Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Well it's some kind of tool

I haven't summoned the, I guess patience, to watch the Strombo interview as yet, and this post is a placeholder for that topic. The post will embed the interview

and, with it, embed the videos that show how much Tessa and Scott are lying about the rift. I mean, they are lying HUGE about the rift, but what's in the public domain, let alone what's actually the truth, all by itself shows how much they're lying.

Meantime, a few remarks: according to what I've read of the interview, they now say they may have sent the occasional text, which is an upgrade from what Tessa emphatically said in this interview:

Q: In your book, you say you stopped communicating for a few months after the 2008 surgery. Do you mean you literally didn’t speak?
TV: We didn’t even send text messages. Isn’t that weird? This time, we’ve been diligently talking every single day.

 "We didn't even send text messages" means "We texted."

"We're platonic" means "We're married parents."

^  "All the time that she was ailing and she was doing her rehab, they worked every day in Tessa's apartment on little things like the lifts - they put the music on, they play with the expression, they did everything imaginable to try to be in really good shape while she got the legs working again. So it wasn't - I mean when they were off, they weren't just off, they were continuously working.

And they had a very wise way of training when they came back."
Marijane Strong (and by that, Strong means they may have texted).
Relationship to truth, hell. Relationship to language.

This is all under the marketing umbrella, it seems. A world where words don't need to mean what they mean.

Brain trusts, these two are not.

More interesting, and I'll have to watch the interview in full to find out how much more interesting, is the way they say that their relationship is a marketing tool.

I find their - and Debbi's - idea of "marketing" interesting. Always have. It's indistinguishable from lying. 

Marketing, just like "business", is an umbrella term that for them, legitimizes lying. WHERE DO THEY GET THAT? It's a convenient rationale, but it is not rooted in anything real about marketing or pr. Although maybe it's time to research the marketing program in Michigan in the 1970s and find out what they were teaching back then. Debbi has an undergrad degree from that era.

 Marketing and pr is editing, it's focus, it's selective emphasis, it's positioning - it's not fucking fraud. Any time in entertainment it has actually been fraud - such as when it turns out a singing group is doing no singing at all, for example, that group blows up and its career is destroyed. Or when someone turns out to be exactly the opposite of how they market themselves, there's a meltdown.

There are degrees of truth shading - truth shading - not throwing the truth out the window and making something up whole in its place.

So let's say this story they tell about themselves and can't keep straight - is a marketing tool. What are they marketing? This is a very specific story. They're intimate, they're as close as close can be, but they're platonic. That's what they're selling. What are they selling? I can't work it out. Is it selling tickets to competitions? No. Is it raising television ratings for skating competitions? No. Is marketing themselves this way helping to sell Lindt chocolate?

It's not moving that Roots gear off the shelves.

If a specific story you're telling about yourself is a self-described marketing tool, what's the product they're selling? Virtue Moir Perfume?

I think it simply means this is the version of themselves they're giving to the public. Period. Not to sell tickets to shows or competitions, not to move units of Lindt, not to raise television ratings or sell anything but themselves. They have basically decided that life is as legitimate a performance as a program, and they are telling us that this is the version of themselves they've decided to tell the public about, and there's no need for it to relate to the truth, because it's marketing.

I think they've totally screwed the pooch for other Canadian athletes in the public eye. Lowered the bar til where we need to dig a trench to even find it. Since they think that appearing in public "as themselves", off ice, is no different than creating characters on ice, the question can be asked of every athlete out there if they have the same philosophy that what they say to news outlets and entertainment media outlets and what they say while representing a sponsor or brand can be completely made up. And it would certainly be something I'd ask the Moir skating business about anything they had to say about their skating business. It's marketing - it can be a complete lie. They've divorced what they say from what is true, and I don't think that's a good move for anyone in business. Many people have enabled them who are also in the public eye, which suggests they think this choice is valid. That's going to be good to keep in mind when these people tell us other stuff.

P.S. - if this were a few years ago, before the full extent of Scott and Tessa's unyielding dedication to the sham had revealed itself, it might be tempting to view this interview as a baby step, heading towards this type of progression:

2010: We didn't talk or even text the entire time.
2013: We may have texted some.
later 2013: When Scott and I would talk, I didn't share the full extent of my fears.
early 2014: We were living together, but it was a stressful time.

P.P.S. I'm taking my own baby steps getting through this Strombo video and it's not helped that right out of the gate Tessa's Canada Day answer is mortifying. There's canned and there's inane. She's crossed over.

Also love how Scott tried to semi-walk back the rift story, first by joking they let Tessa away from the rink for a couple of weeks, then saying they didn't talk for about a month (he cut the official version in half right there) - the exact sort of jokey remarks one would make about a rift so painful it brought tears to your eyes when you first talked about it 3 years ago. Scott's efforts were bootless as Tessa seized on "abandoned" and drove that sucker into the ground, making equivalencies and building new framing devices. All the while she's talking about her abandonment, she's talking about the guy who was in bed beside her nearly every night the entire time.

I wonder if Tessa kicks into auto-pilot - if that's her defense mechanism, a la when a mistake happens on the ice (Skate Canada 2009) - when shady topics come up.  The Canada Day answer was purely inane. The "abandonment" speech was a word shield. She kept talking and talking until she killed the question. Who'd want to follow up on that?

Tessa in the middle of her 2008 recovery

John Labatt Center Colitis Foundation
Event, London, Ontario, November 19, 2008
a/k/a Scott texting Tessa from Michigan
while Tessa feels really abandoned


  1. The remarks about being a "marketing tool" were edited out of the clip that actually made it onto TV. A person in the facebook group "Addicted to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir" is the one who reported this. Here's a copy of what she said:

    [I actually got to attend the live taping of the interview (it was back in late Apr/early May). It was around 20-25 minutes so I was interested to see how they were going to cut it down. I remember being a bit disappointed as a lot of their answers I'd heard before (maybe I'm just too much a fan haha). But I distinctly remember Tessa talking about their "branding" as a ice dance duo and how they view their partnership as a marketing tool. It was the first time I'd heard them say that. They were very supportive of one another and it was obvious to me that they have a great deal of respect and admiration for one another.]

    In spite of this part of the interview not making it onto the televised Strombo show, I'm certain this is their newest portrayal of themselves and we'll be hearing this over and over this coming season.

    It sounds like now they've decided to sell themselves as just actors. Forget the platonic intimate friendship. They're all business and that's all.

    I wish them luck in this newest strategy. I don't expect it to fly any better than any of their other attempts to define themselves outside of the truth.

  2. Yes but the larger point is you don't market for the sake of marketing. You average citizen down the block isn't going to market themselves. Branding, etc. are tools for people who are selling something. Their writing. Their acting. Their expertise in something that they'll share with others for a price. Competitive figure skaters are branding for what reason, and aimed towards whom? That's what the questions are about.

    The thing is - what is the PURPOSE of Tessa and Scott "branding" themselves. Let's set aside that it defeats the purpose of being a marketing tool if you talk about how you're a marketing tool. The consumer isn't supposed to see that.

    These two are just putting lipstick on a pig (apologies to pigs). They're lying to the public. Instead, they're spinning it as they're "marketing" themselves to the public.

    They're getting at something here. I'll be interested if *any* media takes it up and finds it authentic.

    Some fans are all - oh, they're prostituting their relationship! Or - they're pretending their relationship is more than it is for marketing purposes!

    I think what they're really saying is "We're lying. But our sport requires that we market ourselves to the public. We have no choice. Because we're "forced" to reveal our personal status to the public, we've made one up and are revealing that instead."

    1. "I think what they're really saying is "We're lying. But our sport requires that we market ourselves to the public. We have no choice. Because we're "forced" to reveal our personal status to the public, we've made one up and are revealing that instead."

      This actually makes sense. In terms of what might be going on in their head, I mean. But they seem to have "just forgot" that marketing the nature of their relationship should only ever be an optional add-on to marketing their actual skating. The question about working within the confines of their sport got a mumbled confusing response from Scott, whereas the rift got an eloquent stage-worthy monologue from Tessa. Maybe if psychology and law and fashion all don't pan out for her, she can look into theatre.

    2. Do they intend to be repeating this garbage about "branding" and "marketing tool" throughout this season?

      It's hilarious - who ever heard a celebrity talk about themselves that way in public? These are the kinds of concepts that are talked about in private conversations with the management/PR teams. It's definitely not to be shared with the public.

      How typical of Tessa and Scott.

      Please please let us in on the secret of who told you to say this about yourselves. Bwahahahaha.

    3. It's amazing the sincerity that Tessa pastes on when she's lying through her teeth. It's good to keep in mind for anything she says in public on anything at all.

  3. I think the real question is - what would happen if the bare facts of their situation were known? Other than being mortified - and I seriously doubt they would be mortified by public reaction because they toy with teasing the public about it all the time, and they're very often not reticent in public either.

    This is where they try to turn it onto us. They see themselves as performers on and off the ice, or so they'll try to spin it. Ergo, they are as entitled to play fake roles off the ice as on.

    But there's no place where someone is entitled to proactively market lies because they want the profit but not the pain in the ass part. That seems to be how Scott and Tessa have been raised, however.

  4. OC, did you know the new comments aren't showing on the last post?

    This is interesting, 3:10 to about 4:37

    Now to be fair this is about his new CNN show...still, I wonder if he honestly thought he was having a REAL conversation.

    Is the Addicted group where the "how do you not cross the line" thing came from? I wish we could see the rest of the interview. I was hoping maybe they never said anything denial wise (maybe so that Toddler Moir could watch? She won't be reading newspapers yet so I could understand the difference in messaging)

    1. They're there, but you have to click "Load more."

    2. I don't know why but I hadn't really even thought of that. Toddler Moir is getting to the age now where watching Mommy and Daddy on tv would be pretty neat. She's not an infant with no concept of the world anymore. They clearly didn't care in the past what stuff filtered out into the world but maybe now, in the present, they'll be more conscious of it.

      I do have to admit that Scott's eagerness and enthusiasm for family time is precious, as is Tessa's big big smile as he talks. For all that they've done wrong, I think that their little family means the world to both of them.

    3. @6:20 -- The Strombo show media release describes VM's relationship as platonic, here:

      Before July 1st, Strombo's listing of their upcoming shows is where the "not crossing the line" came from. They made it sound like the discussion with VM would center around that question. I can't find that page anymore, I don't know if the Strombo people changed it to the above link or what. Or maybe after the shows air they remove anything that announced future shows, idk.

  5. They never cease to amaze with their stupidity. You know what would be extremely marketable? An attractive, in love, young, talented couple who wed in secret, won the Olympics, then announced their marriage and her pregnancy and the woman competed and won a medal at Worlds months after giving birth. During the press tour for a book about their childhood dream turning into gold they announce their own child is to be born. The timing was perfect too - at the very beginning of the Olympic cycle, as reigning Olympic champions (thus an already proven winner, no chance of an embarrassing McLaughlin/Brubaker thing) with four years to cash in.

    A woman who trained throughout pregnancy, learned all new choreography and lifts, showed off her sexy body in a little gold dress is the type of athlete I would sponsor in pre-Sochi campaigns. A Gordeeva/Grinkov-esque couple with a child is exactly the type of skating couple that sells tickets and helps the ratings. They've already got the storyline for the sequel of their book. And with Tessa studying psychology and being so interested in fashion, I could see children's books or a line of baby clothes in her future...

    But no, what the fans really want to see marketed is a couple that acts really into each other and says they're platonic. That's so much more interesting.

    *(And I'm not saying they had to do any of the marketing I talked about above or use their baby in any way - just showing that the marriage and baby is not a hindrance, at all).

    1. They don't WANT to market themselves (except when they do). Every single point about how their real story is more marketable is their idea of a nightmare, as has been pointed out by others on this blog. They don't want to market real things. They don't want to market any of that stuff, especially. Except, of course, when the time comes and they decide that's what they want to do. But right now, they consider themselves to be hot house flowers.

      That last dig isn't intended to mock any skater who wants to keep their private life private. It is just a slam at Scott and Tessa's hypocrisy. They want to be private except when they don't. They're ultra sensitive except when they're not. They're genuine and candid except when they lie their heads off. It would be a lot easier to respect them, IOW, if they weren't so routinely hypocritical.

      But for the purposes of the marketing discussion, they don't want to market themselves as married parents who married in secret. They don't want their story to belong to the world. Except when they do, but that's different. They'll raise their hemline and wink at us from time to time if they want to lead us somewhere, so how ultra super mega sensitive can they be? They work it.

      They don't want to be a Gordeeva/Grinkov couple - especially a post-1995 Gordeeva/Grinkov couple (the focus on the story after Grinkov's death).

      They want to keep what they have for themselves. And their families want to "own" them as well, I think - their story is proprietary. Once it's out there, Ilderton becomes less special and insider-y.

      They could, of course, acknowledge their status and not market around it. That's what professional sports management people do for their clients. They've got the best ice dancing in the world to market. It seems to me their fans are most interested in that this season. More than ever.

      Many celebrities have public relations management not to promote themselves, but to keep themselves out of the media. The point the blog is making is Tessa and Scott's position appears to be that they're required, against their own desires, to market themselves for the sake of their sport and their country. Long ago it was drilled into them by a bunch of idiots (Skate Canada) that personal stories were the route to igniting the public's interest in figure skaters, and their interest in figure skaters would transfer to an interest in figure skating. Scott and Tessa didn't want to participate. So they made shit up and sold that instead.

      By this point that original rationale has been corrupted past recognition. They also show such tremendous contempt for their audience by not even bothering to keep their lies straight. The disrespect is beyond egregious. And it's so odd coming from a person like Scott who insists on respect towards himself and his partner.

    2. "They could, of course, acknowledge their status and not market around it. That's what professional sports management people do for their clients. They've got the best ice dancing in the world to market. It seems to me their fans are most interested in that this season. More than ever."


      People love to compare them to G/G. At the same time, people forget about what G/G were before they were an off-ice couple. Think back to 1988. They weren't together yet. They were just a phenomenally talented pairs team. People loved them just for that alone. There are a million different ways to market skaters that do not depend on personal stories. Skate Canada just doesn't seem to have the ability to grasp that.

      And, yes, any good PR person would have been able to market V/M without using their personal life but while acknowledging it. It would have been as simple as things like "we prefer to be known for our skating, not for our off-ice status" or "yes, we have a child, but we're going to protect her privacy and will not use her in marketing ourselves."

  6. One other point - money plays a large role in this. As does, I think, agendas for the future.

    Many skaters want to stay in the sport, they'd love to be a brand, they'd love public interest to translate into opportunity. Many skaters have struggled a long time before finally experiencing success, and public attention is validation of all they've put into it. Even if you're part of a team, there's so much about the sport that's solitary. To know that people "care" - that people have enjoyed what you do - is appreciated by a lot of skaters who've sacrificed and trained out of the spotlight.

    Scott and Tessa have never been out of the spotlight. Before they were in the national spotlight they were in the local spotlight and they had the attention of a gigantic extended family and community. They've always had recognition. They're not hungry for it. They've long been in the spot where they think they're entitled to set the terms - and what a set of terms they've set.

    Other skaters don't want to run the risk of alienating the public because you never know if that's going to turn a potential employer off, make them a less desirable sponsorship partner, spokesperson or candidate for other post-competitive skating career oppostunities.

    I've said before, Scott and Tessa don't have to behave responsibly and respectfully because they're not risking anything. The fact that they are financially comfortable puts them in a position many other skaters don't enjoy. They don't have to please anyone. They only have to please themselves.

  7. "I think they've totally screwed the pooch for other Canadian athletes in the public eye."

    Eh. I think most people can work out that one person behaving badly doesn't mean everyone is. Plenty of athletes from all sorts of sports have done plenty of bad things. Tiger Woods cheated on his wife; most people get that doesn't mean all golfers cheat on their wives. Oksana Baiul and the DUI; most people get that not all ladies skaters are out driving under the influence. Sure, all of this going to reflect badly on V/M and the Moirs, but all other Canadian athletes--a huge group of people, many of whom aren't even skaters and probably don't know V/M? Probably not.

  8. Then I should say other Canadian figure skaters. It's not just Scott and Tessa that have lied, but Skate Canada, and a host of other enablers - they've endorsed this path by enabling it. So-called sports journalists have pro-actively abandoned journalism to act as their personal press agents with the agenda not of telling whatever story in their article, but of protecting the subject of their article.

    And P.J. Kwong has decided to act shady about other stuff on twitter (principally having to do with Gilles Poirier).

    For me it's a where do you draw the line situation, and it seems to me that Scott and Tessa believe there is no line. If people lie about anything, then what's the difference if they lie about everything? That appears to be the rationale driving what they do.

    1. "If people lie about anything, then what's the difference if they lie about everything? That appears to be the rationale driving what they do."

      I think you're right, to them it's all under the umbrella of "marketing tool" and therefore the lies are not a problem.

      The other umbrella is "acting." That also makes everything all right. Fake social media sweetie? It's acting!

  9. The sticking point is that the public isn't obligated to be complicit in this new marketing style. That's the missing piece in Scott and Tessa's public relations. The public is supposed to be who they say they are and act the behaviors Scott and Tessa have assigned to them, and if the public doesn't, Scott and Tessa will pretend they did, so it's all the same in the end.

    BUT, the rationale they use opens the door for a pretty Wild West version of public relations, one where nothing anybody says can be relied upon, not even on its own sanitized, strategically edited terms. None of it may be true. The public may end up actually questioning stories like the death of someone's parent. Scott and Tessa have put themselves in that position, and, possibly by association, put other skaters in that position.

    Scott and Tessa can afford not to give a shit if the public accepts it or not, and every indication is they give no shits whatsoever.

    Other skaters aren't in that position. But even with Scott and Tessa, and even if they don't need the public or care what the public thinks, even if they're only interacting with the public and engaging the media because they think they owe it to their sport, the public is free to react to them any way it chooses. They don't have to go along with whatever role has been assigned to it.

    I have to say also that in some ways, Scott and Tessa create the impression that they believe every single thing about this sport, except for their own skating, is beneath them. And he comes from a skating family, which makes it a little strange.

  10. Did Jennifer Swan not also talk about working with Scott and Tessa in her studio during Tessa's rehab time? The damn story changes every single time they tell it.

  11. The story is totally made up and they can't even show the basic respect of remembering what they said before. They don't give a single shit.

    Here's what I'm thinking, though. Why should the scoring in figure skating be exempt? Why shouldn't it just be accepted that it's storytelling and theatre - the scores are what the judges say they are and what's on the ice is incidental. All professional sports are part of the entertainment complex. They have no real world utility.

    If you're married and have a child but under your rules about marketing you can tell people you're single and dating other people, and you can make up stories about your personal history together, and change the details according to your whim, and you can put this in a book and market it as real stuff you're sharing with the public, you're basically saying that off stage is exactly like on stage and the same rules apply - reality is what you say it is.

    Isn't it equally legitimate to have the same philosophy about how the sport is scored? It's all entertainment. All professional sports are just a division of the entertainment industry. There's no betting on figure skating - not the way there's betting on football. Why do the judges actually need to follow the rulebook? As long as Scott and Tessa are putting it out there, why not carry through with the logic? In entertainment, reality is what you say it is - it's whatever you feel like saying in the moment. It doesn't have to bear any relationship to real world, reality-based community style reality. So why does scoring the sport have to be more legit? Why can't that be a marketing tool as well? Why does if have to matter if it's real or not? Surely a public that isn't worthy of knowing if a couple of ice dancers are married or not, a public that needs to be force fed a bunch of lies, are not so refined and discriminating that a little cheating in a sport most of them don't understand any way would matter. We like stories. Scoring is dull - especially CoP scoring. Nobody seems to care to explain it when they comment on competitions - that's how little they seem to think we care about it - or maybe that's how little they think we're capable of understanding it.

    So, IOW, that whole rationale that made legitimacy in figure skating scoring important - the bit about how if the public thinks it's not on the level, they'll be turned off - is obviously barking up the wrong tree. Figure skating has had "legitimate" scoring since 2006 and it hasn't done a damn thing for the sports popularity. We don't care!

    After all, what are DW doing on the ice but basically the same thing that VM are doing off the ice (pretending to do something they're not doing, be something they're not) and the judges are just enabling it the way a bunch of skating insiders and media types enable VM in their initiatives off the ice. What's the difference?

    1. This is on point. Figure skating judging is there to support a scripted narrative, just like DWTS or Big Brother or any reality show. Nobody really gives a shit about this stuff. The forum posters who twist themselves into knots dissecting the protocols are not getting it (except that I suppose that is a form of entertainment for them, so good on them).

      The judges are just a bunch of skating fans or former skaters who go for these positions so they can travel the world, stay in nice hotels, and schmooze over dinner and drinks with their friends. The IJS makes it incredibly easy - you don't even have to make a choice or justify your score, just hit a bunch of + and - buttons, throw out some PCS, and you can shrug it off as "I just put the numbers in, I don't know nothin'."

      The ISU doesn't care about legitimacy, they just want the media and IOC off their backs, not calling for investigations. So they've made the system as obtuse and anonymous as possible (only for the major competitions!) and throw bones to pathetic teams like DW, because they're American, they work so hard, and nobody knows what good ice dance is anyway.

      To be fair, VM have not really complained about the judging in a long time. They tend to pick apart their skating. IOW, they are as clueless about this as they are in all aspects of PR and their personal and professional relationships. They work on their skating in earnest, while DW know and play the game effectively.

      This is why I am sure VM won't win in Sochi. They are playing pick-up sticks while DW are playing chess with Deep Blue.

  12. P.S. - there is a hole in VM's off-ice rationale though- until this Strombo interview - the parts that aired and the parts that didn't) they never admitted that off ice is as fake as on the ice (marketing tool). In entertainment, the audience is generally in on the deal - they know skating is performance, theatre is theatre, etc. When it creeps into how things are managed off stage and it's not shared with the audience that things continue to be just as fake as they are during performance, that's a little unfair. They really should know. Otherwise you're just making fools of people.

  13. It's unbelievable they had the balls to market a big relationship rift even while the public domain was full of evidence to the contrary.

    It did sell a lot of books. Do I get any money back?

    1. See that SA 08-09 interview? You can tell there's a rift! Look how they look at each other. They hate each other. They're feeling abandoned! You cant tell by their expressions and tone of voice! They're miserable! Sob.

      And one of them must have been hologrammed into the studio, since they didn't set eyes on each other during this time.

      Yeah - I guess the rift story must be true after all.

    2. @8:55 Eh, if you just think of it like Marina did, "A nice picture book", it's actually not so bad. ;)

  14. Even not paying any attention to their contradictions and conflicting stories, I had a hard time believing that their relationship was shattered purely from their body language and behaviour with each other at the national championships following this supposed rift. Scott was constantly touching her, stroking her back and generally being the most supportive and protective guy ever. No one does that if their relationship has been strained to the point of not even texting.

    I definitely think it could have been a tough time for them but their relationship was still very much intact and they worked through it, together.

  15. What they were working through were fears about the Olympics. That's it. Since prior to 2006 their aim had been gold at Vancouver. Tessa's compartment syndrome hitting her when it hit here, midway through the cycle leading to Vancouver, was terrifying. They came through with flying colors, their trust and faith in each other stronger than ever because Tessa didn't waver, and Scott didn't waver in his support of her. He never acted like she was letting him down or that he was afraid she would and she basically delivered despite what she was going through, which was a tremendous feat on multiple levels. She had a lot of physical pain but the big stress was - would this impact their skating to the point where they'd lose their chance at gold? Would this impact their skating to where she'd have to quit?

    Their relationship was fine. Their plans, dreams and goals were in jeopardy. That's not a small thing when you look at the years they put into it. Fortunately for them they dealt with it as a unit. Unfortunately they decided, as a marketing tool, to claim they dealt with it separately.

    The idea was basically - get gold and after that everything was icing on the cake. They were then free to be a married couple and start their family. If they didn't win gold in Vancouver and still had that same drive for gold in Sochi (which I think was in the "we'll cross that bridge when we get there" category, meaning, if they didn't win in Vancouver) - there would be a lot more at risk in her having a baby after 2010. How would her legs be affected, how would her skating and body be affected, etc., how would their lives impact their skating. With no gold, it's a big roll of the dice. With a gold medal already won, they could set about accomplishing the goals they had for themselves in their personal life without weighing whether it might cost them a gold medal. They had a gold medal.

    The legs were stressful in themselves, but the extreme stress was about how close it was to Vancouver 2010.

    1. It's also just great how she phrased it "we separated". What kid wouldn't love to hear that in a few years.