Hollywood vs. Ypsilanti?

I'd love to get Jennifer Aniston and Ron English in a room together. What a hoot that would be. Maybe not as fun as Aniston sans English, but I digress.

Aniston has drawn the ire of Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly, among others, for comments she made while promoting her new movie, "Switch."

English is the head football coach at Eastern Michigan University. He raised some eyebrows with comments he made to the Detroit News last week.

Why would a meeting of the minds of a Hollywood actor and a college football coach make for some interesting discussion?

Simple: opposites attract, and make for some lively debate.

Aniston, in a nutshell, could take or leave men---when it comes to starting and raising a family.

English, in a nutshell, overzealously believes a father figure is critical to a boy's upbringing, especially if that boy wants to play college football.

Here's Aniston, promoting "Switch," in which she plays a single woman who chooses to start a family via artificial insemination.

"Women are realizing more and more that you don't have to settle, they don't have to fiddle with a man to have that child," she said. "They are realizing if it's that time in their life and they want this part they can do it with or without that."

O'Reilly blew a gasket.

"Jennifer Aniston can hire a battery of people to help her. But she can't hire a dad. Dads bring a psychology to children that in this society is under emphasized. Men get hosed all day long in the parental arena," he ranted.

"Any man who leaves their children is not a man. Let's make that perfectly clear. But the fathers that do try hard are under appreciated and diminished by people like Jennifer Aniston," O'Reilly continued.

English (top) and Aniston made an odd but topical pairing recently

Now here's English, in an interview with the Detroit News, talking about recruiting.

"We wanted guys that had a father in their background. A guy that's raised by his mom all the time, and please don't take me wrong, but the reality is that you've got to teach that guy how to be taught by a man."

If English was the football coach at a relevant program, his words would have made national headlines.

See why I think Aniston-English would make fun dinner guests?

No matter where you come down on the whole single parent thing, there's no mistaking that both Aniston and English are overstating their views. Their intentions may be good---Aniston's to prop up husband-less women, and English's to respect the role of a father figure---but both went too far.

The more level-headed view, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.

It's foolish to dismiss the role of a father to a child's development, as Aniston appears to be doing. But it's also a disservice to single moms to say that they can't raise boys who can be "taught by men," as English did.

We (I hope) can all agree that a household with a strong two-parent presence is best for any child/children. And I'd like to also think that the lack thereof shouldn't be the death knell for our kids.

Jennifer Aniston and Ron English---in the same sentence, and in the same blog post.

Who would have thought?

UPDATE 8/13/10:

Aniston bit back at O'Reilly after I posted this.

"Of course, the ideal scenario for parenting is obviously two parents of a mature age. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs on earth," Aniston told PEOPLE Magazine exclusively. "And, of course, many women dream of finding Prince Charming (with fatherly instincts), but for those who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options."


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