Ashley Judd was on the Today Show this morning promoting her new memoir, All That is Bitter and Sweet. We covered some advance details yesterday, as told by The National Enquirer. According to the Enquirer, Ashley writes that she was groped by a stranger as a child, raped as a teen, and came up with “recovered memories” in therapy that she had been molested by a family member during childhood and had suppressed it. Now I get that she would be upset that the press is taking the most horrific parts of her past and sensationalizing them out of the context of her life story. Still, she came across as very haughty right off the bat. She redeemed herself a little toward the end though.
Let me just first separate my opinion of Ashley as a person from the fact that she’s revealing the terrible things she went through. I respect that she’s sharing her experiences and trying to lift the stigma from sexual abuse. That must take a lot of courage. That doesn’t mean I find her in any way likable though. After seeing that interview, I’m inclined to believe all the diva stories I’ve heard about her.
Here’s what she said to start, and it made my mouth hang open. Like, how arrogant can she be? She was on the Today Show promoting her book and claiming at the same time that she wasn’t doing press for it. She didn’t even add “except for this interview.” She also used a lot of big words that sounded like nonsense. She’s like the white female version of those prison dudes on In Living Color. She immediately launched into this diatribe which didn’t make much sense at first. I got it after a while but it was so pretentious.
I made a decision actually to be completely abstinent from all press about the book, because I’m really powerless of what the media does with it. And I started writing diaries in order to commemorate the sacred narratives with which I was being entrusted when I began visiting brothels and slums and forcibly displaced person’s camps and I wanted to share with the world the stories that, however improbably, were being entrusted to me. And then I also needed to write to process because I was being so staggered by the realities with which the majority of the people with whom we share our fragile planet live. And I didn’t know where to put it, like I didn’t have place in my brain or in my heart so I started putting it on the page.
Then I also wanted to talk about the effective and very inexpensive grassroots solutions that I was seeing. So all of a sudden 13 countries later and 650 pages of diaries there was a book in there, but I was really encouraged by people I trust to include some of my own story, because why I love this work really baffled people, so eventually I put it in there.
Then like a minute and a half later Meredith Viera finally got a word in edgewise to ask Ashley about some of the revelations in her book. Meredith asked her why she included the difficult parts of her childhood.
Ashley said that she had a good relationship with her parents now and that “the kinds of things that happened to me are very typical and standard and indicative of a family system that doesn’t work very well.” She said she recovered in 2006 through the help of therapy (her therapy was AA recovery based) but it was like she was lecturing Meredith. She was so haughty about it. She used a bunch of very pat AA explanations, like she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and she was “powerless over my childhood,” her life was “unmanageable.” Her issue was being in an alcoholic family, not being an alcoholic specifically, but whatever. I’m sorry she went through all this, but there’s no excuse for being so insufferable.
Toward the end Ashley started crying when she talked about her charity work. It was like she thought she was just this amazing person who was changing so many lives. “I happen to really love the God of my understanding… I was taking a walk and having a talk with God going ‘This is absolutely amazing that I, who very much played the lost child in this family system, would have the opportunity to travel all over the world and sit with and hold and love and encourage people who are pretty lost. And our global family system is absolutely remarkable. While the conditions in which I was raised were very different, I identify…. That’s what matters.”
Good for Ashley for doing charity work. It just seemed like she was patting herself on the back the whole time. At the end she answered a question about being molested as a child, and her answer was surprisingly to-the-point and very well put. I like what she said here but it doesn’t erase all the crap she spouted up until this point.
“It’s not that I repressed, it’s that I didn’t know… I was groomed. They put their shame on me. I’ve given those SOBs back their shame.”
If that’s the takeaway from this interview and her book then she’s doing a very good thing. It’s been a long time, if ever, since I’ve seen an interview with someone so pretentious though.
You can read an excerpt from Ashley’s book on MSNBC.com. I’ll be honest – I just skimmed it. I’ve had about all I can take today of this woman.