Recently, a lot of media and cultural snark has been directed at this image:

GR selfie

(pictured: Geraldo Rivera)

Don’t believe me? Troll around some, maybe for like 15 seconds. People have been saying all kinds of mean things, things like:

Super gross.

No. No, no, no.

I cannot unsee Geraldo Rivera’s naked selfie. So much wrong. So. Much. Wrong.

I thought my grandpa dying was the worst thing to happen today…

Though I’m not providing you with attributions, trust me: these are all quotes. Many of them are much worse, and some come from people who adamantly don’t like to be teased themselves. And a few of them even come from members of sex positive and/or academic communities.

At first, when I had just seen only the image via my twitter feed, I was a little confused and moderately mortified – isn’t this a little mean? who is this guy that everyone’s making fun of? and why do people seem to think it’s ok to shame the hell out of his “naked selfie”? (especially people who should know better)

…because, and I swear to you on my life, I did not recognize this man as Geraldo Rivera at first.

But I figured it out quickly enough when I went to grab the picture… and then a strange thing happened: I got even more pissed/sad-mortified!!

Really? About Geraldo Rivera? yep.

Here’s the thing: I know little to nothing about Geraldo – he’s supposedly a hack journalist, he had (has?) a talk show, one time a long time ago someone threw a chair at him (I think..?) and broke his nose, he’s a lawyer..? But he’s also a person; and, being a person, he has a self image and a sexual expression. And though we may not like him or his overall schtick, that doesn’t make it ok to body and age shame him.

Because we totally did that.

Geraldo has since removed his “70 is the new 50″ tweet and has gone on the defensive, citing tequila as being responsible for his gross lapse in judgement. He seems regretful and embarrassed. But he’s a celebrity and a man so who gives a shit, right?


(pictured: grabbed by me on 7/21, infamous tweet now gone last I looked on 7/23)

Incidentally, we don’t care about lady celebrities either…

Consider Amanda Bynes. I actually think I know less about her than Geraldo. But I do know that she’s gone off the deep end lately, making all kinds of outrageous and offensive statements and generally acting like a bored, privileged, talentless Hollywood actor who deserves our derision..?

Or maybe she’s acting like a woman in crisis in the middle of a nervous breakdown? I don’t know, but maybe that mandatory 5150 hold that happened on Monday is saying something…


(pictured: Amanda Bynes)

Look, I get it. It’s OK to hate on “celebrities” – they have “everything” and we have nothing (??), plus they live in the public eye voluntarily so they’re asking for it. Except for not really.

I remember that Britney Spears meltdown from, like, 20 years ago (jk – 2008)… and then there’s also that long slow LiLo spiral that keeps happening and happening… and I admit I laughed at the trailers for *both* Hustler parodies. But is that ok?

(incidentally, Britney, Lindsay, and Amanda have all been in the public eye since they were pretty much children – consequently, I think “consent” to public scrutiny in these instances is a little muddy)


(pictured: Hustler’s Untrue Hollywood Stories – Lindsay Lohan)

Is it ok to laugh at someone who’s in crisis, even if that person is behaving like an asshole or a dick pic dude? And are those sorts of behaviors qualitatively different when someone seems to be struggling with their mental health? Comparably, is it ok mock a person’s sexual expression, even if it comes in the form of drunken internet foolishness?

I don’t think so, and it bothers me when I see others do it… especially people who should know better and/or would object to such treatment if it were directed at them.

In my view, we should be taking these Amanda- and Geraldo-type opportunities to consider myriad bigger picture issues – money and fame can’t buy mental health… isn’t it interesting that people who have “everything” still experience daily life stresses and struggles, as well as loneliness and insecurity… and what kind of world do we live in that compels us to post semi-naked selfies, sober or otherwise? What does this say about identity, sexualities, and our general concept of the world around us?

It might be easier to laugh, but perhaps it’s more constructive to consider the wider social synergy that involves Amanda, Geraldo, Lindsay, Britney, their selfies… and you?

Reprinted from – Critical Commentary on Adult Production [2010 – 2014]

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