What is up with Old Soul Weatherstone? Either it’s taken a swerve toward somewhere between Castro, Polk and Folsom, or else I’m getting increasingly more redneck by osmosis from hanging out in Lodi so much. Don’t think I’m headed toward any kind of Tea Party epiphanies, though, probably because of early exposure to Truman Capote all drunk and talking scribble on Dick Cavett and the other teevee gabfests, but some of that Lodi vibe is rubbing off on me: Got a butch haircut, grew some semblance of a beard, and now I notice stuff that didn’t used to register. Or … Well, fuggit. I don’t know.
I do know that playing hooky to watch drunken and pilled-up celebrities of the day ramble through a chemical fog to Merv, Mike, Dick and whoever else might have messed me up considerably. That Capote appearance I remember really shocked me into a different perceptual baseline, what with him high as a friggin’ kite and going on and on in that nasal whine with the N’Awlins accent about some woman who’d Aqua-Netted her beehive into something hard as concrete, which was all right until a female Latrodectus hesperus, better known as a black widow spider, deposited an egg sac into said beehive, which hatched into a bunch of little spiders that got big enough to bite and prematurely direct her hair-hopper existence into an open-casket sendoff.
Actually, Truman Capote is partially responsible for turning me away from the gay-bashing trajectory of my childhood environment, in the way James Brown and His Famous Flames cured me of any racist tendencies. I’d picked up In Cold Blood as a 12 year old, because it was on everybody’s coffee tables, and the writing was so kickass that it inspired me to consider typing up stuff as a legitimate alternative to, oh, beating the shit out of strangers, not that I was inclined to do that sort of things but as an early adolescent I was filled with a lot of free-floating rage so sometimes that might be how things played out. Then, when I saw Capote talking on the teevee, I got really discombobbed.
One of these days, with a little hope before I get grimly planted in some suburban Forest Lawn, I hope to write something that lights people’s brains up the way Capote’s book ignited my late childhood but somewhat precocious brain. But I also hope that if I do get a guest spot on The Tonight Show With Kim Kardashian or Maybe Chelsea Handler, I’m mild-mannered and sober.
Did this post not make sense? Sorry. Here’s to the joy of life. —Jackson Griffith
Confession: I’ve watched every episode of Jersey Shore. This, of course, puts me smack dab in the middle of some kind of normal. I know a lot of people who are too good for this show, who turn up their noses when I admit that I have an addiction of sorts. But other people totally understand when I attempt to put into words why I still tune in on Thursdays if I can find a TV, or online on Fridays if I can’t.
That said, I’m guessing my Jersey Shore addiction is akin to what heroin addicts experience: A nice, exciting rush at first, and then the reality of the grim little jones settles in, and you just have to service it to keep from breaking out in some kind of cold sweat that stinks of sausage an’ peppehs, but the actual “kick” is long gone. I’m thinking the show jumped the shark sometime last season, and this Miami-based second season has been a real letdown, for reasons that I’ll elaborate below. But still, I watch. Go figure.
I’ve written about the following phenomenon before, but I think it explains why I think it was inevitable that this show, or any other show that takes nobodies and turns them into celebrities, has a very short nascent period where it’s actually charming and good. It came from an evening conversation a long time ago with Bob Armstrong, the cartoonist and multi-instrumentalist of Cheap Suit Serenaders fame, when I asked Bob why so many cartoonists who were also big collectors of 78-r.p,m. records, like his pal Robert Crumb, seemed fixated on a very narrow period of music — from roughly 1927 to 1930.
As Bob put it, the early end of that period was when the electrical recording devices introduced by Western Electric in 1925 finally found their way to the sticks, where early record label artist-and-repertoire staffers, what we later called A&R men, would go to find new folk and blues artists for their hillbilly and race-music lines. The most famous of these forays, the Bristol Sessions of 1927, happened when Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company (later known as RCA Records) went to Bristol, Tennessee on the Virginia border, set up shop in a furniture store, and walked away with the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers, thus altering the trajectory of American music forever.
By 1930, according to the purists, the white hicks and black blues singers had become inured to the recording process, and began making the subtle adjustments that artists do when they become conscious of process, or at least the end result and the reverse engineering it takes to make the adjustments that will achieve that end result. Before, it was like: “You want me to whut? Stand here lahk this? Sang into thayut big silver thang?” “Yes. Sing and play it just like you did when you auditioned for me. Relax. Imagine you’re back home, and sing it just like you do to the people who love you.” But once these field artists started hearing their own records, or records made by others, the music changed. For mass audiences, it was no big deal, and perhaps an improvement; for purists, however, the result was a catastrophe, the end to a sweet spontaneity that was precious and innocent, not to mention desirable.
So that, to me, is why Jersey Shore played out its utility in its first season, probably sometime in the first couple of episodes — around the time certain emerging “stars” on the show began demanding a lot more money per episode. After that, the catchphrases and dialog sounded less authentic and more labored, the relationships grew more strained and — in the case of Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola — interminable to the point of being unwatchable, and the characters, especially Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, and to a lesser degree, Jenni “Jwoww” Farley, turned into cartoons. Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio, arguably the most likable character on the show, began life as a cartoon, and weirdly became more human as the series progressed. And Vinnie “Watermelon Man” Guadagnino really didn’t come into his own until the second season, largely from a drunken impromptu Snooki hookup that may play out in the future as the “smoosh” of choice for the other hair-hoppers on the show. Especially the devious Angelina “Trash Bags” Pivarnick, who got bum-rushed off the show midway through the first season and appears to be headed for a similar denouement in the second.
But stick a fork in this self-baster, because it’s for all intents and purposes done-oroony. Of course, I’ll still stupidly watch, because even in its shit-shape, it’s still way better than most of the crap on TV, and Madonna forbid I miss anything, right? Like last week’s post-hookup interview with The Situation, who was clearly rattled that, in his alcohol-deadened state, he forgot to make sure his date had inboard and not outboard plumbing. Nothing like a tranny going sideways on you, eh Sitch?
Ah, fuggit. I still love this steaming heap, and I don’t feel no guilty pangs, either. —Jackson Griffith
First, let’s get one thing straight: I totally love sex. I think sexual union, and the bliss that emanates from it when it’s good, are, you know, the pinnacle of marvelousness. I think people should have lots of good healthy sex, and that when people have lots of good healthy sex, they tend not to be so crinkly and saditty and besotten with crossed-up conditions and flumjummery. In fact, I wish I was having good healthy sex right this minute, because then I would be mellow as a cello afterward and I’d probably take a pass on what I’m about to go all scribbular with, probably because I’ve been getting nothing but eithergasms these days. (You know what that is, right? It’s like, I must be getting lots of eithergasms, because I sho’ ain’t gettin’ no muthafuggin’ orgasms.)
But I digress. I’d be all like, thanks, sweetie, but why get worked up about anything? Would you be so kind as to dip that tree of grapes toward my mouth again so I can nibble, contemplate the fall of empire and then restore my magick wand and go all Caligula on your magnificent ass one more time?
Where the whole ball of confusion gets slightly problematic, at least for me, is when a person becomes famous for, well, fucking, or sucking, or getting an endless parade of professional-sports sausage to blow loads in their face, and then they parlay that to tabloid top-tennery. Like, well, take the daughter of one of O.J. Simpson’s now-deceased close personal friends, a woman who not only got famous for making a sex tape, wherein her putatively bubblicious gluteus maximus got tapped, thus instantaneously realigning her status from tight end to wide receiver, by a second-rate rapper whose only real claim to fame is that his sister was child star turned contemporary hit radio format star Brandy, and then the very same second-rate rapper took what we in the Central Valley call a good country-style piss on her face. Or so I have heard, as Kwim Lardassian’s turn as a porn queen was up there with Elizabeth Berkley’s film debut in Paul Verhoeven’s unintentional classic, Showgirls, and at least Showgirls was marginally interesting because it had Gina Gershon in it. To paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn, I watched part of the Kwim tape all the way through. A small part, really; what I saw moved me from squickage to sleepytime.
Okay, now answer me this question: Why in fuckety fuck’s sake are we making these people famous? Why are these people being elevated to international renown, to magazine covers, to cable television shows? What fucking talent do idiots like Kwim Lardassian have that merits any kind of attention at all? Are they saving the planet? Are they helping to solve the British Petroleum Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Are they doing anything that benefits humankind?
No. They’re fucking shopping somewhere, or getting loads blown in their faces by dumb jocks.
I really think the genius of Mizz (rhymes with “jizz”) Lardassian is that she’s parlayed a sex tape of a lousy lay and a golden shower into not only her own fame, but she’s managed to foist her sisters — um, Kuntknee’s one, and the other one’s named, I think, Khloechop, and there’s her little sisters Khrunteee and Kooteee — into the limelight, too, plus her Jocelyn Wildensteinesque mom and Olympic-athlete-turned-plastic-surgery-casualty stepdad, and a bunch of other Tapout mooks and maloofuses, some of them allegedly sporting professionals.
But gosh darned no-lubrication intercourse them colonically with a big stiff grizzly bear chubby, really, along with the whole Comcast machine that foisted them into prominence, and pushed idiot nobodies like that Chelsea Handler bint into the public consciousness. If I was anyone with juice in our nation’s capital, I’d be down there showing our senators and representatives episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians just to make the point that Comcast is the corporate entity responsible for foisting that swill, and is it really any kind of good idea to let those morons get their hands on NBC? Yeah, NBC and its broadcast properties can be pretty dumb, but nowhere near as full-on paint-sniffing stupid as Comcast. Hey, you want to hand what’s left of broadcast media over to Short Bus Incorporated? Comcast is right up there with Rupert Murdoch.
Actually, Murdoch’s properties have done some good things (Donnie Darko, Office Space, Idiocracy), and one gets the idea that ol’ Rupe gets a good laugh that Americans are such cough syrup-guzzling dopes that they’ll take the saucer-kook ravings of Glenn Beck and the chihuahua biscuit-wheedling of Sean Hannity seriously; at Comcast, you know they’re not in on the joke, because they started as cable TV clowns in Philadelphia, the city that booed Santa Claus, even if Santa was drunk off his fat ass.
I’m not sure about you, but I think there should be a moratorium on skanky hoes and idiot tools being catapulted to instant fame by corporate media properties whose principal interest seems to be dumbing down the populace as far as they can so that people will buy whatever tripe the broadcasters are foisting. We need more science instead. We need to start making scientists and smart people our heroes, and stop elevating people whose only virtue, or lack of virtue, is that they like to go shopping, and they tweet their daily inanities, and then they have sex with other stupid people and there’s a camera, and then somehow they get famous and they start getting paid five-figure sums just to show up at parties and nightclubs.
Because if we keep listening to idiots, the only thing we’ll know how to do is, well, fuck, to put it in coarse French terms. Yep. Fuck and go shopping. Meanwhile, hell, meet handbasket, with us in it. So we need to start boning up on stuff again (pun entirely unintended), and while we’re at it, we might stop watching spoiled people run rampant with their entitlement issues, and start watching things that have a teensy bit more uplift value.
I’ll get off my little soapbox now. Sorry for the rant. Well, not really. —Jackson Griffith
I posted this a while back, then took it down. In light of certain recent events, I figured it might be something a few of you might find worth reading. Or, maybe not.
My friend Jeff probably gets tired of all my million-dollar ideas, because every time I’ve gotten one over the past 30 years, I’ve called him up to ramble on about them. They were all so brilliant that I can’t remember any of them right now, except that a few of them did go on to make millions upon millions of dollars for somebody, but not me. But I do remember the million-dollar idea I just got recently, and it’s such a natural and a no-brainer that, what the hey, why don’t I just tell you about it?
The Celebrity Funeral Channel. It’s got celebrities, it’s got death, it’s got dead celebrities, plus it’s got tons of other possibilities. Like the various styles of mourning, the history of undertaking, the tension of aerodynamic styling versus classic design in hearses, caskets and other accoutrements of death. It’s got Elvis, Eva Peron, Princesses Grace and Diana, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and a host of others, and by the time the channel is up and running, it’ll most likely have Lindsay Lohan, too. And, if we’re lucky, a few other overly entitled celebrities.
Think of the sponsorship possibilities: Not only would you get Service Corporation International, aka Dignity Memorial, and Forest Lawn and the Batesville Casket Company, but you’d get various cosmetics manufacturers that specialize in post-viable makeup, you’d probably get a few ads from the Mormons, plus life insurance plans and more. That’s just for starters. And too bad Buick has refocused its trajectory post-General Motors bankruptcy, because back when that marque’s median customer age was 78 and its cars looked like Batesville products, you’d get some of those ads, too. Plus lots of others. I mean, wouldn’t you advertise on a channel like this? I know I would.
And think of the program possibilities. Start with long “Behind the End of the Music”-style VH1 segments, little documentaries about funerals woven together from footage with narration, and then add in interviews with embalmers to the stars, the person who did the facial restoration work on the disfigured accident victim or the star whose mug was rendered unrecognizable from the ravages of drugs or disease. The, you’d have a new class of critics and opinionists — let’s just call them armchair thanatologists — who would be champing at the bit to spout their opinions on death, style, celebrity and overarching cultural decay. Not to mention some choice celebrity commentators: Imagine John Waters discussing celebrity funerals in terms of bad taste publicly flaunted, or various Kardashian family members interviewed for no real reason at all?
And let us not forget that the first three letters of funeral happen to be f-u-n, which are also the first three letters of the word funny, and there are potentials for unintentional comedy all over the place here, like various celebrity mourners deadpanning on how the dear departed was like Mozart, da Vinci, Shakespeare, Einstein and Jean d’Arc, all rolled into one person, even if their claim to fame was that they parlayed childhood sitcom success into a lifetime of horribly embarrassing drug- and alcohol-fueled car and party crashes.
I think that all of us have a bit of the armchair thanatologist in us, don’t we? We all die, eventually, so I’m guessing that particular character facet is hardwired into us. Plus, most everybody loves the trainwreck voyeurism of a good public funeral display, especially if there are famous people involved. And look at the popular narrative arcs of those interminable VH1 Behind the Music specials, where the redemption angle is tossed in at the end, but what really rivets viewers’ attentions is the downfall, the hitting bottom.
Schadenfreude is a marketable commodity. So is grieving. And everybody dies, even famous people. Don’t you think we should make some money here? So call me already, and let’s talk. —Jackson Griffith
Now that America’s most famous celebrity jailbird is out of the hoosegow ‘n’ rehab combo she got sentenced to earlier in the summer, or so the tabs are reporting, and she’s whoring herself out to the highest bidder for product placement, the first one being Rockstar energy drinks, a company founded by the son of right-wing hate-radio star Michael Savage, whose wife is the company’s chief financial officer, perhaps it’s time for me to tell my little jail story. Actually, I have a whole bunch of them, because I was kind of a bad boy back in the day, but most of those were hammer-headed rousts that resulted in overnight stays in the tank followed by a kickout at dawn, which really don’t count. But I did do three weeks’ straight time some 30 years ago, when I was still somewhat of a lad, a wee bit of days that meant I was “shorter than a skeeter’s dick” in the parlance of some of my juzgado-confined contemporaries. Although being locked up made enough of an impression on me that I managed to get sober 12 and a half years later, and I’m still sober nearly 18 years after that. But as usual I digress.
Not that I give much of a fuck about the spoiled-rotten case of celebrity entitlement syndrome named Lindsay Lohan, who’s less than a year older than my daughter Ellie, or her celebrity entitlement syndrome-afflicted family, either. But Lohan is, I’m guessing, an addict, contrary to celebrity doctor opinion, and I had figured that a little jail time might be good for her. It was for me in 1980, when Judge William Giffen of the San Joaquin County Superior Court took a long, rambling letter I’d written him about how I was not an alcoholic, even though I’d racked up three DUIs, one in 1976 in which I took a swing at the arresting cop, and two in 1979, and the judge laughed openly at my words and mocked me in court in front of all the other ne’er-do-wells there that day, and then he ripped up my long-winded letter before sentencing me to 30 days in the French Camp Motel, which was a barracks-like farm next to the main county jail on Mathews Road. And as I had zero celebrity status to fall back on, I did the time.
Jail actually did me some good. I went to AA meetings, idiotic smoke-filled jackoff fests run by this 400-pound hog of a man who’d rolled up in a blue beater Plymouth Duster with an “Easy Does It” bumper sticker on the back, who yelled at all us incarcerated losers to sit down and shut the fuck up and we might learn something. We jeered his fat sweaty light-cigarette-smoking ass, and we jeered the trustys who tried to find his porcine little dick to suck it so they might get out a little earlier, too. Going to AA meetings got you out of work detail.
Not that work detail was all that bad. I got assigned to the laundry, and this cop named Officer Stambaugh took a shine to me and this black cat named Cleotis who had 10 years on me in age, and he’d drive us downtown in a Sheriff’s pickup truck to the courthouse where we could move file cabinets around in our jailhouse blues and check out the rumpage on the courthouse secretarial pool. Aside from that, we separated clothes in on the jailhouse laundry floor and washed ’em and folded ’em. Not rocket science.
Some people got hoeing-weeds detail, which sucked if it was during the interminable San Joaquin Valley summer heat, but it was only April so it wasn’t so goddamn dessicating. I think I had to how weeds during one of my other stints at the Motel, the previous October, but not this time. Kitchen detail was all right, too, but the cops seemed to favor putting all the Mexicans in the kitchen. So what those Mexicans did was corner the captive market for “pruno,” which was some kind of illicit jailhouse toilet hooch fermented in a loo with a bunch of rotting vegetables and some sugar and yeast. One of my first nights there, two dumb Okies got all drunked up on pruno and then went down to flip off the Sheriff’s deputies, and the Sheriffs just laughed at them for a while before rolling them up and shlepping them off to the main jail. Then some pint-sized old Mexican gangsta-style dude got all flipped out and ranted an impromptu apocalyptic speech in our barracks. “What the fuck is he on about?” I asked one guy. “Them dumbfuck Okies,” he said. “They’re gonna fuck up this whole sweet deal here.”
Oh. Yeah. The whole sweet deal.
Well, fuck sweet deals. It was jail, even if it wasn’t in the main monkey cage. It sucked bad enough on a daily basis to make me think that it might not be my style on a forward-looking basis. Up in the morning: “Count time on the compound! All inmates on the compound!” Which meant go stand in line and wait for the Sheriffs to finish their walkaround, which could take minutes or the better part of an hour, and you’d have to stand there until they were done. If I remember correctly (it’s been over 30 years now), we had count time several times a day, and one asshole in the bunch could fuck everything up if one of the cops got pissed off. Which happened about every other time. So, you just stood there, toes on the line, waiting for the cops to let everyone chill.
Weird shit happened, too. I know I’ve written about this before, but some of the things people used to say were pretty funny. Like this weathered old hillbilly I used to smoke cigarettes with on the picnic tables on the gravel outside the barracks. “Son, if you want to be a convict, you got to look at things the way a convect looks at things,” he’d hector me in his Johnny Cash-like stentorian drawl. “You got to learn to roll a cigarette the way a convict rolls a cigarette. You got to … ” I’d cut him off: “Fuck that shit, man. I’m gettin’ outta here soon, and I’m done with doing jail time.” He’d fix me with the evil eye and correct me: “That’s bullshit, son,” he’d wail. “You ain’t foolin’ me. I know your type. You’re county-born, state-raised and penitentiary-bound.”
The other big laugh I had was at Easter dinner, when they stepped up the usual hogsfeed the kitchen trustys scooped on our big stamped stainless-steel trays by giving us a Suothern-style chicken dinner complete with dessert. “Damn!” one poor kid blubbered as he burst into tears. “That peach cobbler’s as good as mama used to make.” Me and Cleo fell out laughing over that shit.
Just like Lohan got her mama, White Oprah, to visit her, we got visitors too. My parents didn’t visit, out of embarrassment, perhaps, but mostly because my dad was dying of cancer, and he’d be gone five months later, and my mom had her hands full taking care of him. I did get a visit from a platonic friend named Nicole, who was rather well built, with an hourglass figure enhanced by the kind of inappropriately slutty outfit that caused spontaneous tents to be pitched among inmates and Sheriff’s deputies alike. After her visit ended, this Mexican guy came up to me in the yard: “Who was that bitch you was talkin’ to in there?” he asked. A friend, I told him. “Man, I’d like to fuck her in the ass,” he volunteered, adding some very graphic and violent details. “You might consider shutting the fuck up now,” I told him. He glared at me like he was going to kill me, nostrils flaring. I stood there. I was 25, stupid and jinked out on testosterone and ready to mix it up over my friend’s honor.
Bad idea, two other Mexican guys expressed to me rather urgently. “Don’t be messing with Mikey, man,” one of them conveyed with utter sincerity. “He’s like all fucked up on the K-J,” K-J being street slang for PCP, or elephant tranquilizer. I got the message. I backed off. The rest of my time there Mikey, or Michael Morales, as I later learned he was named, eyed me like he was going to come kill me in my sleep. One week into the next year, Morales hunched in the back seat of a car while his cousin, a gay teen from Lodi who was in a relationship with a high-school football player, drove with the girlfriend of the football player, a girl named Terri Winchell, to go shopping.
Then Morales strangled her, before dragging her across the road into a vineyard where he raped her and then stabbed her to death. Charming fellow. He was scheduled to die in 2006 at San Quentin, but the court stayed his execution until they could figure out if execution is cruel and unusual punishment. If they start executing prisoners again, he’s next. And I have to say that even though I’m vehemently against the death penalty, in his case, my feelings are rather ambivalent.
Again, I digress. The only other thing I have to report about jail was that on the night I was getting a “midnight kickout,” I went to take a shower. There was this one nelly weekender, a black guy made up like a girl, who earlier had been mincing about the yard, and now he was in the big open bathroom, blowing one guy while getting butt-rammed by another, while a few other guys waited their turn. None of the other guys seemed gay, and I’d hung out with a few of them while doing time, but I figured they were just situational homosexuals behind bars. At any rate, I decided on the spot to forego the shower before getting released.
Aside from a few drunk-in-publics from Mabuhay Gardens days in San Francisco, I stayed out of jail after that. Just was done with it. And although it took me another dozen years to get sober and stay that way, I think that getting stripped of all my imagined entitlements and shoved into general population with a bunch of common criminals just like me was a really good thing in the long run.
But who knows with Lohan? My parents and friends didn’t make excuses for me. It was like, you fucked up, now chill out and think about it. Not so with the movie star. She’s out, she’ll be back to her old haunts and her old running partners, and my guess is that we’ll be getting exclusive dispatches from TMZ from outside the mortuary at Forest Lawn or Pierce Brothers Westwood by the end of the year, along with plenty of White Oprah and that equally skanky Mesh-Shirted Wifebeater blathering and boohoo-hooing on Larry King’s show about how the big bad cruel world killed Lindsay Lohan, and we all played a part in it so we should atone for our sins by supporting the rest of Clan Lohan until the end of time or till spaceships land with giant carnivorous bugs that make short shrift of the world’s vertebrate population, whichever comes first.
Too bad the dumb bint will never learn. So what day did you pick in her dead pool? —Jackson Griffith
At some point, the popular idea of “hipness” changed from something that was knowledge-based to something that depended upon how much money you spent. Suddenly, everybody was a hipster, or at least everybody who had enough disposable income to position themselves as somewhat au courant. The problem with this newer breed of hipster is that they messed with the equation, foisting inferior ideas into the slipstream. No, money does not equal taste, contrary to what you may be reading elsewhere these days. Don’t be swayed by disinformation.
A society needs its hipsters to help art and culture navigate through the stupidities of commerce and bureaucracy. But not jiveass bullshit hipsters, but real hipster people who are awake to what’s going on and have some idea of possibilities to where things might be going, and how to get there. There are arcane streams of data and little signposts along the way that might be missed if awakened people aren’t paying attention. People who are so busy powershopping for the next accoutrement of hipster chic are most likely going too fast to read the signs.
Hipness isn’t a tribe, it’s a priesthood. A secret priesthood. A lot of the tribe that people identify as hipsters? Those people are really scenesters, man. There are people out there who are hipsters who, well, you’d have no idea as to how hip they are, because you never sat down to share a cup of coffee, or whatever they put in their cups, to catch what’s going on behind their eyes. There are ascended masters walking among you. They’re not showing up on TMZ.com’s latest flash of some Tinseltown casualty stumbling out of whatever Hollywood watering hole is fashionable this week. You’ll never notice them if you’re tuned into the wrong channel.
Hipness is part of the watery bailiwick of Neptune. It shifts, constantly, but underneath those shifting oceanic currents, there are certain consistencies. Like: Hip doesn’t need to ride a fixed gear bicycle to get where it’s going, because it’s already there. And: Hip doesn’t tweet like the cranial diarrhea of celebrities unhinged; it whispers like the saxophone of Paul Desmond, just before sunrise. And, also: Hip doesn’t have to go looking for some arbiter of hipsterist hipness to verify anything, because the knowledge is already there. And, finally: If you went out and dropped a huge chunk of change at some hipster emporium on a totem that will automatically bestow hipness upon your parched and craving visage, what you bought was counterfeit. It wasn’t even a reasonable facsimile.
Welcome to the scene.
Oh, and by the way, I make no claims to being hip. I’m really pretty L-7: Like, total squaresville, daddy-o. I will say that I’ve been around long enough to know the genuine article when I see it or hear it, however, and what’s getting passed off as “hip” these days is anything but. Life is a mystery.
And, you know, there are some things I just don’t get. And I’m totally okay with that. —Jackson Griffith
Time for my Polident-flavored Andy Rooney imitation: Gosh darn it, what the heck’s wrong with all these famewhores today? Back in my day, celebrities had a modicum of class, and men wore stylish suits, and women all carried themselves like Audrey Hepburn. But these days, well, you aren’t anybody unless you’ve got a sex tape.
No, you can’t get ahead in show business unless you’re ready to spread a little talent in the boudoir for the cameras. And the stakes keep getting upped, too. First, Paris Hilton demonstrated the bored — and boring — insouciance of pathetically stupid little rich girls trying to buy their way to relevance by filming the ick nast in military-style night vision, which at least resulted in a pretty great South Park episode. Of course, someone had to up the ante, and a social climber and future mocha Jocelyn Wildenstein-style catwoman named Quim Lardassian had to do it with rapper and Brandy brother Ray J, who went all barky-bark in it by lifting his leg on her, no doubt mistaking that badonka-donkesque — and some would say surgically enhanced — gluteus maximus for a fire hydrant.
And now, this Kendra Wilkinson, who already let Hugh Hefner put on his smoking jacket and lay some pipe — and we’re talking about a mighty ancient meerschaum here — who’s upping the ante again. Apparently Vivid Entertainment, a company that specializes in non-Disney kiddie fare, got its hands on some horizontal entertainment featuring Wilkinson and “multiple partners.” Given the context of the statement, let’s assume the company is talking about what’s colloquially called a “gangbang,” or at least a “double-teaming” or a “three-way.”
Now, I’ve got nothing against a good porn tape. Heaven knows, wankflicks have provided many businessmen, and women, a decent happy ending while ensconced in hotels on the road, happy endings that didn’t involve the kind of room service that got Eliot Spitzer in so much trouble. My beef, instead, lies in the aforementioned ante getting upped. What’s next? Tila Tequila doing it with a German Shepherd? Someone from The Hills, desperate for the waning attention of the public, getting all oiled up and climbing into a kennel, or Lindsay Lohan and her mom and sister, or Jwoww and Snooki from Jersey Shore, venturing to Tijuana for consort with multiple donkeys?
I guess I’m just mildly crestfallen that skanks have taken over being famous, and that now you have to do something truly skanky to get anyone to pay attention to you. When I grew up (he says, gumming a bran muffin that helps him stay “regular”), stars had class, and Holly Golightly would never do the fucklebuck with some bling-encrusted cad, or the family pooch, nor would she cavort with a stripper pole on national television; she would save her charms for some lucky lad to enjoy in private. Gosh darn it. Heck whiz.
Grumble. Grumble. Waiter, why do you stop serving oatmeal so early? Me want some, now. —Jackson Griffith
The end is near. Stephen Hawking recently went public with the idea that space aliens may not have our best interests at heart here on Earth. Couple that observation with the idea that there’s got to be a few spaceship-loads of hungry carnivorous aliens riding around, looking for a free-range human dining experience, and it’s a short leap to the shuddering realization that our days are numbered on this planet, and allow me to douse myself with this 28-ounce bottle of Sriracha Rooster Sauce with the faint hope that I am making myself repulsive to the alien palate. As someone from the Eagles once etched into the runoff groove of an album: “He who hesitates is lunch.”
Nevertheless, if marauding and hungry aliens are indeed hell-bent on coming to Earth and chomping and swallowing their way through humanity and they’re taking suggestions, I’ve got a pretty good place for them to start. It’s in West Hollywood, it’s loaded with celebrity humans, if you believe its tireless promotional efforts, and it’s called Millions of Milkshakes. I would posit to aliens that celebrities taste better than the rest of us mortals, and it’s not like these aliens are doing us a favor by gobbling all our celebrities, because we’re also on the menu, but if we’re going to die miserable deaths by being masticated by the drooling mandibles of insectile extraterrestrial horrors, please give us the entertainment of watching celebrities get devoured first, okay? Aliens, imagine the gustatory delights of ripping the flesh off of a celebrity that just finished concocting a gooey and sweet milkshake delight, and is loaded with sugary goodness. Mmmmm! And here’s a bonus tip: Paparazzi, those guys with the flashing lightbulbs, taste great, too!
Curious about this Millions of Milkshakes, I went to Wikipedia looking for an entry on it. Wikipedia has everything. But there was nothing on Millions of Milkshakes. And there was nothing on Millions of Milkshakes’ founder, Sheeraz Hasan. And there was nothing on one of Hasan’s other enterprises, a website called Hollywood.tv. How can this be? A shamelessly famewhoring business in shamelessly famewhoring Hollywood, one that’s definitely on the radar of every skeezy cable TV chronicler of famewhores doing their famewhoring, not to mention all the gossip columns taking delight in ripping apart famewhores doing their famewhoring, and no Wiki page?
My first encounter with Millions of Milkshakes was when I saw it mentioned in conjunction with Jon Gosselin, the toady co-star of the so-called reality series Jon & Kate Plus Eight, whose Ed Hardy-clad gallivanting and skankbanging exploits after separating from his now ex-wife Kate Gosselin made her, a woman with a personality that public relations executives might describe as having “high negatives,” actually look good. That’s some award-winning douchebaggery there, and it was mystifying why Jon Gosselin was getting so much coverage as a celebrity, when all he was doing was showing up in public clad in the latest Christian Audigier-designed sartorial abortions and moping about, sucking on Marlboros or hitting on random skanks. So when I caught a report of Gosselin creating his own milkshake at something called Millions of Milkshakes, I figured this was something special, kinda like Planet Hollywood colliding with Tastee-Freez in a special hellchamber of future human tortures.
I have to admit that I was surprised by the absence of footage featuring celebrity famewhoring couple Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, who would show up at a casket opening if it got them on TV. But perhaps Hasan is smart, figuring that those two are already over, or maybe he got them early, before he started posting clips on YouTube of all his milkshake exploits. But Hasan did get land a second appearance of future 2010 obituary fodder Lindsay Lohan, this time with her preternaturally aged and now-Kahlo-eyebrowed sister Ali in tow, and the elder Lohan — fresh from a lifetime 86 at the nightclub Trousdale for tossing a drink at the head of her former girlfriend, DJ Samantha Ronson — received some special Millions of Milkshakes award, a trophy, for being the first putative celebrity to create a second milkshake. Such are the demands of stardom.
Given the sheer starpower of Millions of Milkshakes, I was frankly quite surprised that Gavin and Joe Maloof, owners of the Sacramento Kings, haven’t created their original milkshakes there yet. But I did find footage of one of their former employees, Ron Artest, now a power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not sure what goes into a Ron Artest milkshake, and I don’t think I want to find out — milk, yogurt, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, taurine, random steroids, dog blood, uh, help me out here? (Actually, compared to Gosselin’s mess, Artest’s sounds quite drinkable.)
Anyway, if any of you aliens are cruising the internet right now trying to figure out where to start that human dining experience, here’s another link to the Millions of Milkshakes website, and there’s a map there, too. Happy eating, and hopefully by the time we see you up here, you’ll have full stomachs or whatever your digestive organs are called, and you’ll be tired of gnawing on humans. Here’s hoping. —Jackson Griffith