I Feel A Need

I’m quite possibly going to regret opening my big mouth here, but I was never one to do the expedient thing and  there’s something that I can’t get out of my head and it’s bugging me. Over at “Let’s Have A Cocktail” Jenny Mac wrote this post about something that was apparently in Vanity Fair and I’m confused by it. It’s about Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum and everyone seems to be up in arms about it. And the thing that bothers me most is probably the fact that I just don’t get it.

I should point out here that I’m not American (as I’m sure most people reading this will know), nor do I have a clue who Run DMC are (is?), or read Vanity Fair, so I am at something of a disadvantage in this. To be brutally honest, not only do I not know much about Ryan O’Neal or his daughter, but under normal circumstances, I could hardly care less about any of this.

And yet it’s bugging me. Why are people I regard as educated and liberal minded so incensed by this? If they are, then why am I not?

Okay, perhaps I should just recap what I know of this (which isn’t much). It seems that Ryan O’Neal was at the funeral of his long term lover Farrah Fawcett who died earlier this year. Now, he’s perhaps got a few drink related problems as (apparently) has his daughter the thirty six year old Tatum who someone commented looked ten years older than that. It seems that, briefly and rather clumsily he “hit on Tatum” when she came up to him at the funeral and flung her arms around him – apparently because he didn’t immediately recognise her, or did he and he was just joking (perhaps in poor taste)?

I agree that, on the face of it, that action sounds kind of gross to be polite about it. But is it? More to the point (in my opinion) why is it of concern to the rest of us? I don’t have any idea what this man’s relationship is with his daughter: Does he see her regularly? Has he seen her for years? Do they both even live in the same country? Had she just come out of rehab, or was she perhaps more than ready to go back in at the time?

What I do know is that he and Farrah Fawcett had a better relationship than many I know and that they were close; he had been a major strength to her during her long and very public fight against cancer; and they had stood together through an horrendously traumatic time whilst she, to be blunt about it, was dying and they both knew it.

I cannot imagine doing that! For that matter, I can’t imagine allowing anyone close to me to be involved in something that painful with me. So, whatever sort of a heel some people might think he is, or was, during this episode, I for one am more than prepared to cut the guy a little slack! So, he was probably drunk (out of his skull maybe – I know I might well have been in his situation). So, maybe it was in rather bad taste to supposedly hit on another woman at his lover’s funeral, but hey, which of us knows what instructions Farrah gave him? Like maybe “go out and get laid the day I die!” It’s not unusual for a genuine lover to say something silly like that.

However, we’re not talking here even about any serious approach as far as I’m aware – we’re just talking about a guy who was probably drunk, may have been stricken with grief and not thinking very straight and almost certainly not paying attention to the woman who approached him and who might well have been pretty unrecognisable at the time. On that point I should say that I’ve stood in a car-park full of people in the UK and not recognised my own daughter who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years – until she spoke at least – because boy, had she put on some weight at the time and I was, frankly, shocked! Heck, these guys might just have been joking around for all we know.

One last thing I’d like to say on this and then I’m going to shut up and try to forget it – Ryan O’Neal is, I believe of Irish descent and their idea (as far as I understand it) is not to mourn the dead, but to celebrate the fact that the person lived and mattered to us and I think that’s a very good way to regard Farrah Fawcett. So, I don’t think people should apply their particular conventions to someone else’s behaviour in a situation like this that doesn’t affect them directly – in this case, as far as I know, we’re not even talking about someone they know.

I apologise to all you ladies (and a few guys) who I might have upset by this little outburst. I might have got it wrong, in which case I’m sorry for that too. But just this once I really disagree with you all – not least because I don’t think it really matters a damn what Ryan O’Neal did or didn’t say, whenever it was – and Tatum O’Neal is, I’m sure, more than capable of putting him straight if he was out of order with her. They’re celebrities for heaven’s sake! Who cares?

4 Responses to “I Feel A Need”

  1. First of all, how could you get it wrong if that’s your opinion? Your opinion is valid, your perspective is just different from many of those who chose to comment. I’ll bet among her hundreds of readers, there were many who felt like you and chose not comment.

    I can’t speak for anyone else; I just thought the whole episode and its recounting lacked decorum. Weddings and funerals themselves, not so much the celebrations thereafter, have a certain amount of propriety associated with them in this country. To be acting otherwise BEFORE the party makes many people, me included, feel uncomfortable.

    Additionally, many bloggers are women and would not want to have their fathers hit on them …or their husbands hit on their daughters. EWWWW!

    As for not recognizing your daughter or son whom you’ve not seen in a period of time? Normal. Hitting on them? EWWWW!

    • Thank you for that. When I said I might have got it wrong, I meant more that I might have totally misunderstood what occurred. However, I think now that I was just a bit shocked to find myself at such odds apparently with most of the people I regard in some ways as “friends”, although I normally just love a good heated debate – for the fun of it!

      Yes, I can certainly see where you’re coming from on the “decorum” angle and you’re right of course, but then these guys are (as I said) celebrities and, like politicians, I think it’s often fanciful in the extreme to expect much better from them.

      As to the “hitting on his daughter” I can see your feeling there too and, put that way, it does make one feel uncomfortable at the very least. The fact is though, I think, that we’re both right in a way because (from the little I’ve learnt of this) it’s clear to me that he had no idea for a few moments that it was his daughter who had hung herself round his neck.

      Perhaps I’m being a naive, or too generous here, but I just think the guy might well have been in a very weird place in his head at the time and probably drunk too. But then who can blame him too much for that when you consider what he had been through with the lovely Farrah and his normal drink related problems anyway.

  2. The interesting thing that I did not print is that both daughter and father wrote it off as “just him being him”. His daughter was not the least bit surprised or aghast that he did it and said that basically, he has always behaved this way.

    And I appreciate your opinion and am sure that some people did think it ill not only the incident but the reiteration of it.

    • Thanks for the comment. I wasn’t (I hope you realise) trying to lessen the importance of your post, but more to ask why so many people seemed to think it mattered so much.

      I quite agree that the whole matter was probably best fogotten by the people involved, but, as I said, these are celebrities and nothing much surprises me about what happens in LaLa Land 🙂

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