April 11, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: Slinging Mud at Ashley Judd: A leftist magazine exposes a Hollywood actress as troubled and strange.

Yesterday Mother Jones’s David Corn published an exposé that shows Judd to be every bit as peculiar as her vulgar Malthusian musings lead one to expect. “I freak out in airports,” Corn quotes Judd as saying. “The last time I came home from a trip, I absolutely flipped out when I saw pink fuzzy socks on a rack. I mean, I can never anticipate what is going to push me over the edge.”

Her ideas about religion are odd, too: “I have to expand my God concept from time to time,” Corn quotes Judd as saying, “and you know particularly I enjoy native faith practices, and have a very nature-based God concept. I’d like to think I’m like St. Francis in that way. Brother Donkey, Sister Bird.”

Corn provides some context here, noting that “Judd was referring to well-known stories about St. Francis [of Assisi], who once preached a sermon to birds–’my little sisters’–and who referred to his own body as the ‘Brother Donkey.’ ” Fair enough, but it’s still pretty weird for a Hollywood actress to compare herself to St. Francis.

Judd isn’t just eccentric, according to Corn, but has a history of mental illness, including suicidal ideation while in the sixth grade and a 42-day hospitalization for clinical depression as an adult.

But the Corn exposé is bizarre in its own way. For one thing, it doesn’t actually reveal anything new about Judd. While the facts Corn presents about her may come as news to a low-information entertainment consumer such as this columnist, they were already on the record. The quotes above come from a public speech, and the information about her medical history is from a memoir she published in 2011.

For another, since she isn’t running for office, it’s difficult to imagine any reason other than sheer sensationalism why Judd’s eccentricities and infirmities would be of interest to readers of a political magazine like Mother Jones.

Indeed. Have you no decency?