Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Truth is stranger than fiction and Ruth is stranger than Bridget

Opening the book of Zevon, and turning to the chapter, Excitable Boy, let us quote together from his homage to Norway's greatest son, and altogether now, "Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson Gun and bought it." Released in the middle of January 1978, thirty years and almost a month on, wherever in the cosmos Warren Zevon is, you know the results of Monday's night Westminster Kennel Club Show at NYC's Madison Square Garden would have made him smile. Hell, it made me break out in a little bit of doggerel (pun intended, William Randolph) in terms of 'How much is that Tania in the window? The girl with the beret and the gun. She joined with Field Marshall Cinque, cos she thought revolution was fun."

The SLA gets toasted to a crisp, literally, while the police, wary of stored ammo in their hideout watched it cook off and explode as the bodies burned. Poor Patty, confused and abused, is found guilty of participating in a bank robbery and might well still be some bad, bad woman's girlfriend in prison if Jimmy Carter, who buried John "Scooter" Herring (one lousy sentence?) because no one liked the idea of Greg Allman going to jail, hadn't stepped in. Thank heavens for compassionate Georgians. It didn't do Steven Weed any good, did it? I think we still owe Steve some time on the Andy Warhol Fifteen Minutes of Fame meter.

And with our inability to distinguish between notoriety and fame, we have a universe filled with stars who aren't. Patty's just the latest reminder that everything's backdated. On the night her French bulldog, Diva, was awarded a first place finish, over two dozen other owners and dogs received awards. Good luck finding out about them (okay, you don't need luck). Certainly none of them can hold a candle to, or near, our Tania. Welcome to The Revenge of Attention Deficit Disorder amazing is all of this? Where are the Snowdens of yesterday?

Here's a chance to make a statement and do something good for everyone, even those of us most dependent on celebrity news to fill up our empty lives. I'm impressed that, with all the effort to 'go green', nobody's thought about all the tabloids printed on pulp product, a renewable resource if but only we would, we could do rededicate to more worthwhile purposes if we but gave in secretly to our baser instincts.

The culture of self-aggrandizement in which we live, where it's not enough that I celebrate myself but NOW insist you celebrate me as well has given birth to a new breed of self-absorbed obliviot, the panda bear celebrity. A panda bear celebrity, as you can probably tell by the name, is famous for no special reason; they just are. Folks go to zoos and pay good money to stare through glass and bars at what looks like a large raccoon with a thyroid problem eating bamboo. Panda bears don't do anything and the celebrities named for them are the same.

How about this: We round up all the panda bear celebrities and jam them into a min-van (considering the number of folks who will end up in the van, a stretch mini-van, thus defeating the prefix 'mini', will be needed.) There's the usual suspects and low hanging fruit: Paris, Lindsay, Brit and the preggers sister and, what the heck, why not the parents of The Swamp Thangs. Speaking of parents, and I love the hotels, but Paris' folks have some 'splaining to do so they get window seats in the van.

Did someone nominate Brit's former husband? Just me, or now that they're divorced he doesn't seem to pop up in the Yellow Journals so often. I concede he has no more talent now than he did when he was blissfully wed, if ever that was, but I can sense you're not buying that argument so into the van he goes. However! However. However: if he goes into the van, than on the basis of one appearance in an infomercial I stumbled across a while back, so, too, does the woman he left for Britney, Shar Something-or-other, who has one or more of his children. She showed up identified as "celebrity" on some skin care product sales pitch I caught one insomniac evening. If she's a celebrity, I'm Ahab. Point me at the whale, and be of good hope, but still plan on hitting the Long John Silver drive thru.

Some will want to add Angeline and Brad and Tom and Katie and quite frankly, my eyes glaze over tying to read about them in what my wife calls 'the scandal magazines' at the register checkouts. No one wants to admit they read them, much less buy them. I will, because I do. I not only read them, I luxuriate in them-even if close to 60% of the people I'm reading about are unknown to me. My wife cringes when I slide one out at the dinner table because she knows I'll be pop-quizzing her for twenty minutes on the identities of the folks whose conduct is so intricately detailed within. Sorry, honey.

There are others who need to go into the min-van just because we can ill-afford to let them wander the planet. My most recent nominee is Noah Shachtman who blurted out on the Web a couple of days ago, how the Navy (ours, I'm assuming, though he doesn't actually say that, hmmm) has a plan to deploy man-made floods and droughts to disrupt the economy (just me, or are they experimenting in this neck of the woods instead of Over Yonder Somewhere?). More gunmen on the grassy knoll, another believer in the Elvis will be right back after a trip to the Burger King, JFK and Marilyn are secretly alive on a desert island (near Kate and Jack?) and, of course, the notion that you can, truly, get something for nothing.

Don't believe me? Take a good look at this mini-van, brother! Guess the monthly payment, c'mon! Leather seats, navigation, satellite radio, DVD player, chocolate fountain between the second and third row of seats, power how much would you pay? And, look!, it's so big, there's room for Patty and Diva! Thank goodness the dog had the brains to call shotgun. For obvious reasons, Patty wouldn't.....
-bill kenny

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