October 2004 (v7 i2)
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Family connections only make things easier
by George W. Bush, U.S. President

I can't believe some people think Ashlee Simpson isn't a spectacular musician. Yes, she's related to Jessica Simpson. So what? That doesn't mean she's not talented. Ashlee Simpson built her career with a belief in hard work and an unshakable resolve. Crediting Jessica Simpson for Ashlee's success is doing an injustice to the music industry.

Sure, being related to Jessica Simpson probably didn't hurt Ashlee's career. Heck, being the son of Kim Il-sung didn't automatically make Kim Jung-Il a nuclear threat, but I've still got my finger hovering over the red button on my desk. My point is, you can't get by on your last name alone, not in the entertainment business. Ashlee Simpson had to earn her way into the School of American Ballet — that place is as prestigious as they come, and well-reputed schools don't just let people in because they're related to someone famous.

Ashlee Simpson earned her stripes before recording her first album, anyway. She played Cecilia on Seventh Heaven, a show that reflects the same fundamental values this country was founded on. (She was also in The Hot Chick, but you can't expect a greenhorn to not make any mistakes right out of the gate.)

Any reasonable person will agree that Ashlee's family connections couldn't have played a part in her acting career. Ashlee had never acted before. What kind of media executive is going to hire an inexperienced kid right out of school just because she's related to someone in the business? Besides, Ashlee Simpson is beautiful, and her image has no similarity to her sister's: dark hair, a brilliant smile and two piercing green eyes. I call those her "Weapons of Mass Seduction"!

Hey, I'm no numbskull — I realize that being Jessica Simpson's sister probably greased the wheels for Ash. It was her own talent and fortitude that produced the chart-topping stockpile of hits that is "Autobiography," though. The record industry is a brutal place. Tens of thousands of people compete for just a few contracts, so why would Ashlee Simpson be given one just because she's related to a famous singer?

Ashlee's reality TV show really brought her into the spotlight, and it's as unique as she is. Ashlee's great show follows her high-profile life in Southern California, her musical efforts, and her relationship with her parents. Nothing could be more different from Newlyweds.

Anyway, reality TV shows reflect popular opinion. I have more faith in America than to believe it would vote for Ashlee Simpson on TRL, just because it had voted for her sister. Free nations reject nepotism — it's undemocratic.

It would be silly of me to believe that Jessica Simpson didn't play a role in launching Ashlee's career. I reject the idea that her family ties are responsible for her achievements, though. The old story that powerful people abuse their influence to help their incompetent family members is really just an old wives' tale. It was concocted by poor people who hate what America stands for. I dismiss that kind of pessimism. I don't want to live in an America where dedication and steadfast determination can't get a guy by. I don't want to live in an America where "Pieces of Me" isn't played twice an hour on ClearChannel radio.
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