Friday, April 1, 2011
Legend Is Not A Job Description
I do not like Dionne Warwick. I never really had a problem with her before, but after watching Celebrity Apprentice this season, the only opinion I could develop about her is a highly negative one. That's unfortunate because I was looking forward to liking her and admiring all her psychic powers. I'm quite aware, I'm totally dating myself. And I'm also aware that in using the term "dating myself," I'm dating myself even more.
Dionne Warwick is 70 (or thereabouts--that's what I heard people on the show say). As the apparent matriarch of the women's team, she deserves respect because, as a common courtesy, we respect the elderly. We allow for them to move more slowly, speak loudly and over people, and sometimes do less. They are old. They have earned that. NeNe Leakes of the Housewives of Atlanta took to calling her Miss Dionne automatically because Dionne Warwick is an old lady. That is respect. (I mean calling her Miss Dionne is respect, not calling her an old lady as I just have. I have no respect for her right now. I'm also not a fan of any of the Housewives shows, but NeNe, well, I'll get to her and why I like her more than I'll ever like Dionne Warwick).
Dionne Warwick was, and I suppose still is, a singer. Aside from "That's What Friends Are For," I have no idea what she has sung. In fact, I'm only iffy on whether or not she participated in "That's What Friends Are For." The 80s were quite some time ago. Since then, what has she done? Better yet, before then, what did she do? I used to confused Dionne Warwick with Aretha Franklin because out of every song Aretha Franklin sings I would guess that at least one was Dionne Warwick. That never was the case.
So her career is singer. However, Donald Trump would have you think her job is "Legend" since that's how he refers to her. That's how a lot of the people on the show refer to her. She's an older singer who made a name for herself and then went on to promote the Psychic Friends Network at 2 AM on Saturdays. That translates to legend, I guess.
Some of the women were delicate in describing her actions to Trump in the boardroom. Others would not complain at all. There's a thin line between respect and fear, and I think they mostly feared her.
Dionne Warwick fights dirty. When Niki Taylor was running the project, Dionne basically picked a fight in front of a bunch of clients. When Niki Taylor asked Dionne to speak to her like an adult, Dionne insisted she was being an adult, and then called Niki Taylor a hussy when she walked away. That's what legends are made of.
Then, after leaving a project early when NeNe was in charge, she lied to Trump in the boardroom, saying she asked if she could leave. No, she packed up her stuff and walked up to NeNe. NeNe was like, Oh you're leaving? She said, yes. That's how legends ask.
So after Dionne Warwick gets herself fired for not contributing and saying that if the team thinks she should go, then she should go, they all walk out and she calls NeNe a coward.
Here's a woman who has gotten her way and been in charge for a very long time. Here's someone who sings for a living and, because of that, has been called a legend. She's a legend in her own mind, a mind that replays reality in a very different way from the way in which events actually happened.
Even in being called a coward, NeNe calls her Miss Dionne. And that's why I like NeNe Leakes. She doesn't let a supposed-legend get the best of her. In fact, she seems upset that the legend thinks of her in such a way. Dionne Warwick insists she asked permission to leave and that NeNe lied to save her own ass.
If I were on the team, I would have said this: Dionne doesn't do much, she moves too slowly, she needs to be told step by step and bit by bit what's going on around her, she's too territorial, and quite frankly, she sucked in the commercial they made. It was weird. Why was she a host mom in France? Why was she wearing a beret? Inside the house? But perhaps, that's the only thing that wasn't her fault. Unless she told wardrobe that she was a legend in charge of her own outfit, too.
Marlee Matlin explained the situation best. First, a sidenote--Dionne Warwick had a difficulty time recognizing that when Marlee Matlin's interpreter was speaking he was speaking for Marlee Matlin and not for himself, so she kept addressing him instead of Marlee Matlin and he had to kept saying, This is what Marlee is saying.
Anyway, Marlee Matlin said this in the boardroom: "She intimidates me as a person. She has a very strong personality...People tell me that she's a legend and I respect that, but I just don't get it."
Trump responds: "What do you mean people tell you? You don't know that she's a legend?"
Marlee Matline: "Well, I'm deaf!"
And what made that twice as good was that her interpreter said it with a look on his face like "What the hell is wrong with you?!"
Exactly. You can be a legend in your field, but that does not translate into life. You can't write down legend on your resume unless you're going into that same kind of job. Plus, if you need to send out a resume, you're not a legend to begin with. Legend is subjective. Respect is earned and easily lost. And a sore loser is simply sad, a sad 70 year old with a God complex.