Imagine my surprise when a friend told me that while Rosie O'Donnell made it clear in her blog that while she hadn't read my book, she declared--twice--that Little Pink Slips"seems kinda anti-gay 2 me."
I picked through the Crayola-colored rosie.com, read the entries and instantly felt wronged. Is everything "kinda anti-gay" to Rosie? Does she pass a pile of artichokes and think "those friggin' vegetables really have it in for the gay community? All those sharp ledges are pointing at us, saying no way can you people get married?" If a novel doesn't star a lesbian, is it anti-gay?
While I wasn't looking forward to working for Rosie a few years back when she took over McCall's magazine, I often tune into The View, where I usually side with Rosie on points political. I do, though, think it's regrettable that in her ardor she usually becomes the news, while whatever worthy issue she's supporting gets left in the dust created by the shouting stampede.
Because I like Rosie, I was especially ticked by her "anti-gay" knock. Being prone to second-guessing, however, I wondered, could little-old-blue-state me have written a book that's anti-gay without my realizing it?
I needed a second opinion. Who better than to turn to than Frederick Hertz, a San Francisco attorney and prominent gay advocate whose book, A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples (Nolo Press) is in its thirteenth edition? While Fred allowed that Little Pink Slips was set in "a world I travel in very infrequently" (breakfast at Michael's, anyone?) he reported that "I spotted nothing anti-gay at all. If anything it is anti-straight--as you certainly have some pretty nasty heterosexuals in the story."
Well, hey, the book is about the magazine industry.
I can tell you that this particular magazine industry heterosexual was beginning to feel pretty damn snappish. Short of writing Rosie and politely telling her she was drop-dead wrong, how could I stop Ms. O'Donnell from torpedoing Little Pink Slips in cyberspace? This, of course, is the single worst aspect of our beloved Internet, that false accusations, rumors and blatant untruthiness live on forever, dogging the wronged like mean-girl rumors from eighth grade. I'm not saying this just because I used to run a magazine with a dedicated fact-checking department.
While ruminating, I checked my Amazon.com sales figures, as all recently-published authors do reflexively every fifteen minutes. Whoa! I had a defender. Bless her lit-loving heart, Lisa K. Ericson of Monrovia, California, had leaped to my defense, pointing out that I'd written "a witty book obviously based on her ouster once Rosie O'Donnell took over and changed it to Rosie in an effort ...to be the next 'Oprah' of the magazine industry." (You may recall how well that turned out.)
"Koslow's book does not demonize Rosie...I mean 'Bebe Blake'.. loud-mouthed, over-bearing and used to getting her own way ...but she also has a heart and she's funny. I wish Rosie actually had the same brash honesty that Bebe Blake has...If implied homophobia is the best that Rosie can do...when there isn't any...I guess we can call it a good day."
It was a good day, at least for me. I learned that thanks to the blogosphere, we all can have our say--Rosie, yes, but Lisa K. Ericson, too. I also got an instant lesson on how synergistic and intimate media has become: magazine editors become novelists who enrage TV stars who rant on blogs, while ornery readers from Moravia, California respond on the soapbox we call the web. We're all one big, happy, dysfunctional family shouting over each other like real families do.
I'd like to discuss this further, but at as I am writing this The View is on and Rosie is wagging her finger at Elizabeth Hasselbeck, coming this close to calling her a fool. Elizabeth's chipmunk cheeks are getting as hot-pink as her adorable maternity top while Rosie spits statistics and proclaims that every government in the world, including ours, has "their own state-sponsored terrorism." Bill O'Reilly, I'm thinking, is going to be really pissed and somewhere, the cartoonist at the New York Post must be sharpening his pencil.
But hold on. The View isn't talking terrorism anymore. Rosie's segued to why everyone is constantly making anti-gay slurs.
This is damn good television and now that Rosie has abruptly left her bully pulpit I already miss her. I hope she has a good summer. Now maybe she'll have time to read Little Pink Slips. Even better, perhaps her next big project can be starring as Bebe Blake in the movie version.