*The world of Susie Nong


Yes, it’s LuciHER!

I’ve been in a temper since Sunday, due to having had the misfortune of reading Susie O’Brien’s ludicrous column about Nicole Kidman in the Herald Sun. As such, I apologise in advance to anyone reading this piece for the fact that it is not even an attempt at humour – rather, I have written it because if I did not express myself on this topic, I may well have had a stroke due to disgust and I simply do not have it within me to triumph over that level of adversity.

O’Brien begins by taking exception to Kidman’s admission that she has tried Botox, because, O’Brien feels, it is obvious that Kidman has had Botox and she should have been being honest about it all along. This is because, declares the columnist, if she and other female celebrities are not honest about such procedures, men will then look at O’Brien and her ilk and wonder why they are with a ‘hag with crow’s feet and wrinkles’. I reject this argument on the grounds that, first, I myself do not know of even one man who would be unable to recognise the results of cosmetic surgery and, yes, difficult though it may be to believe, I am actually acquainted with some heterosexuals. Second, if such a man does exist, the problem, surely, lies with him, not with Nicole Kidman. However, that is quite enough about the cosmetic-surgery question, as I have at this point in my life had it up the wazoo with any discussion related to how women feel about physical ageing, or about ‘body image’ issues, given I firmly believe that if femalekind can merely stop panicking about the fact that models walk among us and think about something that is a) useful and b) interesting, this ‘problem’ will immediately cease to exist – and, yes, it is that simple.

Thus, we come now to the irksomeness of O’Brien claiming that Kidman has an ‘icy personality’, in contrast with, who else but, Mr Hugh Jackman, someone who is, we are told, ‘down-to-earth’. First, there is the obvious point that O’Brien in actuality knows both these megastars about as well as she knows Anne Boleyn. She even says herself that ‘I still feel I don’t really know [Kidman] all that well’; this is, it would seem, because she doesn’t talk enough about her personal life for O’Brien’s liking and, specifically, does not talk about what transpired between herself and Tom Cruise. Now, I too palpitate to know what really precipitated that particular marital breakdown but I don’t, on the other hand, labour under the delusion that Kidman is under some kind of obligation to tell me, and this is aside from the fact that it should be apparent, even to the meanest intelligence, that it may be the case that she does not talk about her marriage to Cruise because she is under a legal obligation not to do so. As well, the accusation that Kidman does not talk about her personal life is incorrect anyway, given that she talks about it too much, if anything – I myself would give a great deal never to see another article about how motherhood is ‘her greatest role’, even though it demonstrably isn’t, given her curriculum vitae (of which more below). Second, there is the issue that even if Kidman truly does have the black heart of a serial killer and Jackman is Jesus Christ returned to Earth, who the hell cares, given that it’s not as if any of us has to live with these people? The simple truth is that human beings are not generally driven to enter the world of entertainment because they have a ‘nice’ personality – it is far more likely to be due to a combination of insecurity and egomania, and the general public would do well to accept this and simply be thankful for the alchemy to which this combination can lead. But, no, for the average lady columnist in the tabloid press, there is really only one type of woman who is worthy of trust and admiration: she must, of course, be not simply a mother, she must be ‘a mum’, although she can get away with not being a mum if she is ‘suffering the heartbreak of infertility’ and lost in envy of those who have reached the nirvana of mumhood, and wants to look at photographs of ‘bubs’ and smell their heads; she must love shoes, and the television production of Pride and Prejudice that starred Colin Firth; she must find it impossible to resist chocolate, and enjoy drinking wine with ‘the girls’ while having a good old giggle about how men would never be able to cope with the pains of labour. While Kidman does, I would think, enjoy shoes, there is less certainty that she would rejoice in any of these other pursuits, which is why, it appears, it is best that we immediately get hold of a stake, tie her to it and set light to her, as penalty for not being nearly bland enough. After all, O’Brien observes darkly that ‘Women, in particular, seem to have never warmed to Kidman’, and, I am sure, she would have been in a position to discuss this matter with every woman in the world, as opposed to merely having polled herself and, perhaps, a few of her dopey mates.

By far the most contemptible part of an immensely contemptible article, however, is O’Brien taking Kidman to task for her choice of film roles: that ‘most of her performances have been in high-brow artsy roles which are not the kind of movies we want to see’. Well, whomever ‘we’ may be, it is truly distressing that O’Brien’s objection to Kidman’s body of work lies in her interest in making motion pictures that people who can actually write their own names night be interested in watching. The blithe statement that she ‘hasn’t done anything really great’ since To Die For is, of course, particularly moronic – especially given that O’Brien then namechecks Rabbit Hole, Birthday Girl, Birth, Dogville, The Human Stain and The Others, all of which, while they are – as is the nature of work more ambitious than that of writing newspaper columns aimed at the lowest common denominator – of, and have had, varying levels of success, do, at the very least, demonstrate Kidman’s admirable pattern of stretching herself like a Soviet Union gymnast artistically, when she doesn’t even need to, having well and truly proved herself. Were I she, I would most certainly have settled into Richard Burton’s, frankly deeply inspiring, paradigm of spending all my time eating at fancy restaurants, thinking about how much money I have and doing as little work as I could get away with. Yes, I admit that there are few of us who are not guilty of spouting off about that which we know nothing – I can just hear myself screaming at someone, anyone, that ‘Well, Hugh fucking Jackman has never done anything great, ever!’ but it is also the case that – aside from Erskineville Kings, in which I recall him giving a convincing performance – I have never actually seen any of his films except for Australia, the sheer mindblowing shiteness of which no one, not even Kidman or Saint Jackman, had a hope of overcoming.

Essentially, it is one thing for Susie O’Brien to – while sounding like a five-year-old, by the way – criticise Nicole Kidman for her ‘zillion-dollar ball gowns’ but quite another for her to attack the actress because she wonders why Kidman ‘is trying so damn hard to impress us’, as shown by her suspicous willingness to appear in ‘arty’ fare, as opposed to the 105th work concerning the doings of the X-Men. Aside from the fact that Kidman’s work ethic is admirable, I would be willing to bet the star’s considerable fortune that she isn’t trying to impress O’Brien, primarily because she is, I would imagine, fortunate enough not to know who she is. At the end of the day, it is not Nicole Kidman’s fault that so many people are idiots, and it is awful that she should have to pay the price for it in the form of these kinds of cretinous opinion pieces, particularly given that this one was not the first of them and will not, I fear, be the last.

30 Responses to “The world of Susie Nong”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this – I was appalled when I read Susie O’Brien’s hate-piece on Nicole. As a huge Aussie Kidmaniac, I am frequently annoyed whenever fellow Australians insult Nicole. She has been a terrific ambassador for our nation, and is a beautiful woman, inside and out. She says nothing but lovely things about Australia and its people, and yet we generally do the complete opposite when it comes to her. I couldn’t care less about her elective surgery procedures and personally think she shouldn’t have to discuss it – I know quite a few women who I know have had something done but haven’t said a word about it to anyone. Thank you for speaking up for some of us and defending a woman who has done nothing wrong, and is by far one of the greatest talents our country has ever produced. Her dedication to her art is unparalleled, and one only has to see her most recent film roles (“Hemingway & Gellhorn”, “The Paperboy” and “Stoker”) to see the eclecticism and daring nature of her work. She also is a kind-hearted, warm person and is dedicated to helping others. C’mon Australia – stop with the tall-poppy syndrome!

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Michael! It was great to read what you had to say.

  2. Binnie says:

    “Well, Hugh fucking Jackman has never done anything great, ever!”

    Hugh Jackman is wolverine. How Dare You?

    • And fair enough too, though I only said I could HEAR myself saying this …

  3. JustTheFactsPls says:

    Thank you so much for your article. In addition to everything you wrote, I would add that Susie O’Brien is one lazy journo. Did she even bother to find out if that “interview” where Nicole supposedly ‘fessed up actually happened? Or did her “source” merely pieced together some tabloid gossip?

  4. Silver St Cloud says:

    Thank you for this rebuttal, why is Susie so obsessed with Nicole Kidman? She keeps going after her repeatedly but she went too far this time. Het “opinion” was a seething vitriolic hate piece.

    the comparison to Hugh jackman was ludicrous…This wOman needs help. It’s unfortunate that Kidman has become a walking target, for these scum suckers.

  5. Ads says:

    If this is what blogs are about ,fuck em

  6. Martin says:

    I’m delighted that a seriously bad article has prompted you into writing again. You didn’t write for so long that I began to worry you might be forging ahead with a career or experiencing the joys of motherhood or maybe even doing both at the same time.

    I’m still waiting for the imaginedslights take on the apparently wonderful job that Russell Crowe did hosting the film awards night, especially as the ever-popular Cate Blanchett was also there and also being wonderful.

    I can’t help but think that the best reason for “our Nicole” to break the legal embargo about her marriage isn’t so much to enlighten anyone as to pave the way for the “Tom & Nicole” TV movie. This involves rich people behaving badly, someone living a double life and lots of 80’s flashbacks. I’m pretty sure you’d manage to carve out the necessary 2 hours from your career-obsessed, child-enriched life to watch that one.

    • Thanks so much, Martin! I did post last week but it’s true to say that I sometimes am only able to post once a month. You have put something magical in my mind with the ‘Tom & Nicole’ movie – unfortunately, though, it will probably have to wait for Tom’s death, due to the defamation question.

      • Martin says:

        Some things are worth waiting for. I can already envisage the Charles & Diana approach for the TV movie – the actors promenading through Circular Quay as they pretend to be the real deal, discussion of the prosthetic nose created for Tom’s depiction, the exaggerated “Aussie” scenes with dinkum dialogue. It’ll be something golden for your golden years.

  7. Alyson Guard says:

    Probably the most interesting thing about Suzie was in one of her columns she gave the game away when she said “my job isn’t just to shape public opinion but to reflect it”…which is a strange contradiction in terms, but also suggests most of her columns come from a peoples survey of the local bus stop or hairdresser rather than any heartfelt opinions.

    There’s also a bizarre culture at the Herald Sun of stripping relatively complex people down to three or two basic commodities and keeping things as simple as possible – Kidman clearly being “icy and difficult” is her chosen words from the thesarus. And to paraphrase the immortal Bob Monkouse – “Suzie O’Brien will be remembered long after Bev O’Connor is forgotten…but not before”…

    • Thanks very much, Alyson – that is interesting about the reflecting public opinion business, in particular.

  8. Peter Lloyd says:

    All true, but…. it’s the Herald-freaking-Sun dude. It HAS to be lowbrow shite appealing to the chronically insecure to get published.

  9. beth says:

    Haven’t read the Kidman take-down, and now I don’t need to. Glad you avoided the stroke and we all got to benefit 🙂

  10. Cath says:

    This is all very well, but you seem to have something against wine, chocolate and Pride and Prejudice. AND Hugh Jackman, which is arguably worse.

    On the Kidman front, however, spot on.

    • Thank you, Cath! For the record, I am massively in favour of wine, chocolate and both the book and original film of Pride and Prejudice, and even the most recent version, starring Keira Knightley. I draw the line at that damn BBC one, though.

  11. Genevieve says:

    Unfortunately, or, rather, fortunately, I missed Ms O’Brien’s hatchet job on Nicole Kidman. I don’t like to subscribe to the Murdoch press and that is the only way I can access articles from the always informative ‘Herald Sun’. I have never understood why Nicole attracts such hostility, especially from women. Personally, I’m not a fan of the ‘botox look’, but I can understand why a woman in her 40s, working in Hollywood, might try to prolong her career. As you’ve pointed out, it really is up to her and no one else’s business. I don’t see why Nicole should take responsibility for the insecurities of the women of the world. After all, it is hardly her fault she is ridiculously good-looking. And when it comes down to it, if you are willing to fork out the cash, anyone can have themselves injected with botox. As for refusing to talk about her relationship with Tom Cruise, I have always thought her very sensible for keeping her trap shut on that particular subject. Great piece. Thanks.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I just came upon this post from a link in the review of ‘Grace of Monaco’. I never read the article in question, but you make some very good points. I agree that she has been unfairly criticised.

    On a different note…I must confess that my only experience of Pride and Prejudice is the BBC mini-series, which I loved. What was wrong with it in your opinion? Was it not faithful to the book (pardon my ignorance)?

    • Hi Elizabeth – thank you so much for your comment! Re.the BBC miniseries, I didn’t like all the Mr-Darcy-wet-shirt sexing up, and the Austen overload that the miniseries gave rise to in popular culture, but there’s no need to listen to me, I can assure you!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Fair enough.

    I was rather bemused by the Lost in Austen mini-series which aired on ABC a few years ago, involving a woman who travelled back in time (and into fiction) into Pride and Prejudice. I think we could have done without that.

  14. Sharon says:

    Just about every article Susie O’Brien has
    the audacity to write is upsetting. But it’s
    so easy to judge those you don’t know when you’re on
    the outside looking in,isn’t it, Susie Ning-
    Nong Ninnyhammer?

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