An open letter to Shiri Appleby »
Dear Ms. Appleby:
I am quite certain that you will come across this letter, as there is no doubt in my mind that you Google yourself regularly in order to ascertain whether you still are/ever were a relevant figure in current pop culture. It is unfortunate, then, that the words you are about to read do not contain sentiments of “Gee, I wonder what that one girl who had a bit part in The Other Sister is doing, she was excellent in that!” but instead carry the following message: “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Listen, Shiri Appleby, I know it’s hard. It sucks that your popularity on IMDB is down 7 percent this week and the few messages left on your board are mainly about what a bad actress you are—which is not untrue. You are an attractive young woman, and I am sure you are charming in person, but that just doesn’t carry on the TV. You’re like an older, shriekier Lea Michele. And even Lea Michele is too much Lea Michele, you know? It’s just going to get worse, because instead of praising you for your work on Roswell, I am going to castigate you for abandoning veganism to find love. Especially creepy, douchey love.
You were a vegan as recently as February of 2010, Shiri Appleby. Blogs were giving you accolades for being so awesome and conscious, and you yourself were pretty vocal about being vegan. That’s one of my biggest issues: you weren’t just a quiet vegan who was all, “Well, I’m going to do this and not make a big deal about it;” instead you actually gave quotes about why you went vegan. Here’s what you said: “I was sitting here eating my plate of chicken salad, and suddenly I looked down and saw all the meat on my plate and just wasn’t hungry anymore. So I’ve decided I’m not going to eat meat.” I don’t know the exact date of this quote, but it’s pretty awesome and got you quoted all over the internet and put you on some “sexy vegetarian” lists, which is why it is so disappointing that you completely abandoned it because, “What guy wants to date someone who’s vegan?" There is so much wrong with that statement that I do not even know where to start.
Seriously, Shiri Appleby, “What guy wants to date a vegan?” Give dudes a little credit. There are plenty of guys who would date someone who is vegan and who might actually prefer that you didn’t have a mound of rotting flesh in your stomach at any given time/gave a shit about something. Also, how is it that chicken is so disgusting to you, but you’ll dump your values and beliefs in a second to get a date? Is this really the message you want to send to the young girls who I’m sure you believe are looking up to you? It is not! The message you are sending is both gross and incredibly unfeminist.
You may be wondering why I am addressing the issue of feminism considering that this is not a blog necessarily focused on feminism, and the fact that I am a male telling you what I consider feminist does not escape me, but my issue is this: If you had decided to abandon veganism due to the fact that you felt it no longer jibed with your lifestyle, I would be unhappy and probably post my thoughts on that. And I do confess those thoughts would still include colorful language expressing my displeasure with you and your complete and utter failure as an actress even though people are still paying you to do television movies (when Jennifer Love Hewitt/Melissa Joan Hart are doing something else). Instead, I am also upset with the fact that you abandoned veganism to PLEASE A MAN—a man that did not yet exist, but that you knew would not date a vegan—because you didn’t feel that your personal qualities were good enough for him to overlook your dietary choices. Remember those hypothetical girls who look up to you? What is this going to look like to them? What are you telling them, that they should give up their ideals in order to get a man and then allow the man to say the following about them?
Jon Shook, an owner of Animal, the meat- and fat-centric restaurant in Los Angeles, becomes effusive when he talks about coaxing his girlfriend, Shiri Appleby, a television actress and a former vegan, into eating his fried pork chops. “She’s like 110 pounds, maybe, in wet clothes, and when she’s with me, we eat everything and anything,” he said on the phone. “On our first date, I was like, ‘Hey, why’d you stop being a vegan?’ And she was like, ‘What kind of guy’s going to date a vegan?’ And I was like, ‘You’re awesome.’”
Really, Shiri Appleby? This is the image you want people to have of you? That some guy can convince you to eat pork chops who then grows “effusive” when he talks about how much you weigh and how awesome you are to give up your values (and dare I say agency)? I scoured the internet hoping that you had reprimanded him, that you had your publicist release a statement saying either that “Jon Shook and Shiri Appleby have never met and his quote to the New York Times is a delusion that should be treated by a trained clinician. We wish him the best of luck!” or, “Shiri Appleby apologizes for the comment made by her boyfriend Jon Shook who made crass and untrue statements about and on behalf of Ms. Appleby to the New York Times. Ms. Appleby hopes you support her during this difficult time.” I found neither! Does that mean that Jon Shook’s statements were not only true but that you had no problem with them? Did you sit in your living room with him and giggle together about how this article makes you sound? Were you just excited to be mentioned? Did the way you were talked about not fill you with several drops of irritation or shame, if not outright anger? And if not, why? Because I am angry for you, Shiri Appleby, I am angry for you and with you!
I don’t know what we do at this point, Shiri Appleby. I will certainly no longer garner as much enjoyment from the Hallmark Channel movies you star in as I once did, and I will not be giving Life Unexpected another chance like I had planned to when I had more time to watch the DVDs. And that makes me sad, Shiri Appleby, because I don’t know if you can afford to alienate your vegan/feminist/people-with-common-sense viewership in your desperate attempt to cling to America’s consciousness. It’s a sheer cliff, Shiri Appleby, and your acting skills and personal beliefs aren’t helping you scale it; they’re only bringing us all down.
[Thanks to reader Adrienne for sending me the link to the New York Times article. This open-letter business is quite fun, actually, so if anyone has any other people for me to get incredibly angry at/praise, let me know. It’s much cheaper than going to therapy!]