The Case Of The Furious Fangirl

For those of you following along at home, I have to preface this with a little disclaimer, for my own peace of mind. While this post has everything to do with Jeanette Anna MacDonald (with a nod to others who know who they are, wherever they are), it is separated from the others, by title name, because I am angry. When I’m angry, I sometimes get irrational. If you want strictly facts, this post isn’t the one. This is where I have to take a moment to vent about something that has bothered me for many, many years. Up to now, I’ve kind of (and shamefully) laughed the whole scenario off, just based on how ridiculous it is. Lately, though, I’ve been mulling over the implications, and… it’s about to get a little yell-y, in here, and the cuss jar’s been paid, in advance.

On page 116 of the 1994 release of the book Sweethearts, it is said that Nelson Eddy threw Jeanette MacDonald down on a bed and raped her.

Take zero context for that because there needs be no context, when it comes to rape. That is a serious fucking offense, people. According to this book, a woman was unwilling, and a man forced himself on her, after describing exactly what he was going to do to her.

That… no. That is just outright ridiculous. Clue in, people- actual human beings have been in that situation, and terrified. In this asinine “biography,” this 50 Shades Of Shit, she laughs. She asks what took him so long.

NO. YOU DO NOT USE THE TERM RAPE, THEN MAKE IT OUT LIKE IT’S NO BIG DEAL, LAUGH IT OFF, GO ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.

Rape is a big deal, and if you’re saying Nelson did that to Jeanette, I’m going to need some proof. You can’t say, “Oh, her sister…” (after having a stroke/suffering from dementia) or “Oh, Nelson’s mom…” Legitimate source material DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. And if your source bank can’t cash the disgusting, trashy fantasy check that you wrote, maybe you need to shut it down.

I’m pissed off for Nelson, pissed off for Jeanette. Even moreso, I’m livid on behalf of the women who have been victimized. I’m appalled and disgusted that anyone could dare take the pain that so many women have gone through and turn it into nonsense, like it’s totally okay as long as she was flirty and he was just so overwhelmed with lust. These women live with the physical and emotional scars, and you’re like, “NO BIG DEAL, IT’S JUST A TINY RAPE.”

Where the hell do you get off with crap like this? Show me where Jeanette said it. Show me where ANYONE WHO KNEW HER EVER SAID IT. Handwritten notes from anonymous sources and supposed verbally communicated stories from a woman who HAD DEMENTIA do not work for this! Women have gone to their graves, after living for years with the demon of having been raped, and you… you whip up this bullshit, and romanticize it.

Go forth and tell all those 392 year old anonymous sources that all those “scary people” that “threatened lawsuits” are DEAD. And Tessa? OH HELL, MAYBE SHE’LL TELL ALL, SINCE THAT’S APPARENTLY WHAT PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA DO. If Jeanette’s manuscript was so easy to scan and turn a buck on, where’s Isabel’s diary? I have this handy thing called a wand scanner that you can HAVE, just to get me evidence of this.

There is so much more that I wish I could put into words, right now. All I can think to say is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry to Nelson for having been accused, sorry to Jeanette for being used, sorry to every last human being who has been the victim, only to have this word, reserved for one of the most heinous of assaults, turned into some candy land fairy tale. I’m sorry for jokes I’ve made about flying buttons, in regard to this story, in order to keep myself from facing exactly how sick it truly is.

And if someone gives me some document, some shred of evidence, I will apologize to the author.

***EDIT: It’s okay, everyone! I guess rape is just totally fucking hunky doodle dory, if the guy has anger issues! Let me be the first to congratulate the MacEddy club in this stunning and heroic display of justifying rape! Congratulations, guess you really won that argument!***

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15 thoughts on “The Case Of The Furious Fangirl

  1. Thanks for addressing this in such a blunt manner because that’s the ONLY way in which rape can and should be addressed. Some thirty-five years ago rape was used as a plot device for the characters of Luke and Laura on “General Hospital”. In the years since both stars have publicly regretted how something so heinous could have been used in order to propel a storyline in the make believe world of soaps. In my book I honestly addressed having been raped at knifepoint as a teen. In the last 3 years I have spoken to scores of groups and hundreds of individuals – male and female – who have shared their own experiences and the aftermath of being raped. Not a single person found it to be a romantic gesture, nor did they develop or retain warm and loving feelings toward their rapist. It’s difficult to fathom the insensitivity of an individual who would attempt to portray Mr. Eddy as a rapist or Miss MacDonald as his victim or any readers who would find reading about it to be romantic. Both stars deserved far better than the “evil” bestowed upon them by this warped and cruel depiction.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so open and for your thoughts, Paul. Having never been through it, I don’t truly know the pain, but I am just so so so angry on every victim’s behalf. I really felt like this was a topic that I couldn’t maintain a level head on- it’s a serious issue, and if I have the anger that I do… what must it be like for people who know the true impact of being raped? What level of hurt would that cause?

      • Throughout the years, everyone I had the privilege of speaking to about Jeanette and Nelson invariably noted that each had a moral compass and a core of decency that was often at odds with the so-called Hollywood lack of morality. Recently I had the opportunity to purchase a vast collection of correspondence written between Nelson and conductor Robert Armbruster and Theodore Paxson over a couple of decades. It’s fascinating reading and extremely historic in nature and the second batch is to be sent next month. The overriding theme that one is left with is how mindful Nelson was of doing the right thing, whether with career choices and decisions or with respect to the personal life he prided himself as having. It’s impossible to believe that this individual would ever condone or participate in something as vile as rape.

    • Please see edit re: MacEddy response. Nelson had a temper, so it’s fine. And Diane Goodrich will totally vouch! You know Diane, the one who flat out told you that it was all a big fat lie! They’ve really shown us all, haven’t they?!

  2. I tried to read that stupid, awful book because I love JM and NE, and would read almost anything about them. The author, who doesn’t even deserve her initials typed here, has a passage about J and N in the 1930s, in a car, driving alone, and tells us, in quotes, what J is thinking. So, not only is this woman an author, she’s a time-traveler AND a mind-reader!

    While this is not anything as awful as what she wrote about rape, which is absolutely inexcusable, I was so outraged that I couldn’t read another word.

    Thank you for writing what you wrote, and keep fighting the good fight. Too many people believe that book, and look for clues to things that didn’t happen. I think the truth is far more interesting, especially when written about Jeanette and Nelson. Let’s accept them for what they were: hard working performers. Let’s thank them for who they are: two people who I love to watch in (most) of their movies, who, when I’ve had a crappy day, magically make me feel better with their talent, humor, and, again, plain and simple hard work and artistry.

    If you want to read about Jeanette, Hollywood Diva is an excellent biography. I’ve read it twice and will read it again. Meticulously researched and totally enjoyable.

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Holly. I feel so strongly about your comments on loving them, as performers, too. I know too many (even one is too many, for me) who have been soured on these two amazing individuals because of these types of speculations about very, very private matters.
      I also love Hollywood Diva. It came out just as I was starting to enjoy Jeanette, and I’m so grateful to Mr. Turk for it.

      • I may be older than your other commenters (I’m 52…and a half, LOL) and when I was growing up–and believe me none of my friends even knew who MacDonald or Eddy were–all I ever read about Jeanette and Nelson was that they hated each other and hated working together! Then Sweethearts came out years later, blech. Then, thank goodness, the Hollywood Diva book which seems the most grounded in actual reality and facts. I hope Sweethearts, the book, just goes away forever.

      • I’ve never been able to figure out why the answer to the misleading rumors of hatred had to be an unsettling romance, filled with Drama! and Sex! I guess, at least that mess of a “fictional account,” Farewell To Dreams was printed as fiction, back in the day. Funny that it should be a huge source for a biography, huh?! I don’t know that Sweethearts will ever go away, fully. What’s truly unfortunate about that is, on top of damaging the names of Jeanette, Nelson, their spouses, and many of their co workers, it cheapens the true, sometimes tragic stories that have obviously been borrowed from others.

  3. I’ve not read Sweethearts and I have no desire to. I’ve been told enough about it to know that life is too short to waste time with it. I will agree with Holly above that the author must have been a time-traveler and a mind-reader. I will add that, apparently, she was also a shape shifter with the ability to assume the form of a fly on the wall of the many bedrooms that the ‘sinners’ assume Jeanette and Nelson sporadically shared for decades. But to make rape into something romantic is beyond despicable. And to believe that the Iron Butterfly…(you know, the woman who basically went over L. B. Mayer’s head to get San Francisco to the movie screen) would, after an act as heinous and criminal as rape, respond with “What took you so long?” is beyond laughable. To believe that a woman that strong willed would allow anyone to tell her who she could or could not marry is equally laughable.

    The fans (if you can call them that) who accept this author’s version of Jeanette’s and Nelson’s lives choose to ignore the numerous other books written about Jeanette and Nelson as a SINGING/ACTING team and about Jeanette alone, none of which, make any reference to an affair and are very well documented..

    And, please, look at the YouTube video of the MacEddy meeting, 2015…you know the ‘Master Class’ (snicker) video. You will see the lengths the followers of this author will go to in an attempt to ‘connect’ Jeanette and Nelson. I had given some of them the benefit of the doubt as to their intelligence and common sense. As I watched the video, I could only laugh and shake my head. Oh..and be reminded of a man named Jim Jones who had a place called Jonestown, where people drank Kool Aid. This is a cult and nothing more.

    Thanks, again, for your blog and for standing up for the truth…for defending people who are no longer alive and cannot defend themselves. Rape is heinous and evil. To drag a person’s reputation through the mud after they are gone is equally heinous.

    • I haven’t made it through the new video. I started it, last night, and got sidetracked by Aunt Sally… er, Sally Blane, lol. As we all are WELL AWARE, though, I tend to fly off the handle, sometimes, when I’m mad, so… maybe I should take everyone’s word for it?
      Nah, let’s set me off and see what else falls off of my fingers, lol.

  4. Pleasure and laughter should never be in the same paragraph as rape. Unfortunately the Luke and Laura scenario on General Hospital romanticized the act, doing a great disservice to anyone who has been through that trauma. I don’t understand how anyone can make light of it.

    Sadly, many “fans” are more interested in the so called romance between Jeanette and Nelson than they are their music or films. Thank you for promoting their legacy and the truth.

    • I sure hope I’m doing something, here! 🙂 I just hate the hypersexualized (it’s a word because I said so, haha) personas they’ve been given. I don’t think Nelson ever uttered the word sex, other than maybe to identify a gender, and the good Lord knows Jeanette couldn’t describe sex worth a damn. If you apply any critical thinking at all to this stuff, none of it fits either of them! Jeanette was, by 98% of accounts, funny , down to earth, genuinely interested in others, and tried her best to make everyone she loved happy. Nelson was incredibly professional, business minded, and a perfect gentleman. Well, I have heard that he could be a bit of a grump, during his later years, but whatever. They just weren’t this wildly insane, obsessive, childish and, quite frankly, selfish couple of people that Sweethearts describes.

      • Well said! Apply critical thinking…apply any kind of logic and plain old common sense to the way the fans of Sweethearts believe Jeanette and Nelson behaved and you come up with nothing. You can play connect the dots all you want…except the dots aren’t there. Let’s have the facts backed up by something tangible. Respect and love these two people for the legacy of films and music they left to us.

  5. Thank you all for the thoughtful and rational comments! I feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one who fails to see the “romance” in a rape and then a sordid affair between these two hard-working professionals. The sad thing is the fan magazines and studio reports of their day are reviled for being too idealized, and the fan club girls are mocked for being disappointed at Nelson and Jeanette’s marriages to others. Are the supposedly more savvy people of our day praiseworthy in wanting to believe in a revisionist view of their lives as violent, crude, and tragic? I say they are just sybaritic and unprincipled in following that course. S.R. has made a career (and a living) out of destroying two special people’s reputations in order to “humanize” them! Let them rest in peace and live on through their performances!

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