Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Friday Buzzkills: Swallowing small amounts of saliva

My fellow humans, we've had a good run, but perhaps it's time to consider packing it in. After all, when even the normally levelheaded Associated Press is kicking off the week with trend pieces on how "everything's spinning out of control," scientists are betting that the North Pole will melt away by the end of the summer, and–perhaps worst of all–we can't even seek cold comfort in the fact that at least our impending doom will inspire a new George Carlin routine, what's the point of carrying on? When even our kids' movies are set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where can we turn for the inspiration to keep going, for evidence that life is still worth living? We're not sure, but a good starting point might be 180 degrees from anything called "Friday Buzzkills." - Need further proof that our civilization is deteriorating into a morass of rutting perversion and unchecked venality, on the precipice of a dark age where we're the ones collectively fiddling while Rome burns? We invite you to take a look at the latest celebrity sex tape making the rounds–paying particular heed to its warning "Some things you can't un-see"–and consider the fact that someone, somewhere out there (specifically, SugarDVD) is looking to pay $100,000 to package and distribute this, presumably to someone, somewhere who will then pay money to watch it. Seriously, does it even matter that we're all set to drown in boiling ocean water in a few years?

Yes, that's Verne "Mike Myers' Substitute For Writing Actual Jokes" Troyer, showing 22-year-old aspiring model Ranae Shrider his best Alien impression in a brief clip from a "considerably racier" video reportedly stolen and leaked by perennial class act Kevin Blatt (the evil genius behind Paris Hilton's One Night In Paris). Today Troyer responded by filing a $20 million suit against TMZ for "invading his privacy and infringing on his copyright"–yes, apparently just being Verne Troyer counts as an original work protected by intellectual property law (unless he's actually claiming copyright on his own sex tape)–and he's also seeking an injunction preventing further dissemination of the video. (Um, any chance of making that into a class action suit? I'm pretty sure we could get a petition going in the comments.) - Naturally, you'll need something to chase away lingering images of America's favorite walking, talking prop getting his "so-you-promise-you'll-get-me-an-audition-for-The-Love-Guru-2?"-trade-off-fuck on, so may we offer this as a mental sorbet? The new season of A&E;'s semi-scripted, semi-interesting The Two Coreys is already off to a rocky start following last year's Lost Boys 2-related falling out, so dedicated viewers of the show [pause for laughs] knew that getting the former besties together again was bound to be an event fraught with awkward silences, accusations, and wanton abuse of the word "kid." Still, it's doubtful anyone predicted this game of Quien Es Mas Molestado?, where Haim's angry charge that Feldman allowed him to "get raped–so to speak–when [he] was about 14 and a half, by a guy [Feldman] still hangs out with" spurred Feldman to retort that he, too, was being molested at the time.

Logically, given everything we know about Corey Feldman's friends–one of whom just happens to have a reputation for engaging in inappropriate behavior with children–all signs would seem to point to Michael Jackson, right? At least, that's what nearly every blog on the Internet seems to think. Wrong, Feldman says, telling GQ, "People can say whatever they want, but it wasn't Michael….The guy that did this to me was my assistant." Which, you know, makes way more sense? Because it's not as though one could just, say, fire an assistant–and of course it's only natural that Feldman would "still hang" with the assistant he had over 20 years ago. Case closed, everyone. - Speaking of celebrities who could use a little couch time, Heather Locklear checked herself into a mental hospital this week citing "anxiety and depression"–though her publicist avoided the words "mental hospital," using the much trendier and acceptable term "rehab." Details are sketchy, of course, but it's not hard to gauge why Locklear might be feeling a little down: Her split with husband Richie Sambora and his subsequent fling with ex-friend Denise Richards gave Richards something of a career renaissance (if giving weekly alley-oops to The Soup can be read as a measure of success), while she's received the consolation prize of being eased out to pasture with projects like the new Lifetime movie, Flirting With 40, and trying desperately to relive her glory days by dating her old Melrose Place co-star. But at least Locklear recognizes the first queasy revolutions of a downward spiral when she sees one–which is more than you can say for Amy Winehouse, whose trouble seems to be the lack of someone, anyone to say, "Hey Amy, maybe before we start taking photos in here, we should put all these crack pipes away?" In a predictably depressing piece for Rolling Stone, Claire Hoffman bravely enters Winehouse's home–a ramshackle heap of "discarded bags of potato chips, crumpled nuggets of tin foil, beer bottles, lingerie boxes, and scattered old credit cards"–and sets the clocks an hour ahead on the Amy Winehouse Deathwatch by pinpointing the troubled singer's main problem: She simply doesn't care–happily copping to her drug use even while ostensibly in rehab and blithely dismissing her fallout with svengali producer Mark Ronson as a "relief" in between bouts of passing out (and accidentally showing reporters photographs of herself with a "gigantic penis in her mouth")–and dismisses all of it with, "I'm young, and I'm in love, and I get my nuts off sometimes." Winehouse was also diagnosed with totally fun and romantic early stage emphysema this week and told by haters who just don't understand that her continued drug abuse will have her wearing an oxygen mask pretty much any day now. But, you know, that's just other folks being uptight… - And speaking of uptight, Kanye West's recent Mac Book Air stress test was funny and everything, but his all-caps rant did more than just remind people what an unappreciated fount of non-sequiturs Point Break is–it also clued many in to one of the most under-the-radar and ridiculous "controversies" currently brewing in the rap world: the battle against tight clothes. While most of us responded with a resounding "Huh?" when Kanye exclaimed, "I understand if people think tight clothes look gay," it turns out that for once he isn't just being paranoid: A certain sect of hip-hoppers really do think tight clothes look gay, and in fact, Brooklyn group Thug Slaughter Force have even turned it into a rallying point with their song, "No Tight Clothes."

While "No Tight Clothes" shies away from naming artists specifically, it takes rappers to task for things like wearing rhinestones, carrying "man bags," and "looking like you got your pants off a Ken doll"–amusing points all (even if the song its couched in is undeniably awful), yet predictably this "movement" is less about poking fun than trafficking in the same old tired homophobia that's plagued hip-hop for decades. As the video's introductory "warning" points out, "wearing tight clothes by men may result in feminine tendencies and homosexuality," and group member Blanco The Don explains, "It basically boils down to: You are in a homosexual attire and you are claiming to be something else…. If you are homosexual, you are not gangsta. There's nothing gangster about being homosexual." (Um, we know at least one man who would beg to differ.) But rapping obsessively about another man's wardrobe is straight up gangsta for realz, right? - Sad news for children of all ages: Kermit Love–the man whose hands shaped Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oscar The Grouch, Cookie Monster–passed away last weekend at the age of 91. In addition to designing and building the costumes for those and many more denizens of Sesame Street, Love appeared on the show as Willy The Hot Dog Man, a familiar presence from the '70s through the '90s with his Santa Claus-like beard and straw hat sporting a yellow feather (a tribute to his most famous creation). Before hooking up with public television, Love provided costumes for Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and worked at the New York City Ballet with choreographers like Twyla Tharp and George Balanchine. Still, he will primarily be remembered for the wide-eyed spirit he brought to Big Bird—and even though he was also responsible for designing that damned Snuggle bear, we won't hold that against him.

- One of those venerable behind-the-scenes presences who had a hand in shaping popular culture even if no one outside the industry knew his name, publicist Howard Brandy started out in the music industry working with Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Lionel Richie, and the Monkees before making the jump to film. His work on the Beatles' Help! and Hard Day's Night was a prelude to a PR career that began in earnest with 1967's awesome, criminally out-of-print Privilege, leading to campaigns that encompassed everything from Young Frankenstein to Sexy Beast to all of the Police Academy movies. While Brandy's contributions were mostly appreciated by the stars he worked for, the common man had a more tangible–if, again, unrealized–connection to Brandy: His face provided the model for Dudley Do-Right, the result of a long friendship with Rocky And Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward. Brandy passed away this week at the age of 79.

- While no death can possibly top the truly irreplaceable George Carlin (and we're guessing that nothing will for quite some time), the world of comedy suffered another notable loss this week in Dody Goodman–who died this week at the age of 93–an actress whose "pixyish appearance and Southern-tinged, quavery voice" made her a natural for roles as quirky, slightly daft women in dozens of films and TV shows. Goodman got her first big break on Jack Paar's The Tonight Show–until, reportedly, her habit of upstaging Paar with one-liners got her fired–and later graduated to a recurring role on the cult series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, where she played the mother to Louise Lasser's main character. Goodman returned to regular television work in the '80s with her role as Aunt Sophia on Diff'rent Strokes, but it was her knack for playing unflappable ditzes that garnered her her most memorable roles in movies like Splash and Grease, where she played the xylophone-rocking, pencil-hoarding principal's assistant Blanche.

Have a super weekend!


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