Kate Gosselin and The Cosmic Shame
by Jeff Silvey
On Monday, Kate Gosselin went on The Today Show to speak with Matt Lauer about the recent cancellation of her TLC reality show Kate Plus 8. She said that losing her show felt like “the end of an era.” According to her, the show was the “start of her career,” and it’s the way she’s been providing for her kids for the last six years. Though hopeful for the future and the continuation of this career, she admitted,”It’s a little scary.”
However, the show’s cancellation wasn’t so frightful for her ex-husband, Jon Gosselin. Speaking recently, he said he was glad the show was cancelled, so his kids can return to a normal life and get the real attention they need. He also stated that being on a reality show isn’t a real job. When asked about Jon’s reaction, Kate had this to say:
“It’s a situation where, you know, Jon may be accepting of mediocre for his kids and working a regular job. I want the best for my kids and the best opportunities, not unlike every parent. I think that to be a good parent is to work as hard as you can and give them the best opportunities in life, and this has provided that.”
Aside from the obvious insult to all working parents in the world who aren’t celebrities, there is a larger question here. The question of dream vs. delusion. This reminds me of a post I read last night. On Keeping Sane, blogger Kat Ward wrote:
“And, every day I vow to not give up on my dream to be a published writer who can actually sell enough books so that I can write full-time. But, is this delusional? Parents aren’t supposed to be delusional, are they? Chasing a pipe dream is not the best example for a child.”
Tenacious D wrote about this in their song, “The Cosmic Shame.” It’s all about how following your heart can go either way: it may be the right thing, or it may steer you painfully wrong. They implore you, “Set the artist free. Quit your day job. Focus on your craft, one time.” But when is that a waste of time, and how do we know if we’re following a pipe dream? Or if we do quit, are we settling for mediocre?
Here is what I see as criteria for avoiding the cosmic shame:
- You need to have some genuine talent, and a true passion for your craft.
- You need to seek feedback from multiple sources. That way you can avoid being delusional, ala American Idol first round contestants.
- You need to work hard every day, educate yourself, and seek to improve in your craft and your career.
- You must have realistic goals.
Using this criteria, let’s look at both Kat and Kate to see how they match up:
- Kat Ward: Has a genuine passion for writing. Vows every day not to give up. Obviously wants it bad enough. Per her blog, she has sought feedback from multiple and varying sources. Had humility and took in the constructive criticism she received. Thus, she is seeking to improve. She is working on multiple manuscripts now, so she continues to work hard. Her goals are realistic- she wants to write full-time and make a living. She never said anything about getting rich or being a mega-star. Hey Kat, this sounds good! You pass. Thumbs up.
- Kate Gosselin: Has no real discernible talent. She cares about her kids, but I can’t say she has a passion for taking care of them when she has so much help. A lot of people have help and daycare and such, but not many literally have truckloads of crew members along with the nannies and other helpers. There is much feedback available to her, including from the father of her kids, but she doesn’t seem to be accepting any views that don’t fit her plans. She works hard, albeit with her publicist and agent. I don’t see any evidence of her working to improve at anything- writing, broadcasting, etc. Her goals are not realistic. She feels entitled to make a lot of money for appearances she makes which are based simply on her being famous. This is not a realistic job in the long term. Fame is fleeting, this can’t be expected to last forever. Bad news, Kate. You fail. Not even an F+. Thumbs way down.
Regarding the future, Kate Gosselin went on to say during the interview, “I’m sure you will see my kids again at some point.” I’m sure we will. Let’s just hope it’s not for something bad. And that’s the cosmic shame: some people simply need to stop what they’re doing, and for others (like Kat), it would be a shame if they did.