Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Barefoot Contessa vs. Keyboard Warriors

Drudge Report Picked up a story from the L.A. Times, which picked up a story on TMZ about how Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) is such a meanie-weenie for not granting the wish of a 6 year old kid with leukemia, to come cook with her.  The comments from the "keyboard warriors" were brutal, essentially vilifying Ms. Garten as some sort of hard-hearted-Hannah.

TMZ reports:

A family member involved with the Make-A-Wish foundation tells us ... a little boy named Enzo was approached by the organization after he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia three years ago.

Enzo told Make-A-Wish ... he really wanted to cook with the "Barefoot Contessa" host because he would often watch the show with his mother while resting in bed.

So, a three year old wanted, above all other things, to cook with The Barefoot Contessa?  To me, it sounds like it's the mother's wish, and she encouraged her son to ask M.A.W. for that.  Kids that age generally want to please their mothers.  Who lets a toddler cook?  Maybe help stir in some flour to the brownie batter, but actually cook a meal?  C'mon!

The boy's mother has a blog of her own, with an entry about the incident.

Unfortunately as we were arriving home from the hospital I got word from “Make A Wish” that it is has been officially confirmed that Ina Garten (the “Barefoot Contessa” ) has declined Enzo’s wish to meet her and cook a meal with her. I felt terrible for him, he has been unwavering in his desire to meet her for 3 years and despite many attempts to get him to pick a 2nd wish or change his mind he would not.

I find it really hard to believe that a child that young couldn't find something else he wanted to do, given three years.  Have a little whine with that cheese, mom?

Even yesterday when I told him the unfortunate news, his reply was simply “why doesn’t she want to meet me”? 

So, it was the mother who told her son, not that Ms. Garten had other commitments, but that she "didn't want to meet with him."  Good going mom!

I would be lying if I said that I don’t find this to be shocking. To know that out of EVERY THING (material Enzo could choose to have), or ANY PLACE (in the world Enzo could travel to) and out of EVERY PERSON on this earth he chose Ina, and she cannot see what an honor that is. And he wanted to actually be with her for NO reason other then to have her company and cook with her. I actually feel badly for her because Enzo has NOTHING but pure love and intensions and she will never get to have that experience with him and she is missing out on something so authentic and beautiful. 

Whine.  Cheese.  It takes real gall to think that The Barefoot Contessa owes the mother, or the child, for that matter -- neither of which she knows -- anything.  I find it extremely distasteful that the mother would use her child in such a manner, so that she could meet and cook with Ina.  Kids that age either watch mommy in the kitchen, or they do harmless stuff like hand mommy a spoon, or lick the bowl.

The mother's sense of disturbing.  Sure, it's flattering to know that someone you've never heard of wants to meet you, but that doesn't make it your obligation to cater to their demands.  The proper thing to do would have been to accept the "sorry, but no can do" answer, tell the child that "his" wish is impossible, and move on.  Instead, she made a long, whiny blog entry about what a jerk she thinks Ina is for not kowtowing to her son's wishes her demands.

No doubt, having a sick son is stressful, but there are some things you just don't do.  Whining on your blog and/or going to the press about it, fit that category.  The mother's way too old to be throwing a public temper tantrum like that.

To top it off, the kid did select a back up wish to go swim with dolphins, and is getting swimming lessons so he can do so.  I'd say it's a happy ending, for the kid, anyway.  The kid may be disappointed.  Maybe he isn't.  But the mother sounds really bitter, which is just wrong.

There's an interesting discussion here.  Evidently, I'm not the only person who feels the way I do about this subject.

Also, see this blog for a marvelously snarky take on the situation.  The comments are priceless.

Now, the boy's mother, who started the whole firestorm, wants to "stop the madness."  I don't think she "gets" it.  If she didn't want to cause Ina Garten any grief, then she shouldn't have posted that entry whining about how she couldn't understand how anyone could possibly deny her special snowflake son, and how he couldn't understand why Ina "didn't want to meet" him.  Basically, the mother blames the press.  What she doesn't understand is that half the kerfuffle is directed at her, not Ina, and it's because of her sense of entitlement evident in her own blog entry, not the press coverage.

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