Let me start off by saying this. I have appreciated Ellen DeGeneres‘ ability to be engaging and entertaining. If I turned on the TV and the Ellen DeGeneres Show was on, I’d mostly watch it. I thought the little kids she would have on were adorable. That she did a good job at representing who she was and what she stood for as a gay woman. I thought it was sweet that she tried to make her audience and fans feel special.
But I didn’t enjoy the ‘nice’ persona. It’s not because I didn’t like the way she used it. I’ve just never liked ‘nice’ people. I’ve never liked this idea that you had to be ‘nice.’ My preference is always for people to be authentic.
All the ‘nice’ people I know have been problematic, two-faced fakes who were completely not nice underneath. They use their ‘nice’ facade to hide more problematic views and opinions that can sometimes even be relatively inoffensive. They’re just so worried about how they appear that they feel the need to mask over everything.
So I like when people are nice (obviously). I just don’t like ‘nice people’. And Ellen is a ‘nice’ person.’
‘Nice’ people are disingenuous and my body has a strong reaction to that type of nonsense.
So I wasn’t surprised when Ellen DeGeneres defended the war Criminal, George Bush by saying:
“I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have…Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean, ‘Be kind to everyone, it doesn’t matter.’”
At no point has anyone said that you cannot be friends – or at least friendly – with people who don’t hold the same views that you do. In fact, we should engage with and befriend people who hold contrary views to ensure that we don’t get stuck in a vacuum of our own beliefs.
But George Bush is a WAR CRIMINAL.
The invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the false pretence of dealing with Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (which has now been well and truly been proven to be a lie) did not just destroy Iraq – it destabilised the Middle East, spurred on the creation of ISIS, and resulted in the dehumanising of Arabs. And are we forgetting the politically motivated torture in Guantanamo?
So when ‘nice’ Ellen tries to make us feel warm and tingly about her ol’ mate, George, the ‘nice’ person becomes problematic. It becomes a source of oppression and repression of legitimate concerns about the actions of others. In choosing to be ‘kind,’ Ellen basically tries to prevent us from holding George accountable.
This left a sour taste in my mouth and I started to realise that Ellen’s spark has faded over the years and her kindness has lost its sincerity.
The only reason I’m writing about this now is because last week Ellen got into a strange… overly ‘nice’ back and forth with Dakota Johnson about whether she had invited Ellen to her birthday party. For those of you who haven’t seen the awkward exchange, Ellen gets fake offended about Dakota not inviting her to her birthday party. Dakota says she did. Ellen says she didn’t. Dakota tells her to ask her producers. Her producers try to hush her up and then Ellen remembers why she didn’t make it to the party.
As it turns out, it was that weekend that she happened to be hanging out with the war criminal at a football game.
It is not lost on me (or others) that Ellen’s status as a rich, white woman influences how she sees the world. It’s not lost on me that her privilege allows her to agree to disagree with a literal war criminal who has permanently destroyed large parts of the Arab world. This exchange just allowed us to see that privilege in stark contrast to the ‘nice’ lady she portrays.
As a ‘nice’ person, Ellen has essentially swept such a humongous, terrible thing under the rug in favour of everyone being bffs and putting differences aside. This is something I absolutely despise about nice people – an inability to accept or deal with negative realties, even when they’re glaringly obvious… even when they themselves cause them.
In this way, being ‘nice’ becomes a shield against criticism because clearly the nice person means well and clearly they just want everyone to get along.
But at what cost?
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