Charla Nash lost most of her face after being mauled by a friend’s chimpanzee. She appeared on Oprah and the media criticizes letting her face be shown. SO WHAT. We look like we look. She’s in the midst of multiple surgeries! WHO CARES. She’s brave and doing a real service being seen at all. BRAVO.
The article is below
(Nov. 12) — Charla Nash has been mauled by a chimpanzee, and now we can only hope she won’t be mauled by the media and general public.
I would not even begin to criticize the tone and substance of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the 56-year-old woman who was beaten beyond recognition just nine months ago by her friend’s exotic pet.
Oprah is a genius in the art of the interview, and that comes from having a sense of compassion that can’t be contrived. Even with all her accomplishments, her segment with Nash may go down as one of her finest moments.
But was it really necessary to show this woman’s face? Did the veil need to be lifted?
Now Nash must face the ramifications of knowing that images of her will reach every corner of the Internet.
Moreover, this was done on afternoon TV. Do we not even make token gestures anymore to seem like a society that attempts to shield children from things they might not be ready to see?
I know many people were touched by this segment. My 78-year-old mother — a true Oprah connoisseur — was knocked out.
“It was unbelievable. I cried,” she said. “I loved when Oprah went to wipe a tear from the eye on that woman’s face — the eye that wasn’t even there.”
My mom has been “down in the dumps,” as she would say, having lost two close friends in recent weeks. Seeing Nash clearly put her in touch with her own inner strength.
“To have the guts to go on TV like that!” Mom said. “Charla Nash is one of the strongest women I’ve ever seen. That chimpanzee didn’t destroy her, not the part that was inside.”
Oprah had worked her magic. She lifted my mother’s spirits. For that, of course, I am grateful. But my father, hardly a shrinking violet, had to leave the room. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one.
Now, a day later, we must deal with the ramifications of Nash’s TV appearance. It’s now everywhere — posted on blogs, rehashed on morning TV and radio.
Whenever disturbing media images make their way across the Internet, I’m reminded of those horrible photos of the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib. It was necessary to expose those abuses.
But by the time these images become fodder for “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” they were reduced to cheap comedy.
I’m afraid that this poor woman’s face is now going to become just one more image that gets shown over and over again — and the dignity Oprah found in Nash’s courage will be lost.
Already we’ve seen the infamous New York Post headline writers dub her the “Chimp Maul Gal.” The New York Daily News drolly observed, “If Charla Nash still had eyes, she too would be horrified.”
Brace Yourself for Tasteless Jokes
Brace yourself for the tasteless Charla Nash jokes, Halloween costumes and late-show parodies. This is the age of the Internet, and the toothpaste is now out of the YouTube.
Of course, it was Nash’s decision to show her face. But as someone who has never been exposed to the burn of today’s multimedia barrage, did she know what she was getting into?
And having spent the past nine months in the Cleveland Clinic, where she is hoping to get a face transplant, was she even in the condition to make such a decision?
When Oprah asked her if she was even aware of the extent of her injuries, Nash told her, “Not all the way, because it’s less for me to worry about if I don’t know.”
The chimp that attacked her ripped off her nose, her lips, one thumb, and a large part of her scalp. Surgeons had to create a hole in her face so she could drink meals through a straw.
Only weeks ago did she learn that her eyes would have to be removed to quell an infection.
“I don’t ask a whole lot about my injuries,” she told Oprah.
“I know that I have my forehead,” she said. “It feels like just patches of tape or gauze covering my face.”
Nash wore a black veil through the early part of the interview. She said she wears it around the hospital “so I don’t scare people.”
At one point, guards were stationed at her door so paparazzi wouldn’t snap a photo of her.
Oprah duly warned her that once she lifted that veil, her picture would be broadcast “all over the world.”
“That’s fine,” Nash said. “I’m starting to get stronger and ready for everything.”
I hope that’s true. But one thing is undeniable: It’s nearly impossible to say “no” to Oprah.
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And my friend Bernadette Carter said it perfectly: My question is…with ALL the people in the world being mauled by HUMANS why does this particular woman’s story make Oprah?