Saturday, February 5, 2011

compassion for Camille

Camille has come across terribly all season.  she has behaved in catty and, at times, nasty ways.  she has practically begged us not to take her seriously (and practically begged us to fear she could steal away the affections of romantic partners) with her breathy manner of speaking, faux coy giggles and shoulder shrugs, and with her big dopey eyed looks.  and, in a PR nightmare, Camille has blamed the editing for how badly she came across.  but ... let's imagine for a second that, though the editing didn't put hateful or pretentious sentences in Camille's mouth, perhaps the editing left out the circumstances that nudged Camille toward the nastiness ... and yes, Camille crossed the line and some of her behavior was unconscionable regardless of the circumstances ... but let's imagine all she is asking is for us to consider the whole picture.

ok so ... Kyle and Camille disagreed about what was said about the Hawaii trip - and this led to some bad feelings.  during the reunion, Kim affirmed what Kyle claimed happened ... and then Kim said "and the next thing i knew, she [Kyle] was crying."  so ... Kim, did you not hear what happened in between?  did you not want to say what happened in between?  during an earlier interview, Kim had said she was hesitant to speak up, partly because she didn't know who would take it the wrong way - and seemed legitimately concerned about making any of them (sister or not) angry with her.  at one point, Kim said to Kyle, "but you did say, 'so he's not going?'" it kind of seemed like Kim could see Camille's perspective on the disagreement.  even if we were to make no assumptions about Kyle's intentions, Kim could, at the least, understand why Camille felt the way she did.  and no doubt Kyle struck a nerve, but i've already blogged that topic to death.  maybe Kyle did sound really incredulous of Camille's plans (and maybe Kyle didn't explicitly say what Camille claimed she said - but maybe she did insinuate it, and maybe that is why Kim had trouble speaking up and figuring out what to say ... or maybe Kyle just thought it was strange and failed to disguise her incredulity, even if she meant nothing by it ... in either case, it seemed like Kim possibly saw both of their points of view).  but what happened after Camille told Kyle she could feel her tension and asked why Kyle had a problem with Camille's plans?  what led to Kyle being in tears?  did Camille resort to saying something vicious?  if Kyle ended up in tears, why didn't Kyle ever talk about what Camille said or did that was so attacking that it brought her to tears?

On Jimmy Kimmel, Camille alluded to an incident that happened in vegas the day after everyone was drunk (read: presumably after the Kyle and Camille misunderstanding): there was a discussion of whether Camille (or someone else) would do a shoot for Maxim while in Hawaii.  who is the someone else? was the someone else hoping Maxim would have chosen them instead?  had the someone else been asked? was it Kyle?  Faye?  was this incident related in any way to Kyle's tears the previous night?  all i know is i sure hope to see some footage ... or that bravo would just lift the stupid gag order already.  Camille has gone out of her way to let us know she isn't allowed to talk about something ... or she is being very clever and insinuating that there is something that would make us side with her, but she isn't allowed to talk about it ... ever ... just enough info to muddy the waters but not enough info to be held accountable for the insinuation ... interesting ... hopefully we'll find out one way or another.  bring on the extra footage!

in any case, the point of this post was to list a few reasons to have more compassion for Camille - to entertain the possibility of there being some truth to the season having been set up to make her look bad (while not glossing over the fact that her own decisions and actions certainly helped bravo out if that were the case).  and fundamentally, what this might mean is not only that Camille's better moments were underrepresented, but that Kyle's lesser moments would have been underrepresented.  Bravo did choose not to show the limo porn fest (yes, Camille and her sidekicks really struck some low blows during the dinner and yes, it was poor form for a hostess to make the comment she made to Faye ... and yes, the limo porn fest came after the girl in the glass house threw a boulder ... but Kyle already had the pictures of Camille in her blackberry ... and besides, at the point of stooping to that level of poor behavior, Kyle was becoming catty rather than holding a high ground ... so perhaps Camille felt it was unfair to not show this).  and although the dinner party from hell almost certainly was a set up, maybe there could have been some truth to Camille's claim that she felt set up too - maybe Faye was brought as a back up too.  during the reunion, Kyle admitted to knowing what she was doing with regard to having Faye present.

and ... dare i just point out the instances in which Camille behaved in ways that appeared to be quite kind?  no, i don't mean when she was telling us how sweet or generous she was ... or when her employees were telling us that.  i mean when she was less in the spotlight and there were little (and i do believe genuinely) kind moments.  for example, watch the clip of Adrienne denying that she was Kennedy's godmother.  it cuts to Camille and there isn't a trace of malice on her face (ok, many of us really enjoyed that moment because we felt like Bravo was deliberately trying to dupe us and insult our intelligence by trying to get us to fall for Shana's stories ... but Camille did not react in an unkind way).  or how about during the reunion when, even though she and Kyle had argued, she kindly and understandingly nodded.  how she rubbed Kim's arm during the reunion.  Camille has very kind moments.  

Camille received quite a bit of sympathy/empathy on the cheating husband front (and somehow managed to get us all to overlook the fact that, at one point, it was Camille who put another woman through the same thing with the same man - well, let's be honest she was half responsible for that - can't let the cheating man scoot on by).  but still, regardless of whatever mean girl behavior she had engaged in at any point, people were willing to set that aside a bit and feel sympathy for Camille.

so here's the thing ... i'm willing to bet that both Kyle and Camille did some catty things and engaged in some nasty behavior ... and i'm also willing to bet that both of them felt pretty justified in doing it.  the difference is perhaps in a bit of the editing, perhaps in the way that the ladies spoke about themselves (Camille chose pretentious and annoying strategies ... it could be because she felt nervous, it could be because she was not a very good actress and failed to be herself, it could be that she actually is pretentious and annoying, or it could be partially thown into the divorce bucket ... it could be a combination of factors ... but she has come across much more favorably in post-RHOBH interviews).

in any case, to win the public's hearts, Camille would be best advised to stop flirting with men who are taken (it doesn't matter if you think that is the way you are (because no one is born a hopeless flirt, so that's probably not true anyway), it is absolute foolishness to not expect other women to frown on that kind of behavior), to have a sense of humor about herself, to use her big girl voice, and to communicate honestly, rather than trying to present herself as a disturbing amalgam of an innocent doe-eyed child and a soulless sex object.  the sidekick is of the opinion that a journey into developing a bit of self-respect might be just the thing to help Camille become a strong, independent woman who doesn't feel the need to demean herself into pretending to be a child/sex object ... and developing this self-respect would, hopefully, help her to develop more respect for women in general (which would hopefully lead to lesser desire on her part to make other women jealous of her, less cattiness on her part, and less perceptions that other women are catty with her or less actual cattiness on others' parts).  Camille, if you could work this into your storyline, you could be golden.  maybe you could meet up with gender roles researchers and just talk about what your life has been like - being real ... they could help to put your experiences into context and alleviate some of the blame/guilt ... you could win some hearts that way - Alice Eagly, Sandra Bem, Lisa McMinn, Carol Gilligan, etc.). what a trip it would be to see Camille transform from someone whose greatest desire is to be a coveted object in men's lives into a strong, independent, self-respecting (dare i say it?) feminist.  with some honesty, it might work.

all this to say, i'm willing to refrain from jumping on any bandwagons (e.g., the Camille-is-all-bad bandwagon or the Kyle-is-all-good bandwagon) ... i'm willing to work with the assumption that underneath all of the ugly behavior and nasty or pretentious statements, there is a real person with real emotions.  i'm willing to feel some compassion for Camille.

if only i could do the same for Shana ... but it is much harder to believe Shana is a real person ... she tries hard not to be one and, who knows, maybe the mysterious "Taylor Armstrong" demon did succeed in killing the real person that was Shana.  maybe if she does get booted from RHOBH, she can sell her story to someone willing to make a horror movie.

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