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Posted at 10:06 AM ET, 08/11/2010

Is Jennifer Aniston really destructive to our society?

By Jen Chaney

Easily outraged Fox talk show host Bill O'Reilly has blasted Jennifer Aniston for making comments that he says are "destructive to our society." And no, he's not talking about the fact that she said she would like to be in the "Arrested Development" movie.

In a press conference earlier this week to promote her upcoming rom-com, "The Switch" -- a movie that happens to be about a woman who gets artificially inseminated -- Aniston said that a woman does not need to settle with a man just to have a child. Most people would hear that statement and say, "That's technically true." They would not think, "Man, Jennifer Aniston is going to convince a bunch of 12-year-olds that it's okay to go out and get pregnant." But then, most people are not Bill O'Reilly. Here's video from his Fox show in which he and commentators Margaret Hoover and Gretchen Carlson take Rachel Green to task for her statement:

Here's the problem with what was just said in that segment.

Aniston was talking very much in context about her film, which focuses on a 40-something who makes the decision to have a baby on her own and -- as the trailer reveals -- develops a relationship with the man she believes to be the sperm donor. Here's what she said, in more complete form:

"Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child ... times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long."

She also added:

"The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn't necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot ... Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere."

I'm trying to find the societal destructiveness in those words and I am just not seeing it. Yes, some women now can pursue pregnancy even if they don't have a partner. Which means that they now have the ability to realize the joy of motherhood, even if the Romance Gods have been unjustly unkind to them. Good for them.

As for preteens and teens who somehow take away the message that it's cool for them to go ahead and start conceiving children, I'd say that any kid focused on being a mother -- with a man or without one -- probably has some other issues that should be addressed, none of which have anything to do with words spoken during a Hollywood press conference at the Four Seasons.

During the week when "Eat Pray Love" arrives in theaters and tries to emphasize the liberating options that lie before the modern woman -- well, that, and sell us a bunch of stuff at World Market -- it's distressing that some people still don't understand how empowering it is for a woman to know that she can live a full life, with children, no matter the obstacles in front of her. That's what, I think, Aniston was trying to convey.

With that said, here's some advice for O'Reilly: Eat. Pray. Shove it.

By Jen Chaney  | August 11, 2010; 10:06 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Posted by: talleyl | August 11, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Reasonable people should not be outraged at Bill O'Reilly's outrage.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 11, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked to find that FauxNews is taking a mere portion of a statement and showing it out of context and expressing outrage. Surely this has never happened before?

I remember in 1983 when The Big Chill came out and people debated a woman's ability to have a child on her own. Here's news Bill --it's already happening and it has nothing to do with Jennifer Aniston.

Posted by: msame | August 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Now that we've given Bill O'Reilly press and eyeballs, can we please go back to our regularly-scheduled coverage of Lindsey Lohan? Kthxbai.

Posted by: northgs | August 11, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Is he kidding? What about all the trash we see in national tv? Those programs do not show anything good or send a good example to teens!! Please get a life Mr. O'Reilly or start a campaing in educating men so they would never abandon their kids & wifes!

Posted by: Tomasa | August 11, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Jen! Way to go!

Posted by: lydandy | August 11, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I have met Gretchen Carlson socially and at several "events" where she was a "centerpiece" and I was on the floor laughing at her diatribe here. I have concluded that she is an intellectual light weight despite her education and personally wouldn't trust anything that comes out of her mouth. As for O'Reilly? He gets the basics right but twists them to suit his agenda and creates a crisis for the sake of ratings. Nothing new or newsworthy here. Just entertainment.

Posted by: anonymous67 | August 11, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"With that said, here's some advice for O'Reilly: Eat. Pray. Shove it."

That's some classy commentary.

Posted by: grunk | August 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I-270Exit1 - Reasonable people should not be outraged at Bill O'Reilly's outrage.
Reasonable people should not be outraged at Bill O'Reilly's outrage...he is a clown and should be received as one.

Posted by: cadam72 | August 11, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes, she is destructive to society, but not for the reason O'Reilly is excited about this time.

Posted by: kabuki3 | August 11, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Most people.... would not think, "Man, Jennifer Aniston is going to convince a bunch of 12-year-olds that it's okay to go out and get pregnant."

Well *of course* she wouldn't.

Most 12-year-olds have no idea who Jennifer Aniston is or why they should listen to her.

Posted by: byoolin1 | August 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer Anniston's movie character was ruined by Murphy Brown, another shameless right wing whipping boy.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Actual ways Jennifer Anniston is destroying our society:

The Bounty Hunter
He's Just Not That Into You
The Breakup
Friends With Money
Rumor Has It
Along Came Polly
The Object of My Affection
Till There Was You
Picture Perfect

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

At last. Something I can admire Anniston for.

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 11, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Since Bill O. is just about the biggest idiot ever, who cares what nonsense he spews?

Posted by: Californian11 | August 11, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm more offended by the loose morals and sexcapades that she and the rest of the "Friends" cast depicted under the guise of humor at 8 p.m. when lots of little kids were still awake and watching television.

Well, that and the People magazine headline writer for "Jennifer Aniston: Women Don't Need Men to Be Good Moms." Shouldn't men with kids be good Dads? Or does it mean Women should be good Parents regardless of whether or not a child has a father?

When people have to use the phrase "turkey baster" you know the level of imagination at work here in the script (i.e., none). Betcha the words "test tube" appear within two minutes of the opening credits too. What danecook.

As for Bill O'Reilly, while I am no fan of his personally, his job is to get people talking (about him) so I'd say people fell for the bait and mission accomplished.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 11, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"Eat. Pray. Shove it."

/highfive Chaney

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | August 11, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bill peddles faux outrage to an eager audience and it was clearly an off day for news topics...

Posted by: ozpunk | August 11, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Aniston comments is just a symtom from her divorce from actor Brad Pitt. During Angelina's Jolie premier for "Salt" who could miss Angelina's constant gushing about Brad Pitt and what a good father he is to his & her children. Jen's still bitter about the divorce. If Jen was still married to Brad Pitt and had his chilren, her comments would have been completely opposite regarding this subject.

Posted by: dvalery | August 11, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Excellent takedown, Jen, and while I enjoyed your closing sentence, the first two words of this piece are ones I'm using from now on to describe so many rightie commentators-with proper credit given you, of course.

And as was pointed out upthread, didn't these three knuckle-draggers remember how criticizing a fictional character-Murphy Brown-kinda blow up in Dan Quayle's face?

Posted by: kingcranky | August 11, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

After Brad and Jennifer broke up, I asked my grandma if Jennifer wanted kids, would Brad still be with her. She said yes, Brad wanted kids. Jennifer should've realized this in the beginning.

Posted by: charlienym3131 | August 11, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Scads of couples break up over the issue of whether or not to have kids ... and probably bigger scads of couples feel differently about the issue but get married anyway and hope for the best, or how one partner feels about kids changes over the course of the marriage. And how many couples have kids because one partner wants 'em and the other doesn't, but they think that will "fix" their problems?

Jen is far better off without Brad.

Posted by: Californian11 | August 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

O'Reilly can meet me back by the dumpster after work where we can "discuss" our differences like gentlemen.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | August 11, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

OReilly and his inane and pompus rants are the real threat to our society. There are a whole lot of uneducated (or badly educated) people that may mistake him and his peers at faux as a news source. Now that's something to be worried about.

Posted by: dcperspective | August 11, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Murphy Brown all over again.

Posted by: sarahabc | August 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

of course it upsets O'reilly.
No woman would choose his sperm, or the package it comes in.. and he knows it.

Posted by: newagent99 | August 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

SlimeBill is looking for a way to get Anniston on his show.

Posted by: kbockl | August 11, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The real danger to society? Falafels.

Posted by: rimdamage | August 11, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

You're just not seeing it?? I'm the last person to side with Bill O'reilly on anything, but to just attack him and not question Anniston is wrong and ostrich like. Sorry, Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown. 71% of African -American children are now born to single parent households. The Hispanic rate is not much better. Children without fathers are much more likely to have problems in life and end up in jail. It gets worse every day. Just because Anniston and her rich friends, who can afford nannies and the best schools, want to "take care" of babies by themselves doesn't mean they should blindly encourage others to.

Posted by: starfer | August 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

O'Reilly is a cretin. Who cares what he says?

Posted by: 7891 | August 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Bill was channelling Dan Quayle... 20+ years later, and trying to pin society's ills on single 40 year-old moms is still a lame approach at generating media attention.

Dan came out of the Murphy Brown showdown looking like a know-nothing and so will this crew.

Maybe it's time for the Republican Party/Conservative movement to come up with some new ideas.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | August 11, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Bill O'reilly has children. Anniston is right. Proves her point. You don't need a Man to have children.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 11, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I deserve way more credit than Jennifer Aniston for destroying family. She only *plays* a woman who has a kid without a man. I've had two kids without a man and am (legally, in Canada and several states) married to another woman.

Posted by: mouse4 | August 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Responding to DorkusMaximus1 ... you forgot 'Management' another terd.

Nothing wrong with what O'Reilly said. Having a mom AND dad is vitally important. Our country is going morally bankrupt (gay marriage, Hollywood, etc.). What happened to values?

Posted by: RB1019 | August 12, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

The normal pattern with these conservative blowhards is that they hurl their most unhinged comments on their radio show and project relative sanity on TV.

But O'Reilly quit his radio show. He has no backchannel for his barking madness. It's all on video now.

O'Reilly showed what he's made of when he suggested that a kidnapped Missouri teenager enjoyed his own captivity because it meant no school. He's filth.

Posted by: mattintx | August 12, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

JA was destructive to the classic film "Office Space."

Posted by: paperboy76 | August 12, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree with dorkusmaximus. Aniston is destructive to society whenever she displays her acting skills and not because of her comment. Thousands of men and women would agree with what she said. Bill O'Reilly is a blustering moron who is truly destructive to society.

Posted by: samcrunchie | August 12, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

When I first heard that Jenn said it, I thought it was an awful thing to say. Hang around juvenille court long enough and watch just how many fathers live with or raise the children who are arrested (less than 1%).

That is not to say that all children without a father have it worse - just that most of the children who get into trouble do not have a father. This also applies to children who don't finish high school, etc.

So, while Bill O'Reilly may be a jerk, Jenn Anisten also deserves to be criticized when she claims that fathers are irrelevant.

No one is attacking families or moms who go it alone. I believe he is attacking the idea that children don't need fathers.

Posted by: Amelia5 | August 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Do any of you actually listen to Billo? He prefaced his comments by saying he thought she was promo-ing her movie.

Posted by: ganpat | August 12, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you actually listen to Billo? He prefaced his comments by saying he thought she was promoting her movie.

Posted by: ganpat | August 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess that all depends on what you think that "love", "motherhood" and "family" really mean.

I see O'Reilly's case, if these things are a mere question of stopping by the doc, spreading your legs and getting a sperm-injection, then why shouldn't this be confusing for 12 year old girls. And you can't say that pregnancy=adulthood=love isn't an issue for underaged women.

Anistons' problem here is that she is commercializing the whole debate as well as epitomizing the ethical dilemma. Sure, some 40 year old women decide to have children on their own, it's their right & their choice. But this is a Hollywood movie that we're talking about here, and that speaks volumes.

Posted by: dubya1938 | August 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

There can be no greater danger to society than Bill O'Reilly. He, O'Reilly- O'Reilly loves the sound of his own crapola. And he is one dangerous man. He incited any nutcase who latched on to his vicious smear of Dr. Tiller and was directly responsible for his murder. He suddenly stopped talking about the good and decent doctor after one of Bill's dirtbags murdered the man and in church. And the dirty rotten murderer did it in the name of "his" God.
Dirtymouth O'Reilly sexually harassed one of his young station staff to the point where she sued him and you know what - she is forbidden by court order to reveal the indecent things he said to her. Faux Propaganda shut that lawsuit up real fast and refuse to even talk about it.
Maybe Bill's own kids are regretting having him for a father, a man who is a danger to decency and this society.
O'Reilly's self-image greatly exceeds his morality, intelligence and talent, which he has none. Bill, you belong in a garbage dumpster where you'll fit right in.

Posted by: papafritz571 | August 15, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

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