By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Because my fellow liberals are whining that the news cycles are going 25/7 The Creepy JonBenet Murdery Guywhen they should be covering all that murdering in the Middle East, I would like to offer just a teeny suggestion: don't watch television news. I've watched the news on the teevee all of two times in the past six years: for four days after 9/11 and all through the devastation of Katrina, and then only because newspapers just can't show the horror of people being left to die on this criminally incompetent administration's watch. (And yes, I'm talking about 9/11 too. "All right, you've covered your ass now," the president told the CIA aide who'd come to brief him that bin Laden was Determined to Strike in the U.S. Then—can you stand it?—El Prez went fishing.)
Still, I hold the unpopular opinion (among the smart set, anyway) that the JonBenet case matters, and not just to the news channels' programming directors, who have plumb run out of missing white girls. With JonBenet, you had everything that was wrong with a certain section of our country: you had these privileged white people with nothing better to do than dress their beautiful little girl up like a streetwalker and teach her how to shake her pre-cha-chas and lisp lascivious songs. You had Frozen Mom, Creepy Dad and the lawyer who wouldn't let them talk. Who waits four months to talk to the police who are investigating their young daughter's death?
Do the Serious People (and scolds) really expect us not to gawk? It was even better than if they had been your typical child-beauty-pageant-family double-wide dwellers, because we didn't feel guilty for making fun of white trash!
Fast-forward 10 years, and the story goes nuts. A child molester who jets around the globe looking for new nations of first-graders to teach and nanny? One who was let go from a Thai private school after two weeks for being "too strict"? Do you want to imagine what he was imagining every time he thought of a paddle?
Still, until there's DNA, I'm of the school that says it's a False Confession From a Nutbar (Albeit a Very Molesty One). His ex-wife, who you'd think wouldn't carry his brief, says he never left Alabama over that whole Christmas season, and how could it not be That Dad?
* * *
On Saturday I went to see my girlfriend Kevin, who built herself a home on a dirt road outside Apple Valley. What did I do there, in her Modernist gorgeousness? I sat in a recliner, looked out at the rabbits, and read In Touch and Us. Were they good magazines, important magazines, anything beyond the most tedious drivel? No, and they were badly wrote to boot. And sometimes it's okay just to look at pictures of Jessica Simpson's bad lip job, or a chart showing the similarities between Britney's great loves: K-Fed and Justin Timberlake. They both wear hats! Here are pictures of each of them bowling! And here are delightful captions like "Kevin Federline enjoys a night out bowling. Justin Timberlake has been known to bowl too."
Well, shet yo mouth! I guess now I know they're just exactly the same!
Commie Mom, one of those scolds who thinks people who talk about celebrities are mouth-breathing twits, buys every tacky tabloid that hits the newsstands, so long as it flaunts Angelina Jolie. She is thrilled Brad Pitt left "shallow," "boring" and probably "whey-faced" Jennifer Aniston; she vows Pitt and Jolie are the best couple in the history of humans; she even—somehow unaware that thirtysomething grown-up punks have been rock-and-rolling their accessory-tykes for the past decade—thinks Maddox's Mohawk is original and daring. She reads aloud to me about their tiffs and their sexy makings-up; she chortles when Angelina leaves in a huff and moves the kids to a hotel—and that Brad comes running. It got to the point that I had to ask her if she liked Angelina better than me.
For the record, she claims she doesn't.
When she's not mooning over the world's greatest lovers, Commie Mom is watching C-Spanand precinct walking. But In Touch is doing her a service: it's important to let some brain cells lie fallow.
* * *
I missed the very first installment of Drinking Liberally—every Thursday night at the Santa Ana Memphis, say 8:30ish—which is a spinoff of the successful one started by bloggers in Philly and is organized here by Mike Lawson at TheLiberalOC.com.
I had a date with destiny at Hollywood's Safari Sam'sinstead. (Yes, it is the same Sam who perpetrated Safari Sam's in Huntington back in the '80s.) There, at the VIP party for media types, I met a nice lady who writes for a Bev Hills newsletter and told me she'd heard about a gig at The Onion—but did I know that it was all made-up? She couldn't in good conscience get involved with that.
That lady sure was nice.
More important, the invite promised there would be burlesque girls passing trays of gifts, and the only thing better than burlesque girls passing trays of gifts is burlesque girls passing trays of burlesque girls.
Instead, there was some lip gloss in a bowl on the bar.
There was outrageous rock star karaoke, with The Sweet as the backing band for various Grammy nominees (okay, one: a beautiful redhead who'd been nominated for gospel rock) slicing through "Heartbreaker" and normal-looking frattish guys absolutely destroyingZeppelinfor any other singer (besides Robert Plant).
The Dares were a darling outfit of 16-year-olds who sounded exactly like Green Day (we were all ushered inside by a guy blaring, "The band's starting! They're 16 and they're probably better on guitar than you!") and were adorable and funny, with shy little rock star moves and lots of tongue-sticking-out and camera-vamping, and the singer, Ben Peterson, looked like a mix of a 16-year-old Andy Summers and Sting, and his twin brother, Matt, is on drums, and he's hot too, and it's like that time I saw the new Peter Panwith a girlfriend and she came out of it feeling like she needed a shower, because she had wanted to have sex with the teenage actor who played Pan, and she is almost 40 and has kids. Luckily, there is a third in the band, and he was more in the Jason Schwartzman vein, and I didn't want to do bad things to him, and so I felt much better.
The Petersons apparently started the band when they were 9, which leads naturally to questions about Joe Simpson-ish stage dads, but I think that's a much healthier way of living through your kids than the beauty pageant nasties, don't you?
* * *
MELTING POINT WRAP-UP
An excellent show this week, on the topic of party loyalty. KJ from Austin said screw the GOP, she's off to the American Conservative Union,the Republicans running this country being just too sane and reasonable. I second that, KJ, and I think all disenchanted Republicans should join you! It sure worked for me when I voted Green in 2000. Host Shawn Fago, for the first time ever, was cogent, coherent and concise, actually moderating the show, asking intelligent questions instead of stupid ones, and being remarkably bullshit-free. I was pretty good myself, pointing out that party loyalty shouldn't extend to people like Tom DeLay, who got himself all indicted and shit but the right-wing meme became that the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, was a "partisan hack." Yeah, a partisan hack who while in office has prosecuted 12 political cases—11 of which were Democrats. Then Erik Brown, who is quite smart, cited John Stuart Mill—again. Drink!
Catch Melting Point Sundays at 11 p.m. on KRLA-AM 870.