Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marlo Thomas Interviews Michael J. Fox

That Girl! and Marty McFly! Image from HuffPo.
I've always had a special place in my full-of-pop-culture heart for Michael J. Fox. My grandmother always thought I looked like him. He played Alex P. Keaton from Columbus, Ohio on Family Ties. I was from Columbus, and was the same age as the character at the same time. Fox is actually five years older than his character, so though he is almost 51, Alex P. Keaton will always be my age (currently nearing 46), assuming he didn't die in an unaired "very special episode."

When Fox announced that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, that also had resonance, as The Other Half's* father also had the disease. But Fox was in his early 30s at the time, and his announcement made me think that I was lucky to not be afflicted with any major ailments. Yet. See, I was following him by five years. It was one of my first real "mortality moments," as odd as that sounds. There's not any particular reason that I should identify with Fox, maybe it's just that his celebrity occurred at the same time I was soaking it up--Family Ties, Back to the Future (I, II & III), etc.--and that grandma thing. Oddly enough, my mother had a That Girl hair cut and my first step mother sounded almost exactly like Marlo Thomas. . .who interviews Michael J. Fox in the article excerpted here. And I'll just shut up now, and share my favorite part of the interview.


"The Givers": Who Inspires Michael J. Fox? A Very Personal Interview

Marlo: . . .I stumbled on that video clip of Rush Limbaugh doing his unspeakably cruel imitation of what he said you look like when you speak. People everywhere were enraged by that clip, but you remained calm. How do you rise above this kind of thing? Do you have some sort of Zen secret that we can learn from?
Michael: No, no -- really I'm five-foot-four, I've dealt with bullies my whole life. He came after me when I was speaking out in support of stem cell research, and the candidates who supported it. . .At the time, I was actually more than just symptomatic -- I was dyskinetic, as a result of the medication I was taking. And Limbaugh decided that I was faking.

Marlo: So his agenda was political, as well. Did that make his offense even more irritating to you?

Michael: It honestly didn't bother me to have my integrity questioned by someone who doesn't have integrity. And it didn't threaten me. So I just blew it off, because I knew it wasn't going to change what I was doing. . .Frankly, I was more offended by Limbaugh's recent attack on [Georgetown law student] Sandra Fluke, calling her a slut and a prostitute after she testified in Congress about contraceptives. . .But remember, the bully always appeals to the lowest common denominator. And he won't prevail. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

*And apropos of absolutely nothing, in researching this article, I found out that my husband is one day older than Michael J. Fox.

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