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The Wiener Effect

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The Wiener Effect

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Patricia Gras

Patti’s Reflections:

What I learned this week:
Everyone has skeletons in the closet so pointing fingers at others for their misdeeds is futile exercise, what we need to focus on in improving ourselves daily.

What I am grateful for
I recognize I am not perfect and yet have to love and embrace my imperfect self anyways.

Credit: Associated Press

The Wiener Effect
Sara Irvine and Patricia Gras

Another scandal, another week of wasting hours of airtime on celebrity culture. Why did he do it? Why do we care? Why did he lie? When will this be over? Do we want this man representing us in government?

Successful, powerful people can have empty emotional lifestyles. And they usually do. With traveling far from their loved ones, working long hours, and the constant pressure in the spotlight, their lives do not usually contain the emotional intimacy that is naturally needed by human beings. Is that why Wiener spent so much of his idle time twittering or communicating with women he didn’t know personally. Was he addicted to being online? (A very common problem we don’t care to admit, cause we are too busy twittering!)
Is this why many politicians have acted out their sexual behavior in more bizarre manners? New York Representative. Anthony Weiner’s recent social media sleazy scandal left the American public stunned but not surprised. Politician sex scandals blur somewhere between a reality show on MTV and real life. Just recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10-year affair, New York Rep. Christopher Lee shirtless on Craigslist, and John Edward’s mistress have both shocked and entertained America. It seems as if the scandals are popping up like everyday news. Or is it that our media in its attempt to make more profits, focuses on the mysterious personal lives of celebrities?

According to sex addiction expert Robert Weiss, in his interview with Life Healing Center’s 4 Therapy, there is a particular type of personality that tends to be enticed by the spotlight. Weiss explains, “public figures are the type of people who need consistent attention and validation from others.” He goes on to say, “even though this is a perfectly normal trait to have as a human being, as these figures strive for their fame and recognition, they sacrifice the emotional support and affection they also need from those who are actually close to them as people.” And, when you’re a busy politician, sitting in an unfamiliar hotel room at the end of the day, exhausted, alone, and far from all loved ones– this scenario opens up a situation for distractions or addictions.

The wise words of a long-gone New York politician, and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, do not seem relevant to some of our politicians anymore: “No man can lead a public career really worth leading…if he is himself vulnerable in his private character.” Do traits such as dignity or honor still exist? Even though our Founding Fathers are remembered with such dignity and honor, it makes one wonder if they too were involved with such similar scandals, maybe so, but perhaps they just didn’t have social media sites to catch them, or the mainstream media was covering real news and letting other media cover the personal lives or titillating stories of their leaders.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Houston PBS.


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The Beauty of Different

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The Beauty of Different

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

Note from Patricia Gras:

What I learned this week: People have a right to their opinion of you, but you have the right to disagree with it!
Don’t give people your power.

What I am grateful for: I meet people with great courage and they inspire me. Be sure to watch Freedom Riders on May 16th on HoustonPBS and learn why courage is necessary for social justice

Celebrate The Beauty of You!
By: Cassady Lance, production assistant
Supervising Editor: Patricia Gras

When was the last time you celebrated a birthday, an anniversary or a graduation? I bet you can remember exactly when such an occasion took place.

In a world where we celebrate almost everything under the sun, when was the last time you celebrated you- not for having a birthday, or getting a promotion, but just for being you? I’ll bet that kind of celebration is a little bit harder to remember.

So why do we not celebrate ourselves on a regular basis? Probably because we are so busy beating ourselves up for our imperfections and failures that we forget to appreciate the positive traits and successes in life worth celebrating.

Consider Living Smart Guest for the Sunday, April 24 show at 3pm., Author Karen Walrond’s interesting and refreshing take on beauty:

“One of the exercises that I love to do with people is say, if you think about the people in
your life that you think are truly beautiful, chances are the person that you come up with isn’t Heidi Klum. Right? It’s a grandmother or it’s a child or it’s somebody that really stirs your soul, and I think that that is more valid—a more valid definition of beauty, and that’s what we really should strive for is being able to stir other people with what it is that makes us different.”

Try this exercise for yourself, and think about who is truly beautiful in your life. Why are they beautiful to you? Then ask yourself what it is that makes you truly beautiful? What is different about you? Do you embrace your differences, or do you try to hide them?

Now take the challenge to celebrate yourself, and focus on all of the great things that make you, well… you!

The lack of confidence and self-esteem plagues many people of all ages, genders, races and cultures, many times because of the attention that is paid to celebrities and their seemingly unattainable beauty. We imagine what it would be like to have Halle Berry’s flawless face, or Jennifer Anniston’s hair or Kim Kardashian’s famous curves; but what we seem to forget is that these people are human just like the rest of us. The difference is that celebrities have the money to hire hair and wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, fitness trainers and nutritionists to help them maintain that picture-perfect look.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Jennifer Lopez admits that celebrities have somewhat of an unfair advantage. The magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2011 says that she works hard for her look by maintaining a portion-controlled diet, a rigorous workout routine and a consistent skincare regimen. She also reminds readers that being beautiful is a part of her job.

But even with all of that help, celebrities still have their own insecurities. Glamour Magazine asked some of the most beautiful people in Hollywood what they don’t like about themselves, and some of the responses are surprising.

To some, Kim Kardashian is one of the most beautiful people in the world, but the E! reality star admits that it took her some time to feel comfortable with who she is.

“I would always see skinny models and think I didn’t fit in, but I realized I can’t change my reality; I can only do what I can to improve my body and work out to stay fit and healthy,” Kardashian said.

Even Kerri Hilson says that she once struggled with her own image. The R&B recording artist and songwriter says that it took time for her to love herself, flaws and all.

“I had to learn to fix what I can and accept what I cannot fix… that’s probably the hardest thing for a young, growing hormonal female to do,” Hilson said.

The bottom line is that it is rare and virtually impossible to find someone who doesn’t feel insecure about something. But we need to remember to celebrate our differences and really take the time to appreciate everything that we have, and look beyond what is on the surface.

Not only is it important to practice self-acceptance for yourself, but it is also important to lead by example for others- especially formidable children and teenagers. Bullying is a huge problem for young people today, and unfortunately, statistics show that violence in schools is increasing.

Research shows that self-esteem is an integral part of helping children deal with bullies. Consider the following information from how-to-stop-bullying.com:

Kids with low self-esteem may not want to try new things, and may frequently speak negatively about themselves: “I’m stupid,” “I’ll never learn how to do this,” or “What’s the point? Nobody cares about me anyway.” Their self-talk is the key. They may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or waiting for somebody else to take over. They tend to be overly critical of and easily disappointed in themselves. Kids with low self-esteem see temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions, and a sense of pessimism predominates. Self-esteem is so important to help your child deal with bullies.

Here you can also find important statistics about school bullying:

• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied. An American Justice Department school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics studies shows that this month 1 out of every 4 kids will be abused by another youth.
• School bullying statistics surveys show that 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally, & physically. Cyber bullying statistic are rapidly approaching similar numbers.
• In a recent school bullying statistics study, 77% of the students said they had been bullied. And 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse. Many have tried to stop cyber bullying according to cyber bullying statistics.
• 1 out of 5 kids on a school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics study admit to being a bully, or doing some “Bullying.”
• Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.
• A school bullying statistics reveals that 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• 100,000 students carry a gun to school.
• 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.
• A school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
• The same school bullying statictics and cyber bullying statistics poll also showed that 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school. Playground school bullying statistics – Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.

So whether you’re doing it for yourself or for others, realize the importance of self-acceptance, and learn to love and appreciate everyone’s differences as something that makes us all unique and beautiful. That’s the beauty of difference!

How will you not only impact your own life, but impact the lives of others as well through self-acceptance?
People Magazine Article:


Glamour Magazine Article:


Statistics on Bullying:


The views expressed in this blog do not express the opinions of Houston PBS. The Living Smart episode on The Beauty of Difference airs this Sunday, April 24th at 3 p.m. The episode focuses on Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different.

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