(Written at least 10 years ago!)
There’s this semi-glossy, lightweight little magazine inside every Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times called “The Los Angeles Times Magazine” (the name alone should give you an idea of the kind of tepid mediocrity which pervades every limp page of this truly awful periodical), which usually features a long, nauseating puff-piece on some dim-witted celebrity (always one who’s such a media whore that you feel as though they were somehow stalking you, so incapable you are of eluding their face, their voice, their products ad infinitum, ad nauseum). And this week is no different—so who is on the cover of this week‘s muted-pastel cover?
Perhaps the most insipid, common, vulgar and talent-free human being ever to wear a pair of relaxed-fit jeans: Rosie O’Donnell.
I was reading this article yesterday, and as I read it, I suddenly came across a line that made me so fucking angry that it was all I could do to keep myself from spitting on the Persian prayer rug lying demurely beneath my feet at the edge of the sofa. Let me insert the passage here for you:
“Rosie: It’s always weird to me when people say, “You go food shopping?” How do you think I get my food? But if you grew up having a normal life, I don’t know how you could switch in your 30’s to a spoiled, rich mentality.
LA Times: Is that why you moved back to New York, to get away from the Hollywood mentality?
Rosie: I couldn’t live here, because it’s a distorted reality. There aren’t that many real people out here. Even the valet who parks your car has a script he’s written. And on Christmas morning it doesn’t matter if you have an Academy Award, it matters that you have a family to love and share your life with.”
There is so much to be horrified by within just these few sentences, so much ammunition provided me to launch back at everyone involved in this small, small-minded piece, that it’s hard to know which grenade to pick up and lob in its general direction. I guess I will just begin at the beginning. First of all, when Ms. O’Donnell describes her shock and puzzlement in the face of being asked whether or not she goes “food shopping,” (!!) she thinks that we, the dumfounded readers are collectively going to say to ourselves, “Gee, what a trooper! What an incredibly stoic and bravely self-sufficient gal! What a real-person!! She not only eats regular people food but even goes to the regular supermarket to buy her groceries and stuff! You know, if you think about it, it’s almost as if she weren’t a multi-million dollar-salary talk-show host who also makes millions more endorsing Kmart and Scope—or maybe it’s Listerine... But anyway, wow! She’s not jaded and Hollywood like some of those other celebrities, who make their housekeeper or assistant do it for them, or even worse, has the store deliver it—not that Rosie, she’s like me!! Only without the food stamps and double-coupons, of course!”
Actually, what I suspect is that what’s really going on in the mind of your average, self-respecting and cogent reader is more like; “What? She does what? Goes food shopping!? No kidding! Big deal! So she goes to Whole Foods when she’s hungry and the kids need diapers! That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have someone chauffeuring her to and from the store, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have someone putting those groceries away once she gets home and pulling them out and throwing them into a pot when she decides she hungry. It has never occurred to me to tell people that I “do the food shopping” for my family, whenever I want to convince people of my unspoiled, not-that-rich lifestyle. I’ll be sure to remember it the next time I feel the need to remind all my friends of how I’m a real person, because, it’s such an ironclad argument! Actually, what I really want to know is Rosie, where on earth did you dig up these freaks who are impressed by the UNimpressive feat that is “food shopping”? A task performed weekly (or even daily by a few mind-bogglingly dedicated foodies) by your common/garden-variety-American-adult consumer? And who is this alleged “journalist” to conduct such a cloying, smarmy and above all superficial interview? I’ve not seen toadying like this since the Seinfeld interview in Vanity Fair—and that journalist got fired for that piece! I wonder how “The Los Angeles Times Magazine’s” editors will chastise this “reporter?” (And I use that term very lightly.) Probably with a nice little raise and the key to the corporate washroom.
But, actually, it’s the next paragraph which was really, for me, the most offensive and disgusting display of self-absorption, conceit, narcissism and of Rosie O’Donnell’s grossly “distorted reality”—to use her own words. Here, she bemoans the alleged deficit of “real people” in Hollywood, using an example of what is, evidently, in her mind a make-believe person, “the valet who parks your car [who] has a script he’s written.” Now I wonder, is it the ill-fitting polyester suit, the lowly status of the young man’s occupation, or the fact that he has written a script which somehow relegates him to the realm of the “unreal?” And what the hell does that mean? Is the guy a freakin’ hologram? And really, it should seem, according to her standards of being “real” and ‘down-to-earth,’ that guy, having not only shopped for his groceries his very own self, but also having parked his car when he arrived should be high on her short list of people to admire and applaud for being so un-”Hollywood” and unspoiled. It seems rather obvious that what is really bothering her about that “valet guy” and his barefaced ambition is the fact that she is very much threatened by anyone who aspires to rise above the lowly menial labor-type-job they find themselves in, someone who would also like to be paid millions of dollars to sit on a couch in front of a camera who can chat perfunctorily and flatteringly without seeming too much the sycophant (or the lesbian) to Barbara Streisand, the Taco Bell Chihuahua and even Whoopi Goldberg.
(Rosie—You know what I think? I think that perhaps you do see yourself in them, and you worry that they see themselves in you and that they realize that you aren’t all that special. You fear that they will actually figure out that all you are is merely absurdly, unbelievably lucky—and they might be gamblers themselves. But most of all, Rosie, you hate them for being there, because you know that’s all it will take for them to eclipse you one day—the will and the warm body, and perhaps not even the will. Because you are no great talent, you do not possess a keen insight or rapier wit; you do not even possess a point of view which is particularly unique and which could not easily be reproduced or even replaced. You are not one in a million—you are that million and they are you—and indeed, that is your gift, but I would not be distancing myself from the lowly valet guy with the script because he might be the next Kevin Smith or PT Anderson.)
Of course, the irony of the fact that she exposes her tenuous (at best) grasp on reality while accusing some poor peon parking her car to be removed from it might be hilarious if it weren’t so repulsive and so morally offensive. What it really is, however, is typical. It’s just so goddamn typical for the current media-flavor-of-the-month to whine pitifully about all of these “fringe-dwellers” who seem hell-bent on insinuating their make-believe, mundane lives into these celebrities' “real lives.” Of course, they rarely acknowledge the fact that they, too, once dwelled there, without self-reproach or any real clue as to what was in store for them. Indeed, and now that they have arrived into the realm of their fantasies—they are not troubled by their lapses in memory—too busy they are, basking in their 15 minutes of fame that feels, for them, like an eternity. But I know better; and so should the LA Times Magazine.