Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Advice

Hi. This is an actual email I sent to that other site last week. Of course, it's too "fair" to be published. Another one is coming shortly. I wasn't sure where to email you. I did change my signature since I decided to stay consistent with other posts.

Serena and Sharla,

I felt compelled to write after lurking here this past week. I've done a lot of reading and thought it would be better to send an email than trying to post a comment - mainly because I wanted to add my two cents on a variety of topics. [Note: Whether you post this, is up to you. I realize it's lengthy.If you do decide to post this, please use my signature below and not my email or company name. Thanks so much. If you need to check who I am, etc.feel free to google me. You can email me if you'd like my maiden name or any additional information.]

I am 39-year-old, married, mother of one. I am employed as a magazine editor and freelance for a variety of publications. Prior to my work in publishing,I was on the other end of the assignment desk, pitching story ideas to the media - local and national. And in many crisis situations, I was there helping organizations' directors and managers answer difficult questions they are faced with when disasters strike.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the old saying "don't believe everything you read in the paper or see on TV," is most definitely true.

TV shows thrive on money from advertisers and sponsors. If you don't like what you are seeing or hearing, turn the TV or radio off (or change the station) and write to the network. I believe I saw a thread here about approaching networks with concerns.

Keep in mind though, with reality TV, post-production can, and will play tricks on the viewer. Case and point - mommy putting sick child in laundry room and closing the door. We can't blame mommy for complaining about the clean up - anyone who has actually cleaned child vomit out of bedding, cars,etc. can relate to that. Some viewers were upset about moving child to the laundry room. We've read from readers they do similar things. I, as a child,practically lived on the bathroom floor. I guess what gets me most when I read some posts is how "literal" viewers are taking their brief glimpse of mommy's actions - which have been edited from much longer pieces of film.Closing the door and leaving a child to choke or aspirate? Quite dramatic comments. In actuality, there are probably many "non verbals" that are used with reality crews. For example, closing the door from the film crew could be mommy's way of telling the crew to "go away."

Tabloids are trash. Period. Honestly, you shouldn't believe most of what you read in any newspaper or magazine - even those with "journalists." "Secret Sources" are people getting paid for their story - true or untrue.

As far as book deals go - the hype about J's name being added later and now he'll get a piece of the deal, etc., isn't generally how it works. I have recently authored a book and am pitching it to literary agents and publishers. If and when a book deal is signed, it is spelled out who does what and how much they get. An author(s) is typically paid a percentage based on gross sales - and the percentage amount can be increased after a certain amount of books are sold. Here is a great example of a contract.


There is usually some upfront money paid to the author(s) and when the sales bypass that first paid amount, then they begin receiving their royalties(paycheck). When there is more than one author, the percentage is split up.Because this contract was probably written and executed prior to the book being written, my guess would be J&K are getting the originally-agreed upon percentage. B is too. You just don't change a contract after the book is written. Also, there are usually review copies that are sent to media prior to the book's final. I'd bet the reviewers asked why J's name didn't appear and the publisher decided to add it.

As a mother, I worry about my child just like most moms do. I make many mistakes. I have lost my temper with with husband. I can gripe and snipe with the best of them. I work hard for a living and my husband, a police officer, literally puts his life on the line every day for a paycheck. I know how terribly hard those first 8 weeks of life are - the sleep deprivation alone is enough to make anyone crazy. I don't think anyone can imagine that times six. I think parents try to do the best they can do when they can do it. We all make mistakes. Period.

I believe children are exploited everyday, and television is just the tip of the iceberg.
I think this site began and exists with good intentions. It would be awesome to see this blog bring more awareness to child exploitation issues and writing the networks. Has anyone seen Kid Nation or the Baby Borrowers?

I do have to admit, as a mother, I find it very disturbing when people write such nasty comments about people they don't even know. I realize everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am just stating mine. Ultimately, it is the networks making money off of the families they air and the viewers who continue watching the show.

Although we may not agree to all of J & K's parenting techniques (or lack of), we are just seeing a tiny glimpse of their home life. We should continue to remind ourselves that it is TV.

No matter how much a parent makes mistakes, we are still mommy and daddy to our children. No child should ever have to read what is posted on the internet about what others don't like about their parents. And, in the end,when these children mature, they will decide for themselves who they will and will not share their lives with. The written word never goes away.Please be mindful of this when you decide what should and should not be posted here.

Hope to hear from you.

This is my second email to that other site:


Thanks for your reply. I saw your post about writing the production company. Honestly, the production company could receive millions of complaints from folks around the world and do nothing. It is the network and sponsors/advertisers that need to written with true concerns, not "I can't believe they are getting an 8,000sf home," etc. Perhaps someone here could come up with a couple of good form letters that readers can download and use. They will never take hate mail seriously, although something can be said of well written, thought out, concern letters. Figure 8 is hired by the network (it's possible they are partly-owned by the network, I have not researched that yet). The network, in turn, "sells" it to the advertisers and makes their money mainly by commercials. And, ultimately, it's the viewers who keep everybody in business.

Two questions I would love to see your readers polled with:

1. How would they feel if the G family were only documented every few years like the Duggars - perhaps only 4 - 6 episodes every year?

2. Which episode "jumped the shark"? (definition below) For me it was when Sarah Snow showed up to help K in the kitchen.

[Jumping the shark is a colloquialism used by U.S. TV critics and fans to denote that point in a TV show or movie series' history where the plot veers off into ridiculous story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations, undergoing too many changes to retain the original appeal of the series. Shows that have "jumped the shark" are typically deemed to have passed their peak as after this point critical fans can point to a noticeable decline in the show's overall quality.]


And, finally this is the third email:

After I hit the send button, this thought came. Have you ever asked readers/viewers what they could stand instead of what they can't stand? And - answers with no sarcasm.

The griping and sniping won't change, annoying as it can be. Parenting skills and styles won't change, although kind suggestions could go far.

Sponsorships and contrived episodes could change. Children being photographed naked could end. Cameras in bedrooms could end.

I think these thoughtful answers could be strong beginnings to letters and campaigns to the networks.

Just my two cents,


Linda said...

Momofone --

Wow! Good work.

MCB said...

Nice, rational points of view. No wonder they never published it at GWoP. Wink.

Anonymous said...

To me, this post is advice for the mods on GWOP, it's even called that. It doesn't seem to me to be the kind of thing that gets posted.

Serena did answer your email, so it was read. It hasn't been that long, so who knows some of the suggestions in the second email might be used in developing polls or posts.

Anonymous said...

It was recognized for the hogwash piece that she intended.

Jenn said...

Momofone, very nicely written! Everything you pointed out made sense and all your ideas and points were very rational.

I'm glad Nina posted it so it could see the light of day.

Jenn said...

Anonymous said...
It was recognized for the hogwash piece that she intended.

blah blah blah.

That about sums up how I feel about the negative nelly's that post and run.

Nina Bell said...

I don't take pleasure in posting the anon 9:44 am comment but I think it is important for some of these comments to be noted.

Anonymous said...

I have e-mailed Serena and Sharla with thoughts and have always, more consistently from Serena, recieved polite, thankful, useful responses. When I say this, I mean they are not condescending or sarcastic and consistent with their stand.

I don't know and can't speak for anyone else who may not have had the same type of experience when dealing with either one of them.

This being said. A few weeks back when there was mention of the "Secret Board" I e-mailed Serena about it. She replied that there was a Private Board and she described how it was started (from the TWOP - members who met privately) and how its use relates to the GWOP board. She was vehement in her stance that it was not at all used for the reasons stated here (GDNNOP) - making fun and being nasty at the children's expense.

Though vague, I accepted her answer.

Now the issue of the Private, Secret board or boards has come up again and I e-mailed Serena again. Once again she acknowledged the Private board but she denied the accusation that the content is contrary to the "mission" of GWOP.

I e-mailed her the link. I asked her point blank about it and once again she said the content is not contrary to GWOP mission - it is not attacking or making fun of children, other members of their own board, Jodi, etc. I told her that I had seen the header pictures and she said that they are placed their by the moderator of the board.

Serena claims she had to be invited like everyone else and the moderator of the board is not a contributing member of the GWOP board.

I told her from the beginning that I would not ask her to be invited to the group - I questioned her about the content (I never questioned its existence) and her relation to it.

"So, anyone who wants access can see for themselves and verify its content." I asked.

She again reiterated that the board did not belong to her and there is nothing offensive that would prevent the group from adding new members. It would be up to the moderator - because in addition to whatever Gosselin-related topic the group started with - there is also 8 months worth of personal information the group has shared with each other.

She gave a pretty compelling social situation example that made sense to me.

I do not believe there is content that is contrary to GWOP or that Serena is directly involved and or condoning a site that is.

I did not ask for access to the site, but if you are still skeptical, e-mail Serena yourself and ask for the "Secret Board's" mods info and ask for access yourself.

This is information from Serena herself. Of course there may be a possibility that she is lying, but since I was speaking directly to the source and there is no other compelling evidence to prove otherwise, I am giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Nina Bell, the mod on this site, has equally been polite, repectful and forthcoming.

Fanny said...

I don't understand how any rational person can call this "hogwash". All the bitching and complaining in the world won't change what bothers the folks at gwop. I think this is a smart way to share your concerns with the network and sponsors and be taken seriously.

Just more proof that gwop isn't interested in helping the situation. They'd much rather snark about it and then cry when nothing changes.

Linda said...


I appreciate your very lengthy explanation of your emails with Serena/Sharla re: the private board.

You wrote this:

"I do not believe there is content that is contrary to GWOP"

I know that I've stated this over and over again, but it seems to me that alot of the commentary on the GwoP blog is contrary to the mission of the GwoP blog.

I've seen comments posted that say that the kids are brats, look suicidal, will become drug dealers, have unwanted pregnancies, etc., etc.

If that stuff is posted on the public board without batting an eye, then I have no doubt that the stuff posted on the secret board is much worse.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Momofone, for sharing your emails. They contain well thought out, respectfully shared, and relevant information. I am curious to know if the replies you received were equally courteous, like those the other anonymous poster states she received. Not everyone is going to agree about every subject. But we can respectfully disagree and have our points of view heard.

Guinevere said...

What fgf didn't tell you about the "Fatty Arbuckle" comment was that someone posted it in jest and then people immediately said it was in poor taste and she apologized.

While I don't want to excoriate anyone over a momentary lapse of taste and judgment, particularly when they've apologized, the comment is still troubling. The hostility that is sometimes shown to Kate's perceived favorite belies the claim that GWoP posters are concerned about and advocates for the Gosselin kids. The fact that people hate Kate so much that they transfer that hatred to a 4-year-old girl simply because they believe (unfairly, IMO) that the child is favored is quite ugly.

Interesting entry, MomofOne. I'm surprised by your comment on the Sara Snow episode, because I rather liked that one! I've never seen her, before or since, and I thought she was just adorable (I developed a little platonic girl-crush on her, actually). Why, if I may ask, did you see that as a JtS moment?

After I hit the send button, this thought came. Have you ever asked readers/viewers what they could stand instead of what they can't stand? And - answers with no sarcasm.

My honest perception is that most of the haters have no real concerns about the show, they just hate Kate and then find reasons to justify that hatred. The "advocacy" issue has been a good one for them, because it has given them free rein to interfere with the Gosselins' lives and claim a higher purpose for doing so. I'm not saying that there aren't viewers out there with legitimate concerns about children on reality TV, but my guess is that for every 100 anti-Gosselin posters at GWoP, 99 are simply motivated by an irrational hatred for Kate Gosselin.

So, short of Kate admitting to all of the faults she's been accused of and begging forgiveness from the viewing public, I don't think there is anything that would satisfy these women (and even if Kate did do that, there would probably still be a fair number who would call it "damage control" and refuse to believe her). These are women with anger issues that need a target. When and if J&K+8 goes off the air, they'll all have to find a new target, or go back to hating Rachel Ray or Kelly Ripa or whoever it was they hated before finding Kate.

MomOfOne said...

Serena thanked me for the comment and said they would be in touch if they decided to post it.

What I found most interesting is that I brought up the question about the older girls seeing or hearing about these boards and those weren't posted. I think that is a very valid question for J and her sister. That is also why I'm trying to be as respectful about using initials or the words "mommy" and "daddy" for fear that these words will come back to bite those (J and her sis especially) back. Kids don't always forget these things and they (twins) are at an age where this whole situation can really tarnish their relationship with J.

I watch the show. I get annoyed at many of the same things posters here and there get upset over. I guess instead of sitting on my fanny and b'ing about it all, I'm going to act like a responsible adult and parent and try to be constructive and respectful. It's not that difficult.

Thanks for your words all. I appreciate that there are others on the same page.

And, perhaps they will talk about this over there. I will attempt to communicate my though when those topics arise.

As far as "hogwash" is concerned, call it whatever makes you feel good. I believe in these thoughts and felt it was good advice to pass on.

MomOfOne said...

Guin -

I think the only reason the Sara Snow was my jump the shark was more the "corporate network crossover" than the actual episode itself, which if I remember correctly, was cute.

Nina Bell said...

I moved the comments regarding the secret message board up to the top under Sound Off.

Jenn said...

A certain site won't allow Momofone's post to go through. But they will post this garbage:

"I noticed those decks are high, but I was too preoccupied on Kate keeping her promise that she made to Aaden on the day they arrived. If they went outside, then they wouldn't have a Mommy anymore. Bitch never did disappear."


Guinevere said...

Wow. Stunning example of advocacy, there. Bravo, GWoPpers.

Anonymous said...

This is such great advice. I agree. Why not try and change one or two things that really bother you. Do it in a positive way. For me I would want the children to have privacy in their bedrooms. I think the potty shots have passed and is not an issue anymore. The network might respond favorably to a letter writing campain if you write about one or two issues of concern.

Anonymous said...

I like the show and will continue wathcing. I don't believe I have a jump the shark moment, although I do feel that show could do with more day to day and less trips.

MomOfOne said...

Ninabell -
Is there an email to write you? Or, should I just post my question or general comment here?

Nina Bell said...

It is on the right hand side. ninabell53@gmail.com

Linda said...

By the way, the term jump the shark was kind of coined in response to when the Fonz literally jumped a shark on waterskis in an episode of Happy Days.

(Right momofone?)

I also will continue to watch the show, but I do think that it has had a few jump the shark moments.

For me, the Sara Snow episode was one of them. Also, the teeth whitening episode and the hairplug episode were jump the shark moments.

And yet, there is something so compelling about watching them.

momofone said...

Linda -

Yes, Arthur Fonzarelli is the original shark jumper! ha ha! I still watch too. My little one loves watching those kids!

Barbara in VA said...

Why do you all care so much what is posted at another site? This is the site where you are apparently happy and among people who feel very much the same way you do? Can't you see that your constant reference to that site does nothing for your cause; in fact I think many people probably pop into that site (and maybe never even heard of it) because of what you constantly say. What does that really have to do with how much you enjoy the show or why you like that Aaden said this or Leah was cute when she did that? So they don't print what you want them to print. You can write what you want in this blog, why do you need to write it twice?

I just love these kids and all their funny and cute ways. That's me done. I don't particularly like Kate, so sue me, but I'd love to see more of the kids and I don't care who knows it or likes it. That's me done now.

nomoredrama said...

They are fueling a controversy and making up lies...oh yeah, and they're dangerous and have harassed our visitors....that would be why we care.

Barbara in VA said...

Nomore: "They" are dangerous? Who? These people you don't know who are writing their opinions on the web sites? I will agree that someone who gives an opinion unlike the majority could feel attacked, but that's the same on this site, too, believe me. But these posters are not dangerous. I think these sites do fuel a contraversy, so what? That happens on any site. But I'm not defending anyone who has actually committed a criminal act or intends to do so, so please tell me what the dangerous acts are. I'm not being facetious, I really want to know.

Guinevere said...

There are a couple of things that I think are potentially dangerous. The level of hysteria in the language some posters use to describe Kate Gosselin is disturbing; I've seen her compared to Diane Downs (who murdered her children), to OJ Simpson; I've seen her called a monster. Sure, this could just be talk, but I think these posters egg each other on, and maybe out of a dozen of them, 11 of them don't really mean it, at least not enough to *do* anything. But maybe the 12th is just a little more unbalanced, and the relentless upping of the hyperbole encourages her in her delusions. Couple this with the fact that posters - presumably at least some of the same posters - have made it their mission to know as much as they can about the Gosselins. One of the moderators at GWoP was posting very knowledgably several weeks ago about where J&K and their children were at that exact moment - not at home in Pennsylvania (I guess probably in S. Carolina). These people know the Gosselins' address - not because the info just dropped into their laps, but because they've made it their business to know. They have been diligent in their attempts to find out the exact location of the new house that is supposedly being built for the Gosselins in S. Carolina. They've driven by the Gosselins' house, taken pictures, reported back whatever they've seen to the people at GWoP. To what purpose? Again, maybe for most of them it's just a mild case of obsessiveness, a desire to be an "insider" or to be the one to bring back "dirt" on the Gosselins to the group. But what about the poster who isn't wrapped too tight, and who decides to escalate it? I can EASILY imagine one of those women deciding to "confront" Kate. They don't see anything wrong with what they've done so far - it makes me wonder how far they will go before they do see anything wrong with their behavior.

I also believe there has been some stalkerish activity against the blog owner and posters here. When one hears that people are trying to dig up information on posters here, it's concerning. I've seen a bit how very angry some of these women are, and it does concern me. There are people at GWoP who show no sense of perspective about the fact that this is just a television show, meant to entertain.

Daisy said...

I've seen Kate compared to Andrea Yates. Sickening....

momofone said...

right on guin! I just read your post above!