Posts Taged awordsmith

Jennifer Huston, the “Missing Person”

For the past week I’ve becoming increasingly consumed with the ongoing search for Dundee woman Jennifer Huston.  On the outskirts of Portland, Dundee and neighboring Newberg where she was last seen are quite close to where I live in Tualatin and my kids went to school in Sherwood.

I am not here to speculate or accuse or even try to guess at her whereabouts or what exactly went down after her bank, gas station and Rite-Aid visits (although I may have a few opinions); what I want to comment on is how this case and Jennifer are being depicted in the media.  In fact, some reading this may not have even realized that her name is Jennifer. That is because in nearly every media story, blog post and TV segment, she is referred to as the “Missing Mom.”  And of the photos I’ve seen in the media, the majority are of her with her kids and family. She is described as a “devoted, stay-at-home mother who volunteers at her son’s school.”

The fact that this 38-year-old woman’s entire existence has been condensed down to the fact that she is now a “missing mom” – almost without a name – is something I’ve found strangely aggravating. I too am a “devoted mom” in my mid-30s; however, while I love my children dearly and being a parent is priority number one, it does not solely define me. If she was a stock broker would the papers read “missing stock broker” and if it was a man with children would it say “missing dad” or would it call him by name?

In trying to understand where Jennifer may be today, I struggle with the fact that a clear picture of who she is outside of her role as mom has seemingly not been told: what does she enjoy doing for herself; with who; and where?  As the country clamors around this case and interest continues to build, I wish that we could start calling her by name – to pay attention to who she is in her own right and potentially understand why she is missing. I appreciate that she is a mom and my heart goes out to her boys, but let’s try to find Jennifer Huston, who is not just a “Missing Mom” but a “Missing Person.”

Miley Cyrus, PR Genius or Wrecking Ball?

Miley Cyrus, PR

I think most of America is in agreement that what happened on the VMA stage between Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and a foam finger was an utter trainwreck and something we’ll be trying to erase from our memories for a long time to come.  However, now that the dust has settled (a bit) and we come further to terms with the new Miley (Hannah Montana who?), it’s been interesting to watch public opinion form and shift around her.

In the seconds, minutes and days following the performance the outrage could be heard around the world – even within the entertainment world, which isn’t an easy one to shock.  Pictures of Will Smith’s family gaping in horror from the audience were plastered in tabloids, Cher blasted the outfit, performance and singing as “all just terrible,” and even Miley’s good friend Kelly Osbourne said what we were all thinking: “Put your f–king tongue in your mouth!” But who really will get the last laugh?

This week Cher went on the TODAY Show and admitted that perhaps she was a bit harsh and should have kept her mouth quiet.  Justin Timberlake was also on the TODAY Show and when asked for his take on Miley, he chose his words very carefully but all in all offeresmithsd support by calling her “smart and talented,” and noting society’s desire to label someone every 10-15 years as the kind of person “we do or don’t want our daughters to be.”  And really – who doesn’t trust JT?  If she had to have someone offer a level-headed comment about the debacle, she couldn’t have found a better spokesperson.

The girl has already managed to go from child star to superstar; create her own successful brand apart from her very famous, mullet-wearing, Achy Breaky dad; have most of us forget about a creepy, too-close-for-comfort daddy/daughter photoshoot in Vanity Fair a few years back; and offer up some nonsense about a salvia bong. Maybe all this current chaos shouldn’t be so surprising, but instead seen as part of the Miley Cyrus, PR master plan.

What can’t be denied is that Miley’s single is at the top of the music charts and there has never been more buzz about her.  Some say “no publicity is bad publicity.”  I for one don’t buy that, but I have to wonder if in this case Miley might just prove me wrong – again.