Thursday, March 18, 2010


Although I am the Designated Knower of all things pop-cultural in the Fire Direction Center, I do try and avoid the seamier and sleazier aspects of our celebritized and overexposed culture. This is not easy, since it seems that the entire point of the "news" media is to inform the innocent bystander of every conceivable detail of the doings social, emotional and venereal, of the Rich and the Famous.

And, although I truly enjoy the movies, I usually don't feel any kinship with or prurient interest in the lives of the pretty people who act in them. For all that the glossy magazines try to convince me that I really know these people they are truly strangers; what I "know" of them is largely the fictions that they, their publicists, the tabloid press and their more obsessive followers create for the rest of us groundlings. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the Cult of Celebrity is this faux intimacy with people we do not and never really will know anything about.

That said, I do come across various bits of "celebrity gossip" in my peregrinations through the newswires, and I ran across this nasty bit of work today on; "Jesse James Apologizes To Sandra Bullock, Hopes For Forgiveness".

It caught my eye for two reasons; one, that a notorious 19th century outlaw thought to have been shot dead by that "rotten little coward" Robert Ford in 1882 was sorry for anything other than not being dead and, two, that Sandy Bullock was involved somehow.

As much as I can be said to be "interested" in celebrities, Bullock is one of the few who interests me. She seems - for that is all I can judge her by, her public persona - to be a vivacious, emotionally alert, quick and animated person. She is, of course, physically attractive, that being a requirement for her employment. She has made some enjoyable films but for the most part she's gone from playing in one awful dog to another. She's been in some truly terrible movies and done poorly playing in them, and that's not even counting "Speed 2: Floaty Boaty" or whatever the hell they called the stinker.

And now the poor woman is tied to the public pillory of "betrayed wife".

I had some notion that she had formed an alliance with some sort of tattooed lad, one of these (to me) inexplicably inescapable "bad boy" type guys, who turns out to be the not-dead, not-outlaw Mr. James. Said bad boy is being accused of doing what bad boys often do, namely sinking passing tuna boats with his little pink torpedo.

At which point, the unmarried-to-Sandra-Bullock male just has to ask:

"Dude! Are you fucking NUTS!? Are you smoking crack? Are you taking the spike straight in the jugular vein?"

You're married to this woman who is so physically beautiful that she makes her living being physically beautiful. She is capable of being so lovable and charming that she has charmed and become beloved of millions of other poor schlobs, many of them more attractive and wealthier than you. You are legally entitled, indeed, both legally and socially enjoined, to enjoy physical and emotional intimacy with this beautiful, vivacious, charming woman.

The fuck..?

Which serves to point up several home truths about people in general, men in particular and "Jesse James" as an individual.

1. We know less than we ever thought we did or think we do about anyone.

If a homely schlub like James can throw away any hopes of remaining intimate with a woman that - at least from the outside - seems as ideal as Bullock, then there is no hope for understanding what brings and holds men and women together.

Or, possibly, it is a judgment (again) on celebrities and the place they hold in our culture. Because the only reason I can see doing this other than pure stupid horniness is if Sandra Bullock is a really wretched person emotionally; violent, angry, dismissive, ignorant, boring, unstable...whose initial attraction was her looks and the fake intimacy that this guy James thought he had with her. And, on closer acquaintance, who turned out to be quite another, much nastier, less lovable person.

Is the story true? Is it made up by an attention-seeking woman who doesn't care who she hurts in her quest for fame?

Who knows? I certainly don't. But the thing is...neither do you or the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker...and yet "Entertainment Tonight" tells you all that you do.

So what looks obvious - tattooed lad cheats on adorable wife with tattooed skank-ho - may be anything but.

2. If this idiot did manage to poke a hole in his marriage with his johnson he won't be the last, and he wasn't the first, to throw away something worthwhile - assuming it was, and if not, why marry the woman when the old prohibitions against intimacy have fallen? You want sex, you want to "be with" Sandra Bullock, gorgeous movie star? Why not? But why promise her your truth, and your singularity, and then follow your ignorant tumescence into a cheap and nasty affair with some drive-by harlot?

(Or, hell, a scented sorority sister, for that matter? Our girl "Bombshell" makes things looks nastier than they are by looking like a skank. But, really, does it and should it matter who was playing hide-the-chopper with ol' Jess? The point here isn't about the sex - it's about making a promise and then breaking it with malice aforethought. You're not getting done for adultery, James, but for being a lying, cheating skeeve.

You want to screw around? Fine - go to the old lady, 'fess up, let her enjoy kicking your ass out and following it with all your stuff before you go looking for trim.)

It's because - and I know I've said this here before; we are goddam idiots where sex is concerned. And I think it has a LOT to do with the whole way we wrap sex up in secrets, hide it and make it undiscussable and untouchable, instead of a part of what we want and, especially, hopefully, what we want to do with someone we carfe about.

I think if we were a little less goofy about it we might have less trouble with it.

Or maybe not - powerful thing, lust. One of the Seven Deadly Sins, y'know. Who knows what happened in the James/Bullock house that brought these two people here.

And - beyond the sadness that we are invited in to peep at their unhappiness - what's sad is that, regardless of what happened, one of the two, the one with the busy little penis, may have responded by going out and thrashing the mattress with a woman whose idea of post-coital melancholy is to go flog the story of their illicit friction to the nearest tabloid half a year after is supposedly ended? Who claims to be too dumb to know her supposed lover is still married?

Only the couple and the other woman - if that is what she is - know the truth, and all of them may not know all the truth. But the way things seem, either Bombshell is a galactic-class liar, Sandra must have been a pretty unlikeable - or even un-lust-able - person, or ol' Jesse James is perhaps the dumbest goddam not-dead, not-outlaw to ever drew breath.

And I feel dirty just knowing it.


Maia said...

Know people who know Bullock - and the word is she is awesome - as nice and smart and cool as she seems in her public persona. So, I guess he just sucks. Super bummer, too because she has reportedly been a great step-parent to his kids, as well.

What a guy won't do to have sex with with a woman with face tattoos....

Big Daddy said...

Having come across Jesse James (this incarnation) in his persona of celebrity chopper builder I have to say I'm not surprised he was cheating on his wife, IIRC he did it to the previous wife as well.
Actually my first reaction was why on earth would a someone as accomplished as Sandra Bullock want to date a self absorbed pseudo-badass like Jesse James, much less marry the schmuck.
Back when we watched cable my wife used to complain every time he came on and started talking, while the Teutels would simply simply earn a string of family therapy treatment plans. I don't even find his motorcycles that interesting, or well built, but that may be the cafe racer in me.

FDChief said...

Maia: Oddly, while it makes it worse for her, I am slightly pleased to hear that the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs.-James is a decent person. Vanity, perhaps, on my part, for liking her public persona and feeling perceptive that she really IS a likable woman.

Maia and BD: Sounds like it's door #3 for the James/Bullock marriage. Sad. Sad for her, that she made the mistake of trying to make a marriage work with a selfish hound, sad for his kids, that their father's selfishness is losing them a woman who might have been a good stepmother. And a curse and a hissing on James, who, if he were any sort of decent man, would give up everything and seek solitude to reflect on his own greed and stupidity and selfishness. I will be astounded if he does anything like that, since he has already shown that he thinks with a four-ounce cylinder of meat.


Leon said...

I've also heard 3rd-hand comments that Sandra's a very nice person. Well you marry a bad boy, you get a bad boy.

Lisa said...

From the opposite side: I've never thought Bullock pretty, nor have I read anything that sets her apart intellectually or behaviorally. (Not that any of us know any of these people, anyway.)

But looking at the surface, how excellent can she be marrying a guy like that? She is a tomboyish, simple person, from what I've read. She married a mediocre man, perhaps her equal.

Mediocre people behave in a mediocre fashion. Perhaps he beat her to it (infidelity). Who knows. The bottom line is, people are animals, and thinking otherwise is delusional. Marriage is certainly not a cure to this sorry fact.

The only prevention of such misery is for one to do the very hard work of transcending one's hormones and actually learning empathy, so that hurting another causes you the same pain. That would eradicate such "urgent" situations.

I have to ruefully laugh when 60+ year-old-men behave as though they fell prey to their penis -- as though they were 19-year-old studs with raging hormones. In fact, most average people seem happy to succumb to opportunity. And the sad, miserable lowly state of the human continues ...

FDChief said...

Lisa: The inescapability of our animal part is why I don't tend to be critical of the fact of the venereal misbehavior. Our reproductive bits are no brighter than they were when we were foraging for grub on the Serengeti Plain.

The difference is - or should be - that somewhere between birth and senesence we're supposed to develop some sense of personal responsibility and empathy for others that will help us talk back to our tumescent parts when they try and convince us to do something hurtful and dishonorable to someone who cares about us. IT appears that this critical stage of development has missed Mr. James. Not surprising, perhaps, but disappointing all the same.

And as for La Bullock...perhaps it's a guy thing. We - I, anyway - tend to be suckers for the "girlishly charming" style of femininity. And I personally am a fool for the dark, gawky geek-girl appeal she used to project back in her "Love Potion #9" days.

But you've very right in that her choice of domestic partners IS a blighting and very acid comment on her wisdom and personal choice.

Lisa said...

Men may think about sex all time because they've been offered a limited set of behaviors in which to indulge. They don't reach past the meaning of their own drives and become stunted through the limits of their programming.

Men (and women) are conditioned to continuously think about upgrading, therefore they never have enough (though some people have surpassed this programming with wisdom and maturity.)

How can the insatiable please those who know what brings them satisfaction? If we can learn to untangle the mystery of who we are and share openly with each other, an end may come to second guessing ourselves, hurting and not trusting each other and demonizing one another.

Maybe we can stop asking the question, "What am I doing wrong?", and simply ask ourselves "What am I doing?"

FDChief said...

"How can the insatiable please those who know what brings them satisfaction?"

I'm guessing you meant "...who DON'T know what brings them satisfaction?" and on that I agree. I think a lot of what makes for nonsense like this that the guy - and it IS usually a guy - who's just thinking about getting some on the sly. He's not thinking about what is good for him overall, what truly makes him happy or satisfied. He has an itch to scratch - he wants to bag that "other woman", and he is completely idiotic about everything else.

I think it's about the desire for "different". A lot of us men have it. It can be hard to resist, unless you're fairly smart and self-controlled, and Mr. James seems to be neither.

"If we can learn to untangle the mystery of who we are and share openly with each other, an end may come to second guessing ourselves, hurting and not trusting each other and demonizing one another."

Demonizing, I do hope, but hurting? People being people I think we will continue to err, confound, disappoint and hurt those we love all the time. That's where the honest apology and contrition come in.

But this is different than not remembering her birthday. This shows a REAL lack of trust, honesty and respect. Admittedly, as you pointed out, she set herself up for it by choosing such an obviously immature fool. But even a fool should know the limits of his fooling.

Makes you wish that she had a protective big brother who could really boot Jesse in the pod. Might do him a world of good.

Lisa said...


Actually, I did mean it the way written; in other words, how can one with an insatiable appetite (usually the man) please one who knows what she wants? He can never be faithful.

However, your reinterpretation also holds, for I think many people (men and woman) do NOT know what would make them happy. Usually, it is some vague conception of superabundance -- more and newer of everything.
I think the writer Henning Mankell said, a society that has forgotten how to darn its socks is lost. So we just replace everything that is the least bit irritating.

Why the quest for "different"? Why can't one person contain enough that, combined with your own inquisitiveness, she may remain a perpetual font of interest? I mean, not that one person can just sit there and be perpetually entertaining, but that two people can figure out a way to coexist that remains scrupulously honest yet also pleasing?

It seems humans are such sneaky animals -- we are like the loathsome ferret (IMHO). "Trust, honesty and respect" -- if one does not feel compelled to give those things, why on earth enter into a "committed" relationship?

A fool and a child will always push the boundaries. Thrill-seekers will never have enough of the adrenaline rush.

Ah, I wish i would've had such a protective big brother on occasion. Would have done me (and him) a world of good! We non- Nancy Liebermann-like women can't quite teach men the lessons that a good big brother might.

FDChief said...

Lisa: Right after I posted my comment I re-read your sentence an realized what you had meant. You're right the union of the unformed with the self-aware is usually pretty doomed.

Sadly, the quest for "different" is a sort of byproduct of human nature, I think. Imagine that you loved, say, cherries. So you ate cherries for dessert every day. I imagine you'd get pretty tired of cherries after a while, no? So you'd probably try fixing your cherries in different ways, eating at different times, experimenting with different flavors and combinations, no?

But cherries are cherries, and you can only try so many recipes before you start getting into stuff like cherry salsa and other variants both dangerous and unrewarding.

So pretty so you start wondering how the fruit from the orange tree in the neighbor's yard would taste...

To drop the metaphor, for a lot of us guys there's a real enjoyment in the new and different. We wonder how the girl at the coffee shop would feel under our hands, what sounds the woman we bumped into on the bus would make as she approached orgasm...not because we love or care about them, but just because we're men and they are women we don't know in the biblical sense...

I think the real solution is the honesty and love that makes us want to keep our intimacy - emotional, intellectual, physical - from becoming a stale repetition of the same-old, same-old - cherries for dessert every night.

So he reads her favorite book so they can discuss it, and she tries dodgeball. He takes up biathlon and she tries the music of Ellis Marsalis. He surprises her with a foot massage and dinner and makes love to her in the hammock out back, she gets them tickets to the show and flirts and teases him all night.

The secret, I think, is to push the boundaries - or perhaps just rearrange the furniture occasionally - with the person you love in order to keep the love fresh and interesting. The unimaginative fools like James are the ones who push OUTSIDE the boundaries and find someone else to sate their desire for the new and different.

Lisa said...

I agree -- one must work at relationship as one would endeavor at anything they enjoyed, be it piemaking, drawing, whatever. To sit back and say, "My, I am bored now" is pretty heartless and unimaginative.

To my mind, "different" is what you get with someone (even slightly interesting) everyday, anyway. I mean, I am not the same person I was yesterday, and neither are you. If we share those small discoveries, we grow together (and, apart). We are enriched, and hopefully delighted. That requires a level of care and interest.

Is that "pushing the boundaries"? I hope not. I would hope that desire for discovery is always there.

As per the noises and feels of different bodies, well, there's only so much variety (within parameters), and if variety is what is after, sow your wild oats honestly. But if one has properly vetted one's choice (provided the choice did not dissemble), then honor that person with "honesty and love", as you say.

It is simply a decision, once one moves with conviction, and provided one is properly inspired.

The keys are trust and communication, without which nothing is possible.

sheerahkahn said...

I'm a guy.
And I agree...ho-humm celebrity.
I have had my run ins with them.

Princes Andrew's ex...the red disney land...great, everyone is excited, me, come on...really, all this noise to watch a princess ride a lame ass ride with her kid?
Seriously, there are princesses all over America doing the same, and it's still uninteresting.
Joe Montana...nice guy, on his way to catch a flight, I recognized him, nodded an acknowledgement of "hey" and moved on...he apparently, was expecting more.

Sorry bud, you are another human being to me, thats it.

There are many others, and my response to all of them has been the same, "hi, nice seeing you, and yes I'm nodding acknowledgement of your popularity, but thats all you are going to get out of me."

I'm not a groupie.

But I am a man.

Sandra Bullock is beautiful, and from what I've heard talk about, she is not deep, not brilliant, she's average.
Welcome to averageness...and thats okay.
I like average. I'm average, my wife is average, there is nothing wrong with being average.
It's okay to be average.

Whats not okay is saying, "You, I want to be joined to you for the rest of my life" and then going around screwing anything that will spread it's legs for you.
Sorry, marriage has the exclusivity clasue to it...or use too, I'm not sure anymore.

But what's even more telling is that the psycho painting was not the first one he was ploughing the field with...apparently, he's a dickhead of epic proportions...which brings me to Chief's eloquent and succint...'the fuck?'
because really, when a guy is a dog, he's going to act like a dog, and I think Ms. Bullock's only fault in this was that she wasn't more discerning in her companionship executions.

Lisa said...


Really, it is simple, provided one has learned the art of discernment, and learned to toss aside cognitive dissonance.

It was taught to me by a 7-year-old whilst watching a Star Trek movie. He asked me to choose my favorite character from amongst his pile of Trekkie toys as we watched. I apparently chose a wicked monster, though he looked cute enough. He said he was a "monster", but as I recall he was pink and furry.

When he told me the bad things he did, I feigned horror: "Oh, well then -- I don't like him anymore!"

He looked me in the eye: "I told you he was a monster, and that's what monster's do. You can't not like him for being what he is."


FDChief said...

Lisa: Say, rather, you can't hate him for being a monster and doing what monsters do.

You may not like fact, you may have to terminate his life with extreme prejudice. But you can understand why he does what he does.

I have trouble with people who seem to think that there is some sort of need to get outraged and self-righteous about stuff like this. The man is a lying, untrustworthy idiot, so far as we can tell. This is a problem for his wife and kids. It's really none of my business, other than I would choose not to do business with the man if the opportunity came my way.

Otherwise? "Look at them and pass by." is the operative expression...

Lisa said...

I stand corrected on the dislike vs. hate :)

As you say, this is simply another sordid tale of theatrics and voyeurism. We should tend our own gardens.

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death