Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What would happen if there were a smoking gun?

A lot of people - whom I think don't realize how much stuff is kept under wraps about a lot of public figures - ask why someone doesn't blow the whistle on Scott and Tessa. Publicly. There, unrefutable in digital font on the web. The official record.
How would that play out? Someone reputable in the "figure skating community" gives the lowdown to someone in the media on the condition of anonymity and then what. What would the media get out of it but restricted access and bad will? What would the person get out of it since they'd be anon? (If their name was attached to the tip-off they'd be in for a world of payback and distrust.) 

A lot of the media which might receive the "tip" already know the deal but as long as Scott and Tessa officially deny it, the media is covered. All the media needs to do is frame. Everything written sources what Scott and Tessa say about themselves, and omits that the media may know differently. We've all seen it: "The two of them have always maintained..." and: "Not so, say the skaters. Close friends, they aver that the romantic connection has always been strictly ice-bound and ends when they put on skate guards."

If the article's frame is to report what the skaters say, it doesn't matter if the person writing the feature knows otherwise. Most personality coverage follows these conventions - makes things not so sticky.

But suppose there were a "dead-to-rights" expose. Of some type. A photo. On the LIPS! (Apparently that is the skating world smoking gun.) OMG - the scandal!

Except, not really - just another couple who said they were just friends when they were actually more than that. A whole lot more. Is there anything shady there? No - just a legitimate relationship - no soap opera except the one they made up. The reality is kind of cut and dried. Sweet, romantic, endearing - but not voidy. 

But they lied!

Yeah, the media is not going to flagellate them over that. It'll be our fault;  they'll explain this to us with their own spin on Tessa's "nature of the sport" pass if that angle gets covered at all. A well-intended, darling but unwittingly burdensome and intrusive fan or two (not too attractive, and definitely female) will be dragged out to serve as typical examples of the sort of intrusion Tessa and Scott had to shield themselves against.

The media didn't touch Sale & Pelletier's divorce - you think any of the skating media -  many email buddies and social friends of Skate Canada officials - are gonna make it ugly for Scott and Tessa?

So it must be that the core concern here is that once exposed - or if they were somehow forced to come clean - what an horrific ordeal for Scott and Tessa fanwise. We all know VM have no control over the questions they may be asked in entertainment media format, nor control over what they choose to disclose. If fans officially knew - imagine what Tessa and Scott would have to reveal. Everything.
Isn't that what other public sports couples suffer when their status is publicized? Fans immediately know their home addresses, their in-law problems if any, the size of their bank account, whether it was smart to have a kid so young, whether it was smart to have a kid and still compete, the names of their doctors, their medical records, how often the couple has sex, who loves who more, how do they juggle it all, and then fans wade in with criticism and commentary. Just ask Marie-France and Patch. And Jamie and David. And Jessica and Bryce. I'm not talking about when Jessica and Bryce voluntarily tabloided themselves with Menage a blah blah sur la Glace - but their sweet ingenue romance in the run-up to and including Torino 2006. Remember? They were picked apart. Their private lives were a freaking fishbowl.

If only there were help available - some sort of professional resource experienced in managing challenges like these for figure skaters so that figure skaters could maintain a comfortable zone of privacy and the strategic impression of accessibility (remember, accessibility is spending time; it's not disclosure. It's sharing a real or manufactured fan-friendly experience -  not - here, have a look at the transcript of our last argument and while we're at it, here's some notes from my gyno.) If only such a professional entity existed, the skaters could engage with fans, have a comfortable and sustainable private life that they were rarely called upon to discuss directly, and they could pursue their business interests without a lot of lying.

Since nothing like that has been invented, clearly the only choice is either to reveal everything you're doing, have done, and plan to do in your private life together while the fans swarm over every detail - OR - create the strategic impression of fan accessibility by manufacturing a fake relationship with someone you don't like or trust and at regular intervals pretend to make out with her on facebook for the entertainment of thousands of strangers. I mean, it's obvious.

Whoever framed the choice like that possessed impeccable marketing credentials. I wonder if they were a double threat - maybe they also teach psychology at Windsor. You've got to believe that school is just churning out geniuses of critical analysis.

Must admit, sometimes I really do want to know who teaches Tessa's psychology classes, if she does study that as she claims. If she compartmentalizes or if the subject is abstract with no real world application. Probably it's like all figure skater education in Canada - sucky. At least that's what Skate Canada seems to imply. Did you know their 21-year-old, trilingual college aspirant, ethnic Chinese World Figure Skating Champion spoke out about Chinese culture without, apparently, actually knowing anything about Chinese culture, but since he's not a "political scientist" - don't judge? I'm guessing the psychology courses at Windsor must be brain busters.

And let's be real - surely the proven strategy of accessibility as = spending time or sharing fan friendly experiences is full of holes. What fans really want is the intimate WORDS. The STORIES. Did I say intimate? Yeah I did. Intimate like - 

We were once lovers.  

We went to counseling.

We're not fucking.

Skate Canada loves counseling almost as much as it loves skating partners not fucking. Sports counseling, marriage. Do-it-yourself group counseling of the "how did that make you feel" variety practiced on young figure skaters by Suzanne Killing and Paul MacIntosh, MSW, per the VM book. Personality quizzes administered to D&D with results reported in the media. This is serious, high level coaching stuff. 

I remember back when Joe Torre sat Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez down in a couple of chairs in the Yankee locker room before batting practice. It got a little emotional at times, but after talking it out, taking the quizzes, talking about the results and how it made them feel they really learned a lot about themselves - and each other. And it made their batting better, because Jeter no longer worried that if he didn't get a hit, he'd no longer have Alex's respect and Alex no longer worried that if he didn't get a hit, he'd never get Derek's respect. It brought them together as teammates, and that's really important when you're trying to prepare for a World Series run.

I am dying to know what sort of group therapy Zoueva, Shpilband, Frank Carroll, Kristy Krall, Mr. Nicks and, in days of yore, Carlo Fassi, conducted with their skaters. Chairs in a circle? "Look at Peggy when you say it - say it to her, not me." *

Boiled down, it looks to me that Scott and Tessa were told that "marketing" = TMI. And Tessa wasn't excited about it. No one was. But who can argue with the marketing wizards of Skate Canada - your Mike Slipchuks, your William Thompsons and their genius hires, everyone with their extensive background operating star-making machinery. Who could argue against their assertion that the key to exciting the public and creating skating stars is intimate information, personal disclosure - not access, not time spent with the skaters themselves? Who could argue with such a well-researched policy built upon the solid conclusion that a successful marketing initiative keys off personal disclosure of intimate life information?

Make no mistake - it's certainly not them - Bill, Debbi, Mike - with the icky, gross, unusual interest in the personal details of skaters' intimate sexual and emotional relationships with each other.

It's fans. Fans are the perverts. So Mike, Bill & Co. say - you have to do it - you want Skate Canada to make money, don't you? Skate Canada is practically more Canadian than the actual Canada. I know you're patriotic. Let's cut to the chase - it's women who watch this stuff. Mike and me - we know these types. It's the same demo that watches soaps. We can turn the whole ship around with this. Tessa, stop freaking out - you don't think we're gonna make you tell actual stuff do you? You tell us that stuff - don't leave out the details - we need to know so we know what to lie about. The rest of you, as soon as any of you start fucking each other, let us know immediately so we can get some photos taken for facebook leading fans in the other direction.

So, were the skaters told that's what sells? Skating? Nah. Personalities? Nah. Personal stories. Detailed personal stories. Intimate.

Estrangements. Sobbing drives to the airport for the first competition of the Olympic season. Broken trust and trust rebuilt. Triangles. Destroyed friendships. A one-man Pied Piper of dating cutting a swathe through the ice dancers of Canton and leaving behind  satisfied smiles and enhanced female bonding. A female ice dancer who can skate a competitive short dance all summer, twirl off her partner's thigh and land on one foot in exhibitions and stand in line at Club Bud in heels but her legs are too painful to get her to the fridge. Ex-fuck buddies with a bitter break-up who decide they need to skate it out in their Olympic LP. A woman who broke up a famous pairs skating duo's marriage and a man who busted up his best friend's relationship with his skating partner telling us they felt a mild breeze from each other's lips at practice one day and totally freaked because it had never even hit them that the other had male or female parts. They were dying to return to their innocent pre-expulsion-from-Eden state as soon as possible - just as soon as they finished their latest exhibition featuring their customary feeling each other up, clawing at each other's hair, kissing thighs and staring down each other's tonsils.

Yep, this is the stuff they've been cranking out instead of revealing the sensitive truth. And it's been a big hit, worked just like Slipchuk said it would. And best of all, as long as they pump this stuff out, Scott and Tessa don't have to whore out their actual intimate details.

Because we all know in marketing - that's required.
*I'm pro-counseling, just anti-quack. Also, not sure why this is part of the "getting to know you" promotional material for Canada's figure skaters.


  1. They were dying to return to their innocent pre-expulsion-from-Eden state as soon as possible - just as soon as they finished their latest exhibition featuring their customary feeling each other up, clawing at each other's hair, kissing thighs and staring down each other's tonsils.

    FUCKING GOOOOLD. You're really on point with this.

  2. Whatever fears that originally sold V/M and Co. on this scheme, you'd think that by now, being adults and with some years of experience as elite sports' personalities, they would have realized exactly these points you bring up - That in fact, famous sports' people are not out there disclosing every little detail about themselves. That in fact, they're doing very well handling any public exposure along with private lives. It's ridiculous that for no apparent reason, Tessa and Scott continue on the same course they started as teenagers. By now, instead of serving a good purpose (if there ever was one) it just makes them look foolish, and very immature.

    Remind me again - how did these bozos running Skate Canada get chosen for these jobs? They're all a bunch of idiots. Do their skaters have to do what these guys say? Can they say NO! ??

  3. I figure it's mostly irrelevant at this point - what they realize, whether they can say no or not, because right now it's about covering their ass. They can't stop, because stopping is an admission of wrongdoing, or at least that the criticism is correct. They can't quit cause - same thing.

    We all know this is how it works.

    This goes for the whole crowd. Scott and Tessa haven't done anything wrong except be jerks and incredibly entitled about their right to be jerks(energetically profiting from their fame while holding their noses, basically).

    Their big no no was the book. Otherwise they're celebrities lying about their relationship status - welcome to what else is new.

    Debbi, Bill, Barb, Mike etc. - have made bigger boos boos by actually staging hoaxes for the public. That's bad - SC gets public monies.

    So what are their options? They only have one - run out the clock. Meantime, dial the nonsense down, but keep it up, cause if it stops completely it's an admission. Can't quit - that's also like an admission.

    So. Run out the clock - Sochi. Create diversions: OMG - the evil Globe & Mail implied Patrick Chan doesn't think Canadian fans are as patriotic as the Chinese! Well, we here at Skate Canada - me, BILL, and me, BARB - think Canadian fans are the shit, Patrick never said otherwise, and we demand an apology!

    That's it. Any other action is like admitting a screw up. People don't do that. Scott and Tessa won't, Skate Canada won't. There's no oversight, so they don't have to. It's their store - Canadian tax money - but their store.

  4. "A well-intended, darling but unwittingly burdensome and intrusive fan or two (not too attractive, and definitely female)" -- Hilarious. Nothing screams "stalker" like a homely girl who just can't let go. The nerdy fan might flip one day and "do something" so the whole charade must stay under wraps. But she won't flip out if he stays with Jessica.

    Did SC make them go to counseling? It sounds creepy and very Scientologist of them. The whole org sounds like a cult.

    Why is there so much focus on Scott and Jessica - but not a word about who Tessa's dating? It seems very strange that there's this image of Scott and Jessica prancing around the beaches together, and Tessa is off by herself, lonely, and that's why all the fans want them together. I doubt that's actually the case. The charade probably continues the stereotypes that Tessa is that sweet Olympic virgin in the white dress, patiently waiting for the manly Scott to finish sowing his oats. Is she still seeing Pelletier? That would be too embarrassing to disclose. Are there any more details on Tessa and David's relationship?

    "A one-man Pied Piper of dating cutting a swathe through the ice dancers of Canton" -- LOLOL

  5. There is no and never has been a Tessa/Pelletier relationship, just as there's no Scott/Jessica relationship. Tessa and Scott are together.

  6. I always thought that Scott & Tessa *wanted* to be together, but couldn't be, because Tessa is so aloof. So he picked up Jessica to pass the time (and perhaps make Tessa jealous with beach photos) until Tessa opens her eyes and takes him back. As whiny as Jessica is, I don't see her knowingly going along with a charade like this. But she does seem pretty clueless, being stuck up in the rafters during the Olympic medal ceremony and all. I'm surprised that SC has not concocted a fake relationship for Tessa to exploit as well. Probably because SC has to make sure that nobody thinks Scott might be gay so his fake relationship takes priority? We know how they feel about gays. That's how all of this looks to me as a "fan" (I use that term loosely.)

  7. Now it is clear. This season has been an unmitigated disaster. The terrible SD at Canadians was just lame, not to mention the porn star shirt Scott was wearing was beyond embarrassing. Wow, it seems the mighty have fallen. Hard. I am now coming to the conclusion that their off ice shenanigans have finally caught up with them and it's affecting their on ice performance. Tessa's Stepford Wife interview after was just icing on the icky cake.

    As DW continue to pull away, I think Scott and Tessa need to take a long look in the mirror and determine whether they want to take control of their lives and more importantly, their careers. As much as I am willing them to get it together, it is becoming harder and harder to actually like them. And I never thought I would say that.

    Will the real Scott and Tessa please show up??

  8. But you know - the sd at Canadians produced a Stepford Scott. Who wants that? Yes, I think Scott is hypocritical grandstanding about a "piss off", GPF judging-wise. But I'd rather that than a Scot showing teeth and pretending the short dance wasn't a mess. Even if Tessa hadn't botched the twizzles, my impression was that the changes they made missed the point.

    Scott vents at GPF and gets killed. Result - he morphs into Stepford Scott at Canadians. That's not the answer.

  9. "he morphs into Stepford Scott at Canadians." IKR?? Tessa did a little better at acknowledging what had played out and then Scott's all Stepford.

    I think SC has found a sponsor! It's the Jessica Dube (TM) Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Judging by Brian Williams desk interview with D/W, you'd think they were V/T.

  10. You could clearly see Scott was pissed at tessa just by the way he put on a fake smile bowing towards the audiance and the speed at which he did it. Sorry... People are so sick of HIM. Not TESSA!!! P.S. There were a few quotes from them in the London Free Press. Why does Scott always have to use a hockey analogy???? Scott, You said yourself that you were never too good as a hockey player... You are a Figure Skater. Plain & Simple. Are you trying too hard to come off as straight for your fans. Yeah I really do think... What a weirdo...