Wed. July 3
Bravo’s “Long Island Princesses” and Their 15 Minutes of Shame
It was Andy Warhol who famously quipped, “”In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Reality television programming in 2013 could be a case study in just how accurate his prediction turned out to be–with a very specific caveat. The culture’s unrelenting, ravenous pursuit of fame has turned into a walk of shame for many who are unaware of just how low they were willing to sink for the shot at basic cable.
HUNTINGTON, NY (PIX11) – The Bravo Network is responding to PIX 11′s questions about one of its reality shows by taking action. This comes after the family of a fallen hero says they felt disrespected by a recent episode that was filmed at the Jonathan Ielpi Memorial Park in Great Neck Plaza. Anger swept over Melissa Ielpi-Brengel while she was watching the Bravo reality tv show ‘Princesses: Long Island’, which follows six pampered Long Island women who live with their parents.
In Sunday’s episode, one of the so-called princesses who was doing a photo shoot to promote her product, incorporated a FDNY memorial and 9/11 statue from the Jonathan Ielpi Memorial Park.
The scene shows Amanda Bertoncini doing a photo shoot for her product (a piece of fabric that wraps around any sort of drink can or bottle) at the FDNY memorial where one of the models is hanging on the bronze statue of firefighter Jonathan Ielpi. You can hear the photographer tell the model, “Kiss the fireman, try to feed him the beer.” Then Bertoncini exclaims, “Yeah, feed him the beer! Then act scared.”
Let’s take a moment to analyze what we just read.
There is a TV show (that other human beings actually set aside time to watch) whose entire premise is “spoiled adult women who live with their rich parents.” One of these vitally important members of society who “star” on the TV show in question wanted to do a photo shoot and decided to use the memorial of fallen 9/11 First Responders to create just the right ambiance. The “actress” involved claims to have had no idea that there was any “sentimental value” attached to the consecrated stones and statues in the hometown park she drives by each day on her way to what I imagine is a jaw-session designed to solve the world’s problems with “the girls” at Pinkberry.
When told of the insensitivity of her tactless actions, Amanda Bertoncini could only muster up the following plug for her silly swag:
“I would especially like to extend my sincerest apologies to the family of Jonathan Ielpi. I never meant to hurt or offend anyone when I was doing my photo shoot for The Drink Hanky.”
Dennis Prager once said, “The vast majority of those who are famous are not significant and the vast majority of those who are significant are not famous.” In other words, rarely are important people famous (and the famous are often not very important). Barring a foray into bio-medical research and the discovery of a cure for cancer, it’s safe to say that Ms. Bertoncini’s contribution to society will never reach the level of Jonathan Ielpi’s. This doesn’t mean her life is meaningless, of course, but in a sane world it should give everyone involved in this sad, sordid affair pause to reflect upon some lacking humility in their lives.
A 30-year old woman from this very town in New York (Great Neck) did not even know there was a memorial to men from her neighborhood who ran toward the Twin Towers on that fateful day in September. But I would wager a pretty penny that she knows Kanye and Kim’s ridiculous name for their new baby. I bet she knows lines from every episode of Friends. If her favorite pop star had performed a concert in that same park I’m guessing it would house some long-remembered “sentimental value” for her and her friends.
The reality of the whole thing is that we won’t remember Amanda Bertoncini in a month. But the problem in our society is not just that we waste our time on forgettable names and faces. It’s that we allow the courageous, trail-blazing and pivotal ones to be forgotten, drowned out in a sea of vapid voices calling out for the 15 minutes of shame.
And all this for something called “The Drink Hanky?”
[Editor's note: though it may not have the glossy sheen of a Bravo reality production, we'd like to share this shaky, grainy clip of the statue honoring Jonathan Ielpi being dedicated.]