Image by jseliger2/Flickr, Art by Alex Alvarez/Fusion
Image by jseliger2/Flickr, Art by Alex Alvarez/Fusion

As part of our ongoing efforts to cover celebrity culture, Fusion has launched a column by renowned celebrity etiquette expert and small pet hypnotist Dee Korr-Elm, whose name (very nearly) lent itself so perfectly to this column. Ain't that something?


Dear Dee Korr-Elm:

I am an actor-cum-misanthrope-slash-great-New-Yorker (that latter point having been expressed by other people, not me) who recently met with trannies and gays to learn what words I shouldn't use to talk about them in public. You see, people have accused me of being homophobic even though, given the nature of my work, I am literally drowning in gays and trannies every single day. I have gay friends and have even made out with a man onstage. Would I have or do any of that if I were truly a homophobic, if great, New Yorker? Compounding this issue is the reality I live in — always being hounded by paparazzi and younger actors who are in the midst of performance art disasters.


I am thinking more and more that the problem here is New York, and that I should leave it. Is there a good, polite way of letting everyone in this city know they are wrong, so as to leave with a clean slate and a clear mind?

- Big Trouble in the Big Apple

Dearest Trouble,

I feel for you, my pet. Fame is a difficult thing to manage, as it tends to attract attention to the things that we do and say. I agree that it is a marvelous idea to end on a high note, with a sense of closure, before moving on to, say, the the brighter, less celebrity-obsessed mountains of Los Angeles. Perhaps you could write, or narrate, a succinct open letter to the city. No more than around 5,000 words, give or take a couple hundred.

And then throw that letter away.

For you see, my sweet, the main tenet of etiquette is to make comfortable others around us. Much of the time, this means keeping our thoughts and feelings about other people to ourselves, and perhaps using these to examine why it is that we think and feel the way we do. Use this as a time for self-reflection, certainly, but do be sure that, in doing so, the self does not overtake the entire reflection. As we learned from the mythical Narcissus leaning forth to marvel at his own countenance, nothing good can come of seeing only ourselves at the expense of our surroundings and those within it.


Particularly when our self is so utterly, completely, intensely, hopelessly wrong so much of the time.



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