Color me continually astonished
Way too much tut-tuttage, I remember thinking while reading one of the Sacramento Bee‘s columnists years ago. I can’t even recall the details, except it was a series of columns, each one describing some outrage that inevitably resolved in schoolmarmish dismissal: Reasonable people would never do that. I remember throwing the newspaper down in fractured dismay every time I’d read one of the columnist’s Margaret-from-Dennis the Menace dispatches, sometimes laughing, sometimes mumbling about how it’s amazing certain people get paid well to do certain things.
Now, I’m not bagging on this particular writer. Formula’s formula, and getting hausfrau panties in a bunch over the twisted behaviors of lower forms of humanity is the stuff that once sold newspapers. But that was a long time ago, before Craigslist killed those newspapers’ classified-ad base while also serving as a meeting place for hookers looking for money and johns looking for that exquisite “girlfriend experience,” or maybe something more offbeat, like a little bondage and discipline action, or one of the smorgasbord of deviant delights that make up the infamous “Aristocrats” joke, or perhaps even some hincty costume drama featuring Third Reich memorabilia.
It isn’t that we’ve become more grossly serpentine since newspapers and other old-school gatekeepers — remember radio? — ruled the roost, because a goodly cross-section of us bipeds have always been somewhat dark and twisted in our extracurricular pursuits. It’s just that the more democratically accessible forms of communication today have revealed just how interesting and creative some of us humans can be, especially when those boudoir doors are closed, and sometimes when they are wide open, and occasionally in broad daylight in front of children, grandmothers and pets. Which may be why I keep turning back to tabloid coverage of the trainwreck that is the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James marriage gone horribly awry: It just keeps getting better and better.
Okay, so Sandra Bullock is the girl next door, Miss Congeniality, America’s sweetheart and all that. She’s that pom-pom-twirling embodiment of prim perfection that turned its collective nose up at geeky stoner misfits like yours truly, and I never really liked her type, either. Well, actually there may have been some slight mutual attraction, like the Brahmin girl having the hots for the Dalit dude (aka Mr. Untouchable) and vice-versa. And when I went to my 20-year high-school reunion, I do recall a couple of unattainable ladies confessing to me that they had crushes on me back in the day, but I was too oblivious to notice or too out there on the social and behavioral periphery for them to act on their crushes, and I had the hots for them but figured they were too far out of my league. So, well, boo hoo hooey. But, really, those Sandra Bullock types just weren’t into the kind of mind-roasting rock’n’roll required for me to connect with them; there was a critical divergence of interests at play.
As I’ve said before, I was a complete spazzadelic goofball back then, not to mention too damn painfully shy to function without a little help from my friends, so to speak. And after said “help,” I was no longer attractive to those prim and proper types. Or anyone else, for that matter.
Anyway, so Ms. Bullock married the parking-lot alpha male, which is where the script takes a novel turn. I’ve already weighed in on Señor Skankbanger, aka Jesse James, but in the past week things appear to have gotten much more spicy meatball, if you believe the narrative arc of the tabs and the gossip columnists. First, there was Skank Numero Uno, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, a tattoo-covered Bettie Page wannabe whose photo session featuring a Nazi SS officer’s hat and other Third Reich memorabilia was brought to light, followed by a story about a four-way rumpy-pumpy involving James and the Bombshell plus some other putt-putt bloke and a woman named Skittles Valentine, another tattoo-covered swamp beauty. And then, a whole pesadilla parade of cucarachine skanks crawled out of the metaphorical woodwork to begin rivaling Tiger Woods’ harem of skankage, and not long after, James revealed that he is in possession of a dozen or so sex tapes. And one of them, allegedly, also features a certain Academy Award-winning actress, whose publicists quickly issued a statement to People magazine denying the existence of, oh, let’s call it Sandy Does Dullard.
Now, this is where it gets a bit rich — or weird, depending on your point of view: The action sequences in this putative romp on film involve what we’ll call the poundee, handcuffed and on all fours, as the pounder delivers the male, doggy-style, while wearing an SS officer’s hat similar to the one Ms. Bombshell wore in her infamous photo shoot, along with a Hitler-style square ‘stache; the pounder is brandishing a shotgun in one hand and a whiskey bottle in the other, from which he swigs liberally while humping away. It’s unclear whether he puts down the whiskey or the shotgun to do a stiff-armed “sieg heil” salute during said pump-humpery, and there’s a lot of salty sailor — or, in this case, kriegsmarine — talk from both of them, and at some point, the poundee receives from the pounder what the comedians in The Aristocrats called a “Dirty Sanchez.”
Now, for me, this canard doesn’t pass muster from the bullshit detector; it’s at least a couple of shades too Byzantine to believe. What I’m guessing happened is that Señor Skankbanger, or one of his buddies, or maybe a sub-rosa barrister in his employ, floated this story to crank the outrage up to ridiculous, or throw some chum into the waters for the paparazzi sharks and bottom-feeding tab editors. Or maybe it was just done in that wonderfully hurtful way that pissed-off and aggrieved people, generally of lesser intellectual prowess but not limited to that class, do to get back at someone who’s finally said enough is enough, you fucked up, pack your shit and get. Or maybe some bored comedy writers just made it up. But as tabloid entertainment, it’s straight out of the Orville Reddenbacher playbook.
Make mine extra buttered, please. Now, I really don’t give a hoot about Bullock and James, or their marriage, or any other celebrity and their marriage, either. I’d rather they loved sweetly and took turns bringing each other breakfast in bed with fruity preserves on toast and hot tea or coffee till happily ever after, keeping themselves out of the tabloids, but that just isn’t human nature, is it? People do wickedly shitty things to each other — famous people, and not-so-famous people, too. For example, yours truly spent a few recent years on the connubial nightmare edition of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, as my close friends can attest. But I ain’t gonna go into the sordid details, except to say that I can identify with the pain caused by a spouse’s pants-down or skirt-up shenanigans.
Speaking of wickedly shitty tabloid fare, how about poor Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Boomtown Rats star Sir Bob Geldof and the late TV presenter Paula Yates, who made the dopey mistake of comparing tattoos with a couch-surfing hipster from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood who calls himself “Big Ben” — or at least he claims to have a tattoo on his Little Elvis attesting to that nickname — one night at a house where both of them were crashing out? According to “thatcoolguyben,” who posted the story on Reddit in late March, last Thanksgiving’s eve he and Ms. Geldof decided to go get tattoos of each other’s names late one night. I know when I meet that special someone of the week and we start clicking, that usually comes up in conversation, and I have both arms covered with strange women’s names to prove that fact.
But once these skeevy two were riding around L.A. looking for a tattoo parlor, Ms. Geldof volunteered that she had a little heroin, and perhaps they could locate an all-night pharmacy where hypodermic needles could be procured, and since the junk was in “base” form, whatever that means, maybe a quick stop to Denny’s for some fresh lemons might be in order to convert the dope into something more jabbable. Then they arrived back at the crash pad, and got high, and coolguyben had a camera, and there were partially naked pictures taken, and they rolled around, but heroin does to penises what boiling water does to spaghetti noodles, and so coolguyben remembered he had a Cialis, which gave him enough wood to bat. Then Peaches recalled she had to be somewhere, it being morning, and so coolguyben gave her a ride, and then blacked out, and when he came to he was blowing chunks all over the sauna at Hollywood’s Scientology Celebrity Centre, and Peaches was on an exercise bike, also looking like 40 miles of bad road.
It gets better.
So, months later, Big Ben found the en flagrante delicto photos in his camera, and remembered his wild holiday night. So he posted them, along with a narrative, on Reddit. A bunch of gossip sites — Gawker, DListed, some others — picked up the story. Then Peaches’ boyfriend, film director and actor Eli Roth, went all olde-tyme chivalrous, and hopped on his faire steede to defend his wronged maiden’s wounded honour. But how did he do that?
Um, by writing the most laughably butthurt screed, an open letter to thatcoolguyben’s mother, and posting it as a blog on his fucking MySpace page. I mean, how Liberace dancing the lambada with Richard Simmons on Tom Cruise’s kitchen table is that? And Roth, director of such high art as Cabin Fever and Hostel, parts I and II, tutted Big Ben’s mother on how she’s a bad mommy because her son was expelled from university for nasty behavior, then included links to Big Ben’s mom’s and brother’s Facebook and Twitter pages, what university Big Ben’s sister attends, and a list of arrests in Palo Alto that cited his brother’s drunk-in-public bust, with mom’s home address.
And now the latest wrinkle in this saga has Big Ben challenging Eli Roth to a cage match. Pass the popcorn.
Okay. Well, I’ve been reduced to tut-tuttage, too. Silly me. Y’know, I really need to stop reading this trash for a cheap schadenfreude buzz, and start filling my head with something a little more substantial. People are going to do weird shit, and that’s okay, or at least it’s none of my business, or yours either.
Or maybe I’m just addicted to trash. There. I admitted it. Tut-tut. —Jackson Griffith