- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Advice compiled and condensed from actual sources by Kelly Jane Torrance, who composed the questions.

I got a little carried away. I guess I am too old to know that comments you make at concerts can now be recorded and put up on something called the Internet. I was performing the other night and let people know what I thought of Beyonce performing my signature song on Inauguration Day.

Apparently people didn’t realize I was joking when I said she was gonna get “whupped.” Really, I was. And also when I said that the guy who booked her had “big ears.” People got really upset, though. Apparently even with those ears, Barack Obama has a lot of fans.

Why don’t people realize I was just joking? And that even if I wasn’t, it was because I’m the better singer?

- Etta James

Dear Etta,

A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.

- Robert A. Heinlein

A lot of teenage girls are angry with me right now. I gave an interview in which someone asked me if I helped pave the way for best-selling writers like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. I said that perhaps I did, and I went on to state my opinion that Miss Rowling is a great writer and Mrs. Meyer isn’t. In fact, I said Mrs. Meyer “can’t write worth a darn.” Now Mrs. Meyer is very often at the very top of the best-seller lists - the place I belong - so she has many, many fans who don’t like my criticism. How do I explain to them that the fact someone sells a lot of books doesn’t mean they’re a great writer?

- Stephen King

Dear Stephen,

One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.

- Mark Twain

I starred in one of the most iconic movies of all time - “Bonnie and Clyde.” So you can imagine how I felt when I discovered producers are about to remake the film. To add injury to insult, in the role I made famous, they’ve cast Hilary Duff - a Disney star who also records pop music! All I said about it was, “Couldn’t they have at least cast a real actress?” Now all the tabloids are calling “catfight.” Aren’t I entitled to my opinion? Isn’t it a valid one coming from such a distinguished actress like myself, even if I haven’t been in anything big in ages, and even if one of my last films was called “Cougar Club”?

- Faye Dunaway

Dear Faye - and Etta and Stephen,

I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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