From jaunts to Scotland to crying at trees, Judd’s memoir provides fodder for critics
WASHINGTON — If Ashley Judd jumps into the Kentucky Senate contest to challenge Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, expect to hear more about “All That is Bitter and Sweet.”
That’s the title of Judd’s 406-page memoir, full of potentially harmful quotes that could end up being thorns in the side of the Hollywood actress and liberal activist during a campaign in a conservative-leaning state like Kentucky.
Take Judd’s writing in the 2011 manuscript about how Tennessee — not Kentucky — is the place she seemed destined to live for the “rest of my life.”
“When I began to dream of making myself a home I could live in for the rest of my life, a home that would shelter me longer than anywhere I had ever lived before, this was the place the fates seemed to choose for me,” Judd wrote of her 200-year-old farmhouse in rural Williamson County, Tenn.
While news reports indicate that Judd — who grew up in Kentucky — is gearing up for a run in the Bluegrass State, she still lives in Tennessee. Under Kentucky state law, she would have to establish residency in the state in order to qualify for the ballot.
“All That is Bitter and Sweet” has plenty in its pages that could endear Judd to voters: she’s open about her experiences with depression and sexual assault and writes movingly about her humanitarian work in Africa. But there’s also plenty of more controversial material her critics — and reporters — will certainly ask her about if she becomes a candidate for office.
The Daily Caller requested to interview Judd about her past comments, but her publicist declined that request Monday.
“Ashley has not definitively decided whether or not she will run for office,” publicist Cara Tripicchio told TheDC.
The Daily Caller combed through the manuscript of her memoir. Here are some examples of past statements in the book she could find troublesome in a campaign:
‘Selfish’ to have kids
Judd’s past statements about why she has chosen not to have kids — because it’s “unconscionable to breed” — has already gotten attention as an example of some of the more bizarre things she has said in her life. In the book, she elaborates on this belief, saying that having children is “selfish.”
“I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our ‘own’ babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here, but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again,” she said.
“My belief has not changed. It is a big part of who I am,” Judd added.
Expect Judd to be asked if she thinks those in Kentucky who have decided to have families of their own are “selfish.”
Rejects parts of Christianity as ‘intolerant and judgmental’
In the memoir, Judd expresses how she enjoys many different religions, but states: “I am Christian. I practice my faith.”
Without specifically citing what part of Christianity to which she is referring, she criticizes “fundamentalism” as “intolerant and judgmental.”
“I was briefly attracted to a form of Christian fundamentalism practiced by a few friends but ultimately rejected it as intolerant and judgmental — I have, encouraged by both my mother and my father, believed the paths are many, the journey is one,” she wrote.
While discussing religion and spirituality, Judd also wrote that, “Many of my heroes are mystics,” and “Hinduism makes sense to me.” Judd added that she loves the “compassion loving-kindness, meditation, and service” of Buddhism.
“I love Native American ways, too; I have been given my native spirit name by a Cree elder in a powerful ceremony, I follow the cycles of the moon, and I regard all beings as my brothers and sisters,” she wrote.
Frequent jaunts to Scotland
When Judd gave a much-buzzed about speech earlier this month on reproductive health at George Washington University, she drew fire from Republicans after saying she “winters in Scotland.” They used the line to say she’s out of touch with average voters.
“Kentucky Democrats are terrified by Ms. Judd’s extreme views and her Tennessee residence and many of them predict a down-ballot catastrophe if she runs,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring told The Daily Caller after the speech. “After hearing today that Ms. Judd ‘winters in Scotland,’ looks like they’re spot on.”
In her memoir, Judd also mentions her love for spending time in Scotland. She discusses how she was married to race car driver Dario Franchitti — they have since divorced — in Scotland in 2001 and have celebrated other events there.
“I celebrated my fortieth birthday — April 19, 2008 — in the Scottish Highlands with Dario’s family and some dear friends, roaring with laughter, running a sack race, and winning the caber toss on the front lawn of Skibo Castle,” she wrote.
Crying at the sight of her first ‘African tree’
File this away in the category of Judd’s history of odd comments — which TheDC has written about. Judd writes in her memoir that she cried at the sight of nearly everything — including seeing her first “African tree” or “bird” or “friend” — during her first trip to Africa.
“My last time on this continent, the original home of us all, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I was nearly distraught. Everything, but everything, provoked a cry: My first African tree! My first African bird! My first African friend! I was returning to my cradle, and everything had the heightened drama of a seeker’s first pilgrimage.”
Planned Parenthood volunteer?
Many of Kentucky’s voters are traditional and anti-abortion, but Judd writes her memoir about how she had considered volunteering at the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood when she was younger and starting her acting career.
“I’d thought I might be able to volunteer at Planned Parenthood and pursue other forms of activism while I took acting lessons and went to auditions in L.A,” she wrote.
Expect reporters to ask her more about her history with the organization.
‘I hope I had ruined her evening’
While Judd’s humanitarian work may help her win voters, her tendency to sound arrogant and judgmental of others also comes through in her memoir.
In her book, she describes an experience talking in Africa with an American tourist who didn’t realize Judd was on a mission trip.
“Back at the hotel, a perky tourist from Texas recognized me in the business center and asked me if I was on a safari. I let her blithe obliviousness and her expensive khakis irk me, and I blurted out bitterly, ‘No. In fact, I am on a HIV/AIDS prevention trip and have just been to the three brothels.'”
Judd added: “I hope I had ruined her evening.”
Calls rap music the ‘contemporary sound track of misogyny’
While it probably won’t hurt her very much in Kentucky to rail against rap music, Judd expresses a strong distaste for hip-hop music in her memoir.
“As far as I am concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ — is the contemporary sound track of misogyny,” she writes.
However, Judd notes, she is friends with some rappers.
Referencing rapper Sean Combs, she wrote: “I came to know him as a polite and kind family man — not the P. Diddy persona I would never be able to relate to. Equally, I know the man Curtis Jackson, not the rapper 50 Cent.”
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