Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Friday Buzzkills: The week karma went on Spring Break

In keeping with Magical Zombie Day, this week was all about minor miracles and resurrection: Daring high-seas rescues, stirring testimony to the idea that dreams come true, and as if that weren’t enough, hey look: puppies! All in all, it was a pretty good week to start believing in your fellow man again—just as long as you ignored all the other purely execrable human behavior by people who, while they probably don’t know any better, should at least know better than to display it while cameras and microphones are around. But thank the lord they don’t, because without we’d have nothing to talk about, you and I. Let’s join hands and come together on a stirring round of Friday Buzzkills.

- Of course, why should anyone bother tempering their public persona in an era when the difference between “fame” and “infamy” is so ill-defined, and that thin line between love and hate has grown wafer-thin? Take the eternal (seriously… fucking eternal) paradox of Nadya Suleman, a woman so disliked that the media has repeatedly refused to report on her by reporting on their refusal to report on her, creating a never-ending spiral of shame that even we’re obviously guilty of. Unfortunately, our icky ethical quandary doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, at least if Suleman’s proposed reality show comes to fruition: After being rejected by nearly every U.S. network—even the normally gung-ho The Learning Channel (or more accurately, the Cautionary Example Channel)—Suleman recently announced she was close to signing a deal with the U.K.-based production house Eyeworks to film several “documentaries” following the lives of her children as they come of age in the House That Rubbernecking Built. (So kind of like Michael Apted’s 7 Up series, only replace “7” with… yeah, you get where this is going…) Early reports have suggested that the show might also introduce a “dating” element, as Suleman attempts to find a man with a fetish for negligent women and a complementary yen for attention at whatever cost.

On the plus side, he probably won’t have to worry about supporting Nadya’s 14 little miracles, because Suleman has already made the shrewd decision to once again turn her crotch-lemons into crotch-lemonade by trademarking the name “Octomom.” Previously applied as an insult, as though she were a Marvel Comics villain whose superpower is a devastating lack of conscience (Marvel: Call me!), “Octomom” has lately been embraced by Suleman, who now sees it as just the ticket to help her land licensing deals with “clothing designers and manufacturers of dolls and infant accessories.” Sadly not mentioned: An “Octomom” brand of birth control; an “Octomom” legal precedent that allows for the revoking of medical licenses for any doctor who utters the words, “Well, we could try splitting your uterus… ;” an “Octomom” implant for everyone on the planet so that whenever a story about “Octomom” comes on TV, your brain plays Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” until it’s all over.


- Surprisingly, Suleman is only the second most horrible person to get all the reality TV show famewhoredom she can handle this week: Disgraced NFL star Michael Vick is already making plans to hit the ground with cameras rolling on a show documenting his attempts to “make amends for his past” the second he’s released from federal custody this July. The former Atlanta Falcon who kept himself entertained on the weekends by organizing dogfights reportedly owes millions to creditors, so he could obviously use whatever money people are willing to throw at him to look at the camera tearfully and mutter some variation on “It’s hard being me” week after week, but while producers have already approached him, it’s not yet clear what network wants to be known as the “We Gave Money To The Most Hated Man In Sports Not Named A-Rod” Channel. (And by the way, dozens of blogs have already beaten you to the Animal Planet joke.) And actually, maybe it’s not any of them: Vick’s spokesman Joel Segal came out today to say that such reports were “totally false”—although his lawyers did tell a judge during Vick’s recent bankruptcy hearing that he might partake in a documentary in exchange for $600,000. Oh, well as long as the disproportionate reward for Vick’s fake contrition is being used in service of something classy...

- Compared to sentencing your 14 children to a lifetime of intense scrutiny and exploitation or forcing dogs to tear each other to pieces for your amusement, a little casual racism seems positively cute—particularly when it’s delivered in the gruff, bear-on-codeine roar of Brad Garrett, star of the perennially not-canceled sitcom ’Til Death. (Tagline: “Hey, At Least It’s In Focus.”) Well-known for his dislike of the paparazzi—who, let’s face it, are only following him at this point in hopes that he’ll throw a newsworthy tantrum—Garrett recently scuffled with yet another cameraman, admonishing him to speak “in English” before yelling at him repeatedly to “Wear the turban!” (An incident that, by the way, comes only two years after Garrett said to another cameraman, “I didn’t know they had black people in Malibu. Go back to where you came from.” Oh how easily these things are misconstrued!) Naturally, this disappointed the American-Arab Discrimination Committee, whose director Nawar Shora offered to “reach out to Mr. Garrett and his crew to help educate him about the Arab/Muslim/Sikh communities,” which we’re sure Garrett will happily take advantage of just as soon as his management team forces him to. (Wait… Brad Garrett has a “crew”?) While the pervasiveness of such stereotypes in this supposedly post-racial age is disappointing in and of itself, what’s truly sad here is that “wear the turban!” was the best dig Garrett could come up with, and he’s ostensibly a comedian.


- Fun fact: Brad Garrett once provided the voice of a cartoon Hulk Hogan in the short-lived Hulk Hogan’s Rock ’N’ Wrestling, which gives their dual appearance in the headlines this week for saying stupid shit an odd synchronicity. Of course, as it was in the ’80s, the real Hogan gets the edge: The wrestler turned patriarch to a family of tabloid editors’ wet dreams decided he was tired of his harridan wife, untalented daughter, and criminally spoiled son getting all the negative attention and decided to up the ante on everyone by telling Rolling Stone that he “totally understands O.J.” Bitter about his wife’s divorcing him, kicking him out of his mansion, and dating a “shaggy-haired pool boy 30 years her junior,” Hulk did what any sane, rational man would do and told a national magazine, “I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody’s throat.” While Hogan’s ex-wife Linda has said she considers the statement a death threat, Hulk himself has bemoaned being taken out of context, insisting everyone is missing the point, which is that “I didn’t do the O.J. Simpson thing. I took the high road.” Ah yes, “the high road,” wherein one makes the morally commendable choice not to slaughter your entire family in a jealous rage. Fortunately, Hogan adhered to the tenets of Hulkamania—training, eating your vitamins, saying your prayers, and resisting the urge to slit your wife’s throat even though you could have—only to find himself getting the old atomic leg drop from those bastards in the press. How long until journalists stop this vicious “writing down and then accurately repeating things that they say” smear campaign against his poor family?

- Perhaps not long at all, given that actual “researching and reporting”-type journalists have become such an endangered species (thanks in no small part to blog-based lampreys like yours truly) that, for example, a good chunk of the reviews of the new State Of Play are focused on how it’s basically a memento mori to the whole newspaper industry. But how dire are things, exactly? Well, for one, the long-running Chicago Tribune is still a hair’s breadth from bankruptcy, and in order to stay somewhat solvent, it’s about to purge 20 percent of its workforce this week. Even worse: According to this Gawker piece, the paper is so desperate to stay relevant that it’s currently forcing all of its features reporters to come in every Sunday and write an entertainment column called “Face Time” for the Monday edition. Where do they get the stories to fill said column? “By scanning what TMZ and the US Weekly website have reported over the weekend, and rehash[ing] it for Monday.” Oh, newspapers… You are a bleeding animal lying in our driveway every morning, and sooner or later someone is going to have to go out there and finish the job humanely with the sharp edge of a shovel. And then everyone will hear about your demise on Twitter—but not from CNN, because more people are listening to Ashton Kutcher.


- As much as we may bemoan (while ironically hastening) the loss of traditional journalism around these parts, there’s something to be said for the democratization of information afforded by the Internet, and for that we have people like Judith Krug to thank. Her efforts on behalf of free speech ensured that everything we blog, tweet, and otherwise babble into your laptop box enjoys the same constitutional protection as anything produced on the printing press, stemming from her work to strike down the indecency provisions of the Communications Decency Act Of 1996. Before that, Krug—a lifelong librarian—gained fame for helping to found Banned Books Week, an extension of her belief that our country’s libraries should be based on “intellectual freedom, of providing all pertinent information so a reader can make decisions for himself.” Beginning in the 1960s, Krug protested the banning of books like Huckleberry Finn and Catcher In The Rye from schools and libraries, frequently butting heads with the Moral Majority in the ’80s before taking on the Supreme Court on the issue of Internet censorship. It is because of her that we can freely say that many of the members of the Supreme Court are often guilty of promoting their own party-line agendas and can therefore suck our collective cock—especially Thomas and Scalia, who are both huge hypocrites who frequently and roundly bugger each other after each judicial session. Thanks, Judith! Krug died this week at the age of 69.

- For more than 30 years, Harry Kalas was the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, an effervescent man with contagious enthusiasm and highly imitable voice who even had his own catchphrase: “Outta here!” Football fans will also recognize Kalas as a narrator from NFL Films, but even those who have nothing whatsoever to do with sports will recognize Kalas’ warm, enveloping tones from Chunky Soup commercials. Kalas continued working with his beloved Phillies right up until this Monday, when he collapsed and died in the broadcasting booth just before a game. He was 73.

- With their smooth-as-silk harmonies and impeccable, airy arrangements, The Delfonics came to epitomize the Philadelphia soul sound of the 1960s, breaking out with the smash hit “La-La (Means I Love You)” in 1968 and following it up with songs like the Grammy-winning “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”—both of which were given a late-period renaissance thanks to their pivotal appearance in Jackie Brown. Of the group’s original members, singer Randy Cain was known as “the ladies’ man,” and he was also the first to leave in 1971, helping to form the similarly babymaking Blue Magic, before eventually reuniting with The Delfonics in 1999. In what is the second blow to Philadelphia this week, Cain died yesterday at the age of 63.

Have a super weekend!


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