The XX Factor

I Don’t Want To Be Fascinated by Kate Gosselin. Couldn’t Sonya Sotomayor Make It?

I’m 100 percent with you, Jessica -Walters’ list is beyond lame, it’s shameful. Now, if she’d called it “2009’s Most Fascinating People Willing to Appear on My Television Special,” it might make more sense, but even so, we’re not “fascinated” by Kate Gosselin or Jenny Sanford for reasons that ought to make anyone proud. We can’t look away from either of them precisely because they’re NOT particularly accomplished or talented, and yet they are famous ANYWAY. Whether you aspire to fame or not, Jenny Sanford suggests that it could somehow descend upon you, and prompts us to wonder how we would appear in her stead. Kate Gosselin stands for the proposition that a gimmick (in her case, fertility treatment and a willingness to take a twist of fate all the way) rather than hard work or talent  could rocket you to stardom. Maybe we should ask ourselves why the women we click on aren’t women we aspire to be, but women we imagine we could be (or women we aspire to see fail)? And meanwhile, what women really belong on that list? I’d keep Lady Gaga, absolutely. I’ll give Walters Sarah Palin (although, like Rachael , I’d like to say good-bye to all that). But how about: Michelle Obama, Susan Boyle, Hilary Clinton, Barbara Ehrenreich, Stephanie Meyer, Desiree Rodgers, Susan Rice ,Justice Sotomayor … and I’m just getting started. Of course, Walters’ people haven’t yet revealed the 10th name on the list. What do you bet they’re speed-dialing Elin Nordegren?