense) knew pretty well, I used to really think they were good guys."

Yeah, those are the types who get away with grievous wrongs.


"Today, I identify instead with their thrown-away children."

Thrown-away children - what an epically sad phrase.

Hopefully, they and their love family find their way despite the injustice of the biological side of things. It would be amazing if some of the (now grown) children didn't know of their origins from their mothers or suspect from their physical appearance/resemblance to daddy dearest, or possibly inherited talent. But I guess in terms of any chance of claiming a monetary inheritance they're out of luck. It may hurt some to think of being rejected twice - once at the time of birth and beyond and again, and finally, at the lawyer's office in a deliberate move to keep a chasm between father and progeny. Hopefully, most can manage not to take it personally. It's too bad but fame has baggage in many spheres. Hard for "ordinary" people to think of creating throw-aways while on the touring scene. The price of fame can be high, often perverting people's values. They likely miss out on much. To many, I guess they think the $$$ and adulation are worth it. They're the losers in many ways not so obvious on the surface.

I think of the biological side of it - that people have a right, and perhaps major need, to know of inherited diseases or other crucial bio info - and also the DNA aspect - good to know you're not marrying your sister, obviously.

Or just the innate longing to know our own origins - I've read several autobiographies lately about people searching for their roots. The last one I read (I think I mentioned it here recently) was by a woman who was brought up Orthodox Jewish and found out accidentally that her apparent father wasn't her father - her mom had used a sperm donor. It was hurtful to her in many ways but also eased a lifelong issue for her in that she was told many times during her young lifetime "you don't look Jewish", which was disquieting to her and made her feel like an outsider. She eventually, amazingly, found her bio family and things fell into place, creating a comfortable feeling of belonging for her at last. It took a lot to work through it all though.

Knowing one's roots and having a deep feeling of belonging are important to most of us. I can't escape my family as not only do we closely resemble one another but our natures and characters are very similar. We can tell we belong to each other, like it or not. It's important to most of us to know where we come from, in many ways. That is something else that people miss out on if they don't have an accurate knowledge of their origins. Very complex though, given human nature (and the mythology surrounding touring musicians and their groupies, etc).

You've had an interesting past life, Tevai. We're lucky to have you here. You bring much to the table. I second the notion that you could write a great book! (If the secrets are old enough to disclose at this point, even more so!)

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 05:31PM

Thank you, Nightingale!

:)

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 03:15PM

Its like starting a fire, walking away, and leaving it for someone else to deal with.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 03:48PM

In Jack Kerouac's largely biographical novel On the Road there is a scene in which the hero (really Neal Cassady) strikes up a sexual relationship with an indigent girl in California's Central Valley. IIRC, she was about 13 or 14 and the child of either Latino migrants or Okies, in either case dirt farmers. She inevitably gets pregnant and Cassady and his Beatnik buddies take off. The book portrays this as more evidence of the wild, unrestrained, freedom-loving ethos that Kerouac and his buddies trumpeted to the world as a better way.

Was it a better way? In a century or two no one will remember Kerouac, Keesey, Ginsburg and the others. All that will remain of Cassady is that little girl's descendants and the sum of the influences on their lives, one of which will be the immense injury that his irresponsibility imposed upon a poor farmer's daughter, a refugee from the Dust Bowl.

Tell me again, where is the conundrum?

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 05:38PM

>> "Tell me again, where is the conundrum?"

I keep mine between the bongos and congas so I can reach it better while playing salsa music.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 05:41PM

Nothing shakes things up on the dance floor like a growling, pulsing bass conundrum.

And I should know. I was one!

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:31PM

Growling, pulsing conundrum? I think you can buy those from a machine in the mens room.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 05:56PM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tell me again, where is the conundrum?

The conundrum for me is that I knew some of these people fairly well--over a long-ish span of time, and well enough so that I had entre into their homes (or the homes of their parents/guardians), their dressing rooms, and on whatever set they happened to be on at the time. If they had to go into a crowd-type situation, they handed their wallet to me for safekeeping.

To them, I was a trusted person--which meant that the commonplace industry b.s. (of all kinds) was frequently reduced down to zero.

Some of these people I respected a lot (often because I felt they were doing such a good job of dealing with their frequently overbearing parents, if their parents were in the industry).

What prompted me to write my OPost was two people in particular, who I learned yesterday had both meticulously disinherited their children (children who had been born within their parents' marriages), just kinda because they COULD.

One of these people I didn't know all that well, but the other one....he (from an instantly-recognizable show business family, and who was--at that time back then--a current, sought after, cover celebrity himself) was the best friend of one of my "regulars." I was with him, and around him, a lot for most of the time I worked for that company. If you had asked me two days ago if THAT person would ever do THAT to his own children I would have said: "Never."

I would have been wrong.

It turns out that this disinheriting of one's own children happens much more often than I ever would have previously thought.

How can you know someone pretty well, over a long-ish period of time, and be so VERY wrong about the nature of the genuine person they really are?

This is (for me) the conundrum.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2020 01:56AM by Tevai.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:20PM

After experiencing 'living', I gave up on conclusions.

We ALWAYS NEVER have all the facts. Sure, we make judgments, and hopefully they are grounded in Truth, Justice and the American Way, but how can we ever know?

Look at how many of us have successfully fooled ourselves over the years! Some of us are still doing it.

Life is not for the faint of heart, unless you're like Gladys Lott: feint of heart...


Also, who is keeping track of our "judgments"? And what are the prizes and is a perfect score the only way to win?


Personally, I have reduced it to "On whom can I turn my back?" It's not a long list.

The fewer your expectations, the less your chances are of being disappointed. Hope for the best, and keep reading RfM.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:31PM

You feign facility with feints and faints? True that ain't!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2020 06:31PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:21PM

Disinheriting one's progeny is generally a bad thing. By contrast, taking advantage of underage girls and leaving them impregnated without support is always immoral, particularly in an era when society blamed those girls for those liaisons.

It's easy to become friends with people who are unethical, for often those people are experts at compartmentalization and would never show their friends the evil that also informs their character. So your friends may well have been genuine, friendly, and generous to you at the same time that they were horrific to others.

What I would ask is whether the disinheritings really revealed new information. Would you continue to view those people as good genuine folks if they had not cut off their kids? It sounds to me that their character has been consistent--consistently immoral--all along.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 11:20PM

In this reply, I'm going to use a specific name that I hope is not one of the people you, Tevai, are referring to.

Twenty some-odd years ago when I was working in the hotel industry and my father was giving me rides to and from work, he registered a complaint with me about Glen Campbell. Apparently, it had been reported that Mr. Campbell, while leaving some of his money to his kids, was going to leave the bulk of it to charity--and my dad didn't like it. My father believed that Glen Campbell did not love his children enough to settle the bulk of his estate on them.

I didn't tell him at the time (in fact, I hardly thought about it until I learned that most wealthy people leave the majority of their wealth to their children regardless of merit), but I came to disagree with him on this. The earth is a large but limited resource, and if the wealthy only leave their wealth to their own offspring, that ultimately means fewer resources to go around for everybody else.

To me, the situation with Glen Campbell as I have described it (and which I deem is what you are talking about in your reply post that I am answering now) is very different from the situation described in your original post where the wealthy person refuses to acknowledge through inheritance the illegitimate children he created during his lifetime. That situation is clearly an immoral one, though the wealthy person has the legal right to do it.

However, this second situation is very different and quite justifiable. I think we would be much better off as a society if wealthy people, instead of giving all of their money to their kids, just settled some of that money on their offspring and gave the rest away to charity or even to government to distribute to those who are on the edges of society. Wealth may be created, but its creation involves manipulating the limited resources available to us and making sure that those resources are returned to the public sphere over time is probably a very good idea so that others have the opportunity to create their own wealth.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:09PM

>>These are not mensches.

No, they are not. Your instincts are on target.

In my (much) younger days, I had a number of friends and acquaintances on the promotion side of the music industry. It was the kind of thing where I could show up at most concerts, saying, "I'm on the list," and get in for free.

I mentioned to one of my well-connected friends that I had a crush on a certain singer-songwriter, just as a point of conversation, and thinking nothing would come of it. He arranged an introduction to a close friend of the musician, who would get together with me for coffee to see if the musician and I had enough in common for a formal introduction. Well, I was rather distantly acquainted with this close friend socially -- I just didn't know that he was connected to the musician. Evidently I didn't pass muster, and no introduction was forthcoming. Although I was disappointed at the time, I shrugged it off.

Years later, I have a much better understanding of what was going on at the time. My acquaintance made a very good call. There were definitely several major points of incompatibility between the singer and myself. But more than that, the singer was still deeply into the "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" lifestyle at the time, and would be for a number of years more. He burned through two wives who tired of his partying and cheating before he finally matured and settled down.

As a young woman, I thought musicians were the bee's knees. As a mature adult, I wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 06:27PM

You dodged a bullet. You were being sussed out as a potential sex partner. You effectively failed to get Ghislaine Maxwell's approval and hence never got to meet Jeffery Epstein.

That you were inadequate in the eyes of a pimp left you adequate to make a positive difference in the world. We all should join you in thanking your lucky stars for that.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 07:21PM

Possibly. The singer was going through a rough patch at the time with the woman who would later become his first wife, so I think he was looking at his options. But in the end it didn't matter, we would not have been a good match at all, and the cheating and excess partying would have been deal-breakers for me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2020 07:22PM by summer.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 07:29PM

You were stronger than other women.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 10:31PM

I don't know if it's a question of strength. That can get into blaming victims territory. I think it's more a question of maturity (age) and judgement (experience). I was young, naive and slow to learn the more negative ways of the world. As a teen and young adult I ran into "very nice men" who, regardless of marital status, career, religious beliefs or our relationship (work, church, professional connection) tried to take advantage. Doctors, pastors, teachers, managers, businessmen, friends, acquaintances, employers, others. I wasn't Swimsuit Illustrated material or otherwise irresistible, just available and apparently vulnerable. Not weak either. Got pretty well practised in the art of saying no as well as the self protection maneuvers I learned from volunteer training with the police.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2020 10:40PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 10:59PM

This.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 11:04PM

My point isn't that it is the responsibility of girls to fend off advances from powerful men. I am simply saying that in a world that permitted those advances and blamed the victims, the only practical barrier to exploitation was the wisdom and strength of the individual women.

What I was saying about Tevai was that she was fortunate to avoid a bad outcome. That "fortune" probably included significant dollops of maturity and, yes, strength. It was not a normative statement but an empirical one.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: September 16, 2020 11:16PM

When Scott Weiland died, his ex-wife wrote an open letter saying basically, "He wasn't the guy you think he was."

"When Scott did move on to another relationship, I hoped it would inspire him to grow. I had often encouraged him to date a “normal” girl, a woman who was also a mother, someone who had the energy that I no longer had to love him. Instead, when he remarried, the children were replaced. They were not invited to his wedding; child support checks often never arrived. Our once sweet Catholic boy refused to watch the kids participate in Christmas Eve plays because he was now an atheist. They have never set foot into his house, and they can’t remember the last time they saw him on a Father’s Day. I don’t share this with you to cast judgment, I do so because you most likely know at least one child in the same shoes. If you do, please acknowledge them and their experience. Offer to accompany them to the father-daughter dance, or teach them to throw a football. Even the bravest girl or boy will refrain from asking for something like that; they may be ashamed, or not want to inconvenience you. Just offer – or even insist if you have to."

<snip>

"Noah and Lucy never sought perfection from their dad. They just kept hoping for a little effort."

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/scott-weilands-family-dont-glorify-this-tragedy-44427/

I rooted for Scotty every time he went to rehab. He moved in with Duff hoping to get sober. Didn't help. He was an addict just like any other addict. I'm one, too.

But does being an addict excuse anyone from being a shit? No.

Celebrities are no better or worse than the rest of us. They hide things, and people they work with hide things about them. Just like people do for us. Only our platforms are smaller.

What they have is *access*, and that's the problem. The more access you have, the more damage you can do.

As far as knowing other people? How can you unless you're with them 24/7, and even then you really don't know anyone.

People are shits. They do shit things.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2020 11:51PM by Beth.

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