An open letter to the Barbas

By Mir
February 25, 2007

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Barba:

You must’ve been so very proud when your daughter Antonella was selected to be on season 6 of American Sellout Idol. Let’s face it; she’s beautiful, she’s a pretty good singer, and now all the eyes of America are on her. How could you help but feel anything but pride?

Even when she made the incredibly vacuous comment, upon hearing that she’d made the latest cut, that it was because “God loves good people” (that’s funny, I didn’t notice her taking a break to serve some Meals on Wheels, but maybe that part ended up on the cutting room floor), I’m sure you stood right behind her, tearfully telling anyone who would listen, “That’s my girl!”

Are you claiming her quite so proudly, now?

Look; all parents do the best they can, and I’m not blaming you for your daughter’s stupidity. Nor will I link to the pictures that surfaced this week. I’m sure you’ve seen them. I’m sure they’ve left you wondering where you went wrong and what will become of Antonella’s career, now. Maybe you did everything right with her. Maybe you couldn’t done some things differently. I wasn’t there and I don’t know.

In the wake of this embarrassment, I think you might consider turning a tragedy into a teaching experience. Rather than worrying that the entire world is pointing and talking, grab the bull by the horns. Don’t you want to protect other parents and children from this sort of tragedy? Of course you do! I propose that you head out around the country on a speaking tour. Help save others by being proactive.

I’d like to propose a lecture outline for you, in fact. This way you can just take it and go, and perhaps save thousands of others from the heartbreak you must now be feeling. Perhaps the talk can be titled, oh, I don’t know… how about How Not to be a Skank.

1) No one looks sexy during sex. This section should focus on the harsh reality that everyone looks stupid during coitus except to the person they’re with or people who are addicted to porn. This leads into section 2.

2) Never allow yourself to be photographed during sex. See section 1; the first reason is that YOU LOOK STUPID. The second reason is that no matter how much he loves you right now, baybee, some day he might not. Or someone might offer him a lot of money for those shots. Or maybe he’s just a dickhead. Who knows. Why take the chance? Especially because…

3) In the digital age, pictures are forever. While it’s stupidity to be photographed EVER, at least thirty years ago our budding starlets could destroy the evidence if they wanted/needed to. Nowadays, someone snaps a digital pic of you and you will NEVER get it back. And then maybe you become semi-famous and SURPRISE! Here you are in flagrante delicto all over America!

4) Never trust a man who shaves his pubes. Let’s face it—a man with superior grooming habits to his girlfriend’s is not to be trusted from the get-go. Had Antonella heeded this early warning, she might not be where she is today. And where she is today is all over America giving head to a freakishly well-groomed guy who photographed it and put it on the web. KLASSY!

5) Seriously, DO NOT BE PHOTOGRAPHED. For those with short attention spans, this merits repeating at the end of the lecture. If there is only one take-away from your message, this should be it. Tell today’s parents that it’s no longer enough to talk about preventing STDs and pregnancy. You need to tell your kids that they should never, ever be photographed in compromising situations.

I wish you the best of luck on the tour. It may be too late to save Antonella, but if you can save just one other not very bright young woman, won’t that help ease your pain? I think it will. Healing begins by reaching out to others. Let the world learn from this unfortunate turn of events.

Sincerely yours,


  1. Jill

    All I can say to that is Amen!

  2. Melanie Marie

    Wow, I just discovered that I live under a ROCK. I had to resort to google to figure out what you were talking about!

  3. Kimberly

    I was just wondering the other day what this year’s scandal would be. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl.

  4. Woman with Kids

    I had to google it too… Thanks for keeping us updated Mir! And, now I know. Note to self: Never allow pictures to be taken when I will look stupid.

    So those pictures taken at the beach last summer with my boys were probably a bad idea too…

  5. Andrea

    Vacuous indeed!
    Main Entry: vac·u·ous
    1 : emptied of or lacking content
    2 : marked by lack of ideas or intelligence

  6. The Other Leanne

    Just crawling out from my little cottage here under the rock to say…”Antonella who?!” Does this mean that God watches “American Idol” and wanted her to win? I definitely gotta start watching if the Master of the Universe is tuning in to the show. I wonder what He thinks of Simon Cowell? (see, I DO know about him!)
    I’ve always wondered why anybody would bother watching an amateur sex video when there is so much fine professionally-produced p0rn available.

  7. Jen

    Wasn’t it her brainless, blond friend who made the “God Loves Good People” comment? Of course, this was BEFORE she was cut in the next round.

    Either way, I didn’t like Antonella from the get-go. Here’s hoping we only have to hear her sing one more time–or maybe twice. Don’t they sing after they’ve been cut??

  8. Jessica

    Um. Yeah. Wow. Big thanks for not linking the pictures. I am just “with it” enough not to say, “American What?” but beyond that, I have to rely on reliable sources like the internet for my gossip. :)

    I’ll just have to second, third and fourth every single one of your points.

  9. MMM

    Yeah, I couldn’t BELIEVE when she made that comment! How awful! And she seems so mean and catty! So if she doesn’t make it to the top whatever~is she not a good person? Does God not like her if she doesn’t become THE next Idol? Ugh!

  10. Melanie

    I don’t watch American Idol, so I don’t know who she is, but I do agree 100% with your parental checklist. It’s true – today you have to talk to your kids about pregnancy, STDs, and photography. It seems like every freakin’ famous person in the world has pictures from “before” of them getting it on posted online – wouldn’t you think people would get a clue and just stop taking pictures if they have even a hope that someday they’ll get famous? Or that their parents might find them and they might get into serious trouble?(Did you read about the two teenagers who had sex and got tried as adults possessing child porn?).

  11. MomCat

    Oh dear….we haven’t had the “photographs” conversation yet! :O I was feeling pretty smug cuz we had gone over the basics and the “Wouldn’t, Couldn’t, Shouldn’t” of sex. Guess I’m back at square one.

  12. Brigitte

    I agree with Melanie, and also agree that photographs need to be part of the birds-n’-bees talk now! It seems that basically ALL the kids are taking shots of each other with their cell phones and putting them on Myspace and You-tube or whatever, to the point that 30 or 40 years from now, almost all adults under 40 will have compromising photos of themselves on the web. Sad, and stupid, and just plain yucky.
    (waving my cane – “Back in MY day . . . !)

  13. Brown Eyed Girl

    Ok..I’m not a fan of AI quite frankly I don’t even utter those 2 words together. I have enjoyed when it gets down to 6 or 8 people…but really I don’t tune I can’t speak for this girl and her comments…although I was under the impression that God loves everyone? Has that changed since I stopped going to church? No? hmpph.

    Well I HAVE had the talk with my 14 yr old about taking or being taken in photos..because mostly I don’t want to flip through his cell phone and find a picture of some teenage pair of boobs….and have to defend that to some policeman..or better yet..angry Father of said girl…..but I will say this..anyone like her…DUMB enough to have her picture taken and then have them posted all over the web…well that just sounds like poetic justice to me.

  14. Nia

    Can’t argue with the wisdom of the five points, although I am genuinely mistified as to why pictures of her having sex are a big enough deal to cause a scandal even when it’s a consensual act between two heterosexual adults who weren’t married to other people and weren’t snorting crack out of each other’s navels/fondling pets/minors etc.

    Maybe it’s because I’m European, and we’re a dirty dirty people – but those seem pretty tame to me. Sure, they’re stupid and embarassing. I wasn’t a fan of the girl in the first place but I was shocked that racy shots of her could cause such an outrage as to threaten her singing career. But then I didn’t understand why that other one got kicked off for posing topless in college either.

    *shrug* So still puzzled as to why the fact that she had sex with someone is such a big deal and why there aren’t hordes of feminists standing up to defend her because it sure reads to me like she’s being penilised by the baying hounds of the Patriarchy.

    Although maybe there’s a point I’m missing.

  15. Ben

    I was going to say basically what Nia said…

    Not sure why it’s a big deal (other than the false pretense that an Idol or Miss America contestant is somehow supposed to be more “clean” or “pure” than everyone else.)

    But – thanks for giving me something to think about this morning!

  16. Randi

    American what?!

    LOL…kidding. I know the show, just haven’t ever watched an episode. but I’m definitely googling it to see what’s going on. I LOVE scandal!

  17. Karen

    I agree that the photos are embarassing, but I actually feel bad for her. She is just a stupid teenager – and haven’t we all been stupid from time to time.

  18. Culotte

    I think it’s being heralded as such a scandal because a previous AI contestant got booted for topless photos. (Frenchie something or other?)

    Unfortunately this isn’t the first young skank with naked pics plastered on the Interwebs (Miss Teen USA, anyone?). What concerns me is that they are all of 19 and 20. Stupid, yes. And I know I sound like a ripe old lady (I’m only 25), but WTF? These girls are so oversexed. It scares me.

  19. Cele

    I think Frenchie got booted for being a phone sex operator. There weren’t even pictures. So what is taking AI so long. Sheesh look what happened to Vanessa Williams after she was crowned. I’m with you Mir, DO NOT EVER have pictures taken – whether it is pre / during / or post sex. Sheesh just dont’ have pictures taken. Much safer that way. If I could burn every year book picture taken between 1968 and 1973 I’d be thrilled, they are hideous and I am even fully dressed.

  20. Cele

    Okay so totally wrong about the Frenchie thing, but I’m still totally right about not being photographed. :)

  21. dcrmom

    I’m under the rock with Melanie Marie. WTH!?

  22. Mom2One

    P.S. Photographs of people having sex are icky.

  23. CCE

    P.P.S. photographs of icky people having sex are icky

  24. CityMama

    Have I told you lately that I love you?

  25. BOSSY

    This was such a thoroughly funny and excellent post – but you omitted one piece of important advice: Don’t be photographed.

  26. Lisa

    I have been reading you for a long time and have never commented (love your sites). And I really haven’t paid attention to this latest AI scandal, but thanks for the bringing this photo thing to my “under a rock” thinking for I shall now have a discussion with my almost 14 year old! We’ve talked (and talk and talk) about everything else, but I never thought about THAT!

  27. Carol

    While I can’t disagree with any of your “How Not To Be A Skank” points, there’s really something to be said for a well-groomed “package”. Clearly though, Antonella should not have trusted him. Admittedly, I probably would’ve been deluded into believing anything that a man with a package like that said or promised me too. You have to admit it — that was one nice tool LOL!

  28. Fairly Odd Mother

    Thank you for those wise words. How DOES a man groom his, a-hem, area? Waxing? Shaving? Plucking? They all sound like way too much pain in a delicate area for most men to even consider!

  29. Toni-Marie

    This girl is just dumb, letting herself be photographed, she may as well have been filmed.
    But it did wonders for Paris Hilton’s career, maybe that’s what was going through her head.
    I really don’t get the way some young girls think these days, and I’m meant to be one of them.

  30. Sassafrassa

    So are these pictures the reason she DIDN’T get booted last week? Because I couldn’t believe she made it through another week. I assume she’s a goner this week, but then I assumed that last time too. Judging from her shocked expression when they canned Leslie, Antonella had assumed the same thing.

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