It’s always a touchy thing when someone you don’t know but hate with a vengeance has something terrible happen to them.
Sometimes when you hate someone, you say you want bad things to happen to them but most of the time you don’t really. At least, I don’t, or maybe it’s that I try to not mean it. Sometimes it’s hard not to, sometimes you just despise a person with such ferocity that you can’t believe yourself. And I’m not even talking about the people who know in your real life, I’m talking about celebrities and pseudo-celebrities who you somehow can’t avoid, the people for whom wishing ill doesn’t really seem to mean that much, even less than wishing ill on people who you interact with everyday, even though you don’t have control over any of it anyway, it just feels more real. But that’s all hypothetical. Sometimes, you have been wishing ill on or making fun of or talking about how terrible someone is for so long that eventually something terrible happens to them.
You feel a little responsible even though you, of course, had nothing to do with it. I had nothing to do with, for example, the death last summer of LFO leader Rich Cronin but I felt terrible when he died not because I liked him but because I savaged him endlessly. For years and years, LFO and their hit “Summer Girls” was my personal short hand for “really fucking terrible” and I mockingly quoted him all the time, focusing especially on his more bone-headed lines from that song, my personal favorite being the complete nonsequitor line “Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets,” complete with exaggerated Boston accent. When Cronin died, I felt terrible for having unsuspectingly used him as the butt of a thousand jokes and the embodiment of all the crappy shit our culture was capable of churning out that I feel superior to. I tried to curb my feelings of abject hatred toward people who don’t know I exist after that yet I found myself in exactly the same position on Monday morning when news spread that E! News host and would-be reality star Giuliana Rancic had announced her breast cancer diagnosis on the Today Show.
Let me be plain about this: I have always hated Giuliana. I hated her when she was paired with Patrick Stinson and went without a last name. I hate her continual air of celebrity adoration, how she uses her job as a way to be close to people she admires and knows she can never be. I hate her ridiculous hair extensions, her bullshit claims about eating properly, her serious news voice. Most of all, I hate her fake ass reality show, the way she has obscured the truth of a fertility struggle to make herself a victim, a martyr and hero all at once. To me, that’s really the most indefensible part of her existence, that she willfully lies while talking about preaching truth, and, speaking as someone whose wife went through similar troubles, I am keenly aware of just how manipulated her show is.
And then she announced her breast cancer and while I feel terrible for her that she has it, I have come to realize something else: I still hate Giuliana Rancic.
First, this isn’t a coming out, Giuliana, you don’t need to announce this on a national morning show and then go on your own goddamn show twelve hours later and get interviewed by your fucking partner. I’m sure this is really tough on you, but you can’t really claim ever again that you want privacy or space or whatever when you’ve put this out there specifically for the purpose of being talked about. You could have just as easily announced that you are taking a medical leave of absence from your job via E! press release or on Twitter and gone home to prepare yourself for surgery and then manage a hopefully speedy recovery. But you didn’t do any of that, did you G, you needed to be front and center - to make yourself the supposed face of a story that everyone already knows. And, that whole thing about being an inspiration to other women to go get checked is so fucking hollow and false because you are obviously totally and completely lying about a part of this story.
That lie was revealed when Giuliana told Ann Curry that she was forced by her new fertility doctor to get a mammogram and later told Seacrest that she initially balked at the idea because of her age, she’s only 37. Except she must have done more than balk: it is a fertility cycle requirement that women undergoing IVF get a mammogram at the beginning of every cycle, trust me, I know, my wife went through four of them. This means one of two things are true: either Giuliana’s first doctor is a total hack who should lose his licence (and deserves to be sued for medical malpractice for missing this) or Giuliana’s reluctance to get a mammogram before her third cycle was actually preceded by a flat out refusal to get one before her first two. Now, in truth, I’m speculating but Giuliana has never shown that she is above this kind of behavior; we are, after all, talking about a woman who refused to gain weight to help her chances to conceive because of her job. And while it is true that Hollywood loves thin women, that example points out how clearly this is all just an exercise in publicity for her: women who really want a child don’t give a shit about petty things like an extra ten pounds if it will help them conceive. Women who really want a child put their lives on hold if they have to, they don’t maximize their visibility by hosting beauty pageants in crotch-exposing ball gowns. Giuliana didn’t do these things, either because she is not a woman who truly wants a child (she would much rather just have the publicity) or she is so fucking dense that she actually thinks the force of her fame can will her desires into being.
I’m not happy that Giuliana has cancer and I’m not happy that she has had trouble conceiving. But I have absolutely no intention of changing my opinion of her because of this, on the contrary, this has validated all the bad things I already believed. Maybe that’s not fair, well actually it definitely is not fair, but it is the truth. Cancer or not, I still hate Giuliana Rancic.
Get well soon.