Killing It With Kindness

The Atlantic - 03-16


“Thank you so much! I appreciate it,” says Ellen DeGeneres, bobbing and bowing and volleying her gaze into the screaming tiers of her studio audience. “Thank you! I feel the same way about you!” Up and down, left and right, that take-no-prisoners soul-seeking stare, that ice-glare of empathy. “I feel like you’re not satisfied unless I look at each and every one of you. I feel like I’m trying to see all of you and wave, and yet I can’t do it.” Neon sprig of a haircut; space-age ears; pizzicato physicality and readiness, like she might start juggling or break-dancing. “But I’ll try to get every single bit of eye contact I can …” And then she straightens and looks into the camera, dings it with her Ellen-beam of crazed and searching blue. Oh yes, Ellen, here I am, on a Monday afternoon. You’ve found me.