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Entries in jon and kate (38)

Tuesday
Jan112011

Interview with US Weekly Reporter Al Walentis

This interview is about 1.5 pages of the 15 page interview with Al Walentis, the rest of which will be in my book.  Al is a local journalist who worked for US Weekly covering the Gosselin story during the summer of 2009.  I included some of your questions to Al here, and since Al and I had an actual discussion during this interview you'll see that the three interview participants are Al (AW) Me (WG) and "Reader."  Reader, of course, represents your questions to Al. This interview took place on December 20, 2010, the week after the Alaska episode aired.

 

Al is a local journalist who worked for US Weekly covering the Gosselin story during the summer of 2009.    His book, which covers those months of working for US, can be found at the link to the right.  It's the only book written about the Gosselins other than those with Kate's name attached to them.  If he were to write the book today, I'm sure it would be a completely different story. 

 

Al Walentis, cap on, is looking toward the house to the right, right before the paps on the milk crate blocked me from taking his picture.  Many paparazzi don't like to have their pictures taken because it hinders their work when they're recognized.  (A picture of Milk Crate Guy blocking my shot can be seen in Al's book.)

 Reader: Do you think Kate or her people throw money at tabloids or paparazzi to make them go away or hush them up?

 

AW: No, I think the alternative is that Kate herself can be a source of information directly. It could go one of two ways. If it's a source close to Kate and it's something positive, she could have someone else pass it along, or she could be just like Jon and she could contact the tabloids directly.

 

Reader: Do the Gosselins attract a lot of gawkers when they go out in public?

 

WG: I don't think so, and I never understood why she needed a bodyguard [at home or when shopping locally] in the first place, do you?

 

AW: During that summer, June, July and part of August 2009, when there was a media hoard at the house, she probably did. Before that, she didn't have the media camping out down in front, and she could come and go and they could call a photographer if they wanted to have their picture taken. Then I think Kate thought it got out of control because the photographers were there, and she probably asked TLC to provide a bodyguard [other than Steve] to keep people outside of the gate and to keep people from coming inside.

The gawkers would come to the house because they deliberately sought the Gosselins out, but otherwise you don't see people gathering around when they're out in public.

 

WG: Kate had ample room behind the house where they could have picnics or play without any photographers being able to see them. If she hated the photographers as much as she said, why not just go back there?

 

AW: That was always the case, and begged the question, why would Jon sit in the bay of his garage, when he could go twenty feet and dip his feet into the swimming pool, or put a lounge chair back there? Both of them knew exactly what they were doing and where the photographers were. Jon, during the summer when he was represented by Mike Heller, decided to let the photographers in on everything, whereas Kate always likes to control what she's doing, and she always looked concerned when they would get photos of her shopping. Maybe that was because then, photographers could actually get in her space rather then being behind the fence where she could control them. Here she was, out in public, and her response was to absolutely ignore everything.

 

WG: Act like she was pretending it wasn't happening, make no eye contact or anything. That's how she was with everyone at the corn maze. She would walk right by people and literally act like they weren't even there.

 

AW: Oh yeah, that's how she's always had been since the beginning of my involvement with the story. She was that way to everyone. There was one exception, when Chris got the video of her at the grocery store and she did respond to him verbally. There was one other time, it might have been when the dogs got out, and my partner waited for her at the gate and said something to her about getting them back inside, and she said, “thank you.” But nothing beyond that.

 

Reader: Why did you treat Kate so kindly and treat Jon so shabbily?

 

AW: I don't think I treated Kate kindly, but the Kate camp is very close-mouthed and you're not going to get anything other than the instances of people having encounters with her in public, like her wanting $20 for an autograph and things like that.

 

Reader: Were you ever contacted by TLC, Figure 8 films, or a PR rep or anyone in regards to telling you that you shouldn't be writing the book?

 

AW: No, never. I think TLC doesn't want to call attention to it, and their concern might be that if they read it and could see that someone from TLC cooperated with it, it would be in violation of their internal policies.

 

Reader: Did your source pull out of your book because he was intimidated by Kate?

 

AW: No. Jon and Kate didn't even know I was writing the book, other than when I tried to approach Jon to comment on it. Approaching Kate would've been futile, and that would've only been pretense anyway, because she would have called TLC and TLC would have said “absolutely not.”

Jon at that point didn't care if I was writing it or not, but at that time he was operating under the assumption that he was going to get his own book deal and also be able to sell his life story.

 

WG: It seems to me that people have the impression you're still in the loop. They're not understanding that this was a temporary thing for you because you worked for a couple of months for US Weekly during the summer of 2009.

 

AW: Even if my US Weekly partner and I were still friendly, he's probably out of the loop now. At the time he was telling me that Jon was a friend, but he also seemed to realize that Jon could drop him in an instant, and each one was using the other and as soon as it was not to either's advantage to be so-called friends, that was going to end.

Do you think that Jon is being sincere now?

 

WG: I really do. I've always thought that goofy summer of 2009 was just Jon acting out and having his second childhood, and I still think that. From my perspective, I think the whole experience he went through was traumatic, not only the reality TV show but the marriage, the relationship was very abusive and traumatic to him, so I think he was shell-shocked, and that wasn't the real Jon. I think the Jon we're seeing now is the real Jon. I think by nature he's probably monogamous and faithful, and he went just haywire for a while.

 

AW: If Jon chose to talk about his life today and how he's a changed man, I would be happy to write an addendum and update the edition.

 

~END~

 



Wednesday
Nov242010

The Importance of Emotional Nutrition

This year’s Thanksgiving and recent speculation about the kids’ recycled lunches has me thinking about the importance of our emotional relationships with food.  Food has been a recurring theme in the Gosselin children's history, and what could be a vehicle for teaching nutrition and family closeness has sometimes appeared to be a battle of wills and volleying for control.  Viewers noticed early on that the kids were fed in high chairs and drinking out of sippy cups beyond their age-appropriate readiness for “big” chairs and regular cups.  There have been several instances of the kids being reprimanded for making messes with food.  And in at least one instance the kids were given treats, only to have their mother snatch them away because they were drippy or sticky.

There have been other times when the kids’ hunger or thirst was met with parental control.  Many viewers have noticed that the children are given small portions of food, to the degree of being given a limited amount of grapes.  One day after making cupcakes for their birthdays, the boys didn’t finish their dinners, so viewers watched them cry at the table as their sisters enjoyed their cupcakes while the boys were not allowed to have theirs.  When the kids went to Henry's farm they were fed the same dinner on three consecutive nights:  were they being re-served their previous meals because they did not finish them adequately?  And who can forget the time one of the twins said she was very thirsty and her parent intentionally drank water in front of her without giving her any?

Eating is about much more than satisfying physical hunger, especially in homes where putting food on the table is not a financial challenge.  We eat not only to fill our bellies, but also to satisfy our emotional appetites for conversation, socialization and family time.  We develop self-esteem as we look around a table of family members who make eye contact with us, listen to us, ask our opinions, laugh with us, and value our thoughts and feelings.   These moments give us happy memories for the rest of our lives.

Most parents no longer make kids clean off their plates the way our parents did years ago, along with guilting us with stories of starving children in Africa (or India or China, insert your respective guilt-producing country here.)  Today most parents understand that force-feeding children, as well as depriving them, can cause all sorts of body image problems and eating disorders later in life.  We also know that eating disorders are related to self-esteem and control issues.  In our culture, eating disorders are rampant, body image distortion is out of control, and obesity is an epidemic.  Two hundred years ago eating was about staying alive, one hundred years ago it was about nutrition, and now it’s about filling that big void inside, and I’m not talking about our stomachs.

There's also the fat issue.  What kinds of messages are the kids getting about how what we eat effects how we look, especially the girls?  Their mother has undergone an extreme physical transformation and no longer looks like the mom they knew when they were younger.   Are they learning to eat to be healthy within their own natural body types, or to eat to be thin?

What kinds of messages do you think the Gosselin children have gotten about food, sustenance, nutrition, parenting and family from these instances?  What do you think happens to kids when food becomes adversarial?  And how do you think their emotional relationships with food may impact their feelings about themselves?

I look forward to your input, and I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and healthy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday
Nov102010

The Truth About the School Situation ~ Two Expelled, Not Suspended

It has now come out from HollyBaby and other sources that two of the children were expelled from their private school located in Lancaster County, PA.   I've known about this for a while but was hoping it wouldn't become public knowledge.   I was hoping that just this once some school employee or parent of another student wouldn't sell out and further hurt these kids.   I certainly wasn't going to tell.    It is the kind of thing I don't normally write about because it is painful and only adds to the already-overflowing heap of unhappy documentation these kids are going to have to hash through over many years when they're ready to try to make sense of their childhoods.    Which they most certainly eventually will.

 

In this previous blog post  I wrote about a family dynamic known in the field of counseling as  the "identified patient."   At the time of that writing there was one child who was regularly singled out as being a troublemaker.  We now have two more identified patients within the Gosselin family.               

 

We are talking about six year old kids here.   Flesh and blood young emotionally tender children who are still in early stages of development.   They have consistently shown in many ways that they just want to be home, they want to be loved by their parents, they want to have friends, and they want to have normal fun like other kids.  They are no different from kids that we all know, all have, and all were.   Yet they were driven to the point where they had to have monitors with them at all times at school because of repeated incidents of acting out, and eventually they were expelled because even that wasn't enough.

 

No doubt this news will precipitate lots of talk about the children.   Let's try to utilize the news to create a better childhood for the eight.   Their father has been trying to get them off TV, they have said they don't want to do it, and they have been showing progressive signs of unhappiness and dysfunction through behavioral problems.   These behavioral problems are consistent with those of other kids who have been unhappy and exploited in entertainment.  Enough is enough.

 

Please be kind in your comments, here and on other sites.   This is not something to be glib, sarcastic or speak lightly about.   These kids need to have their chidhoods given back to them and they need senistivity, not avoiding feelings or the Joan Crawford approach to parenting.   This is a sorry train that's now run off it's very sad tracks.

 

NOTE:  During this discussion I will continue my policy of not printing individual children's names.



Tuesday
Oct192010

Jon Tweet #2 ~ We Continue To Be Proud of You!

 

TwitLonger

For when you talk too much for twitter

Jon Gosselin

On Tuesday 19th October 2010, at about 1PM EST  said:

"Due to the overwhelming amount of questions, statements, false statements in the media, I would like to clarify a few things.
First and foremost, for people who did not watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, I stated years ago, and on television, that I no longer wanted to film and wanted my privacy back. This is not a decision I made lightly or without weighing all the factors involved. The negative effects on my family was my greatest concern and far outweigh any monetary gain we received. Today, my children are much older than when we first started. They are acutely aware their life is markedly different from their peers. They are six, and ten, and have to deal with the paparazzi! They can’t visit a public place without a crowd gathering to stare or people snapping pictures with cell phones.

Whether the children want to film or not is completely irrelevant. Children rely on the guidance of the adults in their life to ensure their best interest. Left to their own most children would not eat properly, visit the dentist, or complete their homework. Do you think a child would choose a day on the beach instead of attending school? Of course. Is this the best thing for them? Is it the child’s decision to make? Of course not.

I am acutely aware of the mistakes I made in 2009 and I am ashamed of the choices I made. I have apologized to Kate, my family, and to my friends. Through counseling I have learned to own my actions. My goal is to move forward in a positive direction.

Lastly, my children have experienced a lot of life changes in a short period of time; new home, new school, parents divorced, increased media attention, and much more. Obviously it would be short-sighted to declare that all of their current struggles are attributed to one factor. These multiple changes are exactly why I feel they need privacy, stability, and security. Filming and displaying their private lives at this time is not in their best interest."

Good job Jon!  Keep up the great work~ we're behind you all the way!
Werny Gal
Sunday
Sep262010

Child Labor Law Hearings ~ Harrisburg PA ~ 9/23/10

On Wednesday, Irene Smith from Mississippi and Sherry T. from Ohio came to my little town of Wernersville PA.  I gave them the grand tour of our little burg, which takes of all ten minutes, and they enjoyed an Italian sandwich from CC's (made famous in the Al Walentis book The Secret World of Jon and kate:  The Stupidest Story in the History of the Universe and the People Who Covered It, click at image on right to buy) while I lunched on lighter fare and antibiotics to ease my sinus-infection and strep-throat ridden stomach.  I presented Irene with a gag gift I made for her, based on her name for the main drag of Wernersville, or to quote Kate Gosselin, Ghettoville.   Here is Irene, proudly displaying her nifty gift.

After lunch the three of us drove to Harrisburg for the next day's hearings on House Bill 2515, Rep. Thomas Murt's legislation drafted to address deficiencies in PA's child labor law as it relates to television and film productions in the Commonwealth.  At our hotel in Harrisburg we met up with Janet Palazzatto and Paul Petersen of A Minor Consideration, and Dr. Jay Shankman of New York and Marianne of Pittsburg, two more supporters of the new legislation.  Later we all headed out to dinner where we met up with others who either support the bill or were scheduled to testify on its behalf the next day.

From the left:  Rep Tom Murt, Janet Palazzotto of A Minor Consideration, Sherry T.,  Werny Gal/Polly kahl,  Dr Jay Shankman,  Paul Petersen, Alison Arngrim, Irene Smith, Marianne from Pittsburg, and Jon Provost.  Paul, as most of you know, played Jeff Stone on The Donna Reed Show, Alison Arngrim played Nellie on Little House on the Prairie and John Provost played Timmy on Lassie.  Alison is also involved with a wonderful organization called Protect.

Paul was surprised with a wee slice of cake embellished with a small jukebox (in appreciation of his hit records from when he was a best-selling superstar hottie, not that he's not still a hottie) and we all sang a riotous version of Happy Birthday to him, in unison if not in tune.   A Minor Consideration had been meeting with legislators all day and it was nice to see them relaxing before the hearings the next morning.  Later, back at the hotel, Irene, Sherry and I had a long soothing swim in the hotel pool before collapsing into our cozy beds.

Two bills addressing the needs of children in entertainment in PA are now up for consideration.  Bill 19 was drafted in response to Bill 2515.  Between the two of them, they offer several solid solutions to some of the legal lackings in our current child labor laws.   Hopefully both sides can come together on this non-partisan issue and unite the strongest elements of both bills to create fair and stringent laws protecting children in entertainment in PA. 

Unfortunately, I was too ill to attend the hearings, although I was able to watch the second half on a live feed online from my luxurious hotel bed.  I will post a link to the hearings as soon as it is made available again online.  I would have loved to have been there physically, to support my friends who have worked so hard on behalf of this important legislation, and I also would have liked to have personally met the Kreiders to thank them for their courage in testifying at the April hearings.  Still, I felt very blessed to have been able to enjoy dinner, including both serious conversations and a great deal of laughter, with such a sincere, hard working and dedicated group of child advocates.

Although this entire situation (the family conflicts, the media frenzy, the divorce, etc.) has no doubt been very hard on the Gosselins, I hope some day they will look back and realize that because of their filming in PA, legislators here have been given a valuable opportunity to update our very outdated (and in some cases, nonexistant) child labor laws.   Even without their direct testimonies, the Gosselins will always be an important part of PA history of which they can be proud:  Improving the future lives of many children in this State by contributing to laws which make it a safe and child-friendly place to not only live, but to work as well.