McHotties, Bad Guys, and You

McDonald’s fast food restaurants are known for a lot of things.  What they are recognized and rewarded for above all others is the perfection of churning out predictable products that do not vary in any manner from one location to another.  Their fries in Chicago taste exactly like their fries in Bangkok.  They also contribute to obesity and high blood pressure at the same rate in either place.  

You know who in the slammer.

 People are, sadly, becoming more and more like products to be replicated and reliably sold to a public that just wants a fix and has zero concern for the effect of consuming too much of one thing.  Celebs have always been a certain way, and Hollywood culture – of course – relies on our love of beautiful train wrecks to keep the money-maker shakin’.  It does seem, however, that the chalk outlines of these wrecks are starting to look more and more like each other.  Our national diet of celebrity obsession is unlikely to change radically, but we are slouching towards an entirely undiversified diet of cookie-cutter yuck that seems especially unhealthy.  

If you’re female, it’s most helpful if you would please be under 25 years old, strung out on alcohol and drugs, and have a revolving bedroom door.  Plastic surgery or its rumor is also required, and public fights are helpful.  The male version of our pablum diet has only one necessary component.  Masquerade for a period of time as a nice person, and then rip off the disguise and laugh in our faces as you reveal the extensive list of women you have managed to juggle behind your family’s back for an uncomfortably long time.  If juggling isn’t a skill, just assault a woman you meet in a bar or hotel and call it a date. 

This is a fairly homogeneous diet of garbage.  It is also, like the french fries, apparently all but irresistible and the more we consume the more we want.  You want it, you got it say the handlers.  I need a Riviera vacation anyway.  

Let’s be clear, shall we?  None of this is an accident any more.  None of it.  As a culture we are a driving force on the demand side for an undiversified personality pathology crisis.  We really need to start eating something else, or we may all be the next — significantly less beautiful — train wrecks. 

I’m suddenly craving a raw vegetable.

The Science Fiction of Being Marilyn

Many thanks to Chuck Hamsher for posting a reminder of the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe‘s passing on August 5, 1962.  She was a mere 36 years old when she died at her home in Los Angeles, her death ruled a probable suicide by consuming an overdose of sleeping pills.

Norma Jeane Baker

Several people commented on what made this woman so remarkable, and a common reference was to her “vulnerability.”  I’ve heard that word and variations of it used to describe Norma Jeane Baker my whole life, and not once — not once — has it rung true for me.

“Vulnerable” is a very popular and widely accepted way to label NJB.  And I will disclaim here that I know there is every possibility and probability that I just don’t get it; but I also don’t see it.  What I’ve always seen is a woman who, for whatever God-foresaken reason, became a sponge for what the rest of the world needed her to be.  She may be the most perfect reflection of a global codependent love story there ever was. 

NJB was in reality what in most human experience only exists in fantasy and story telling.  She was very much like a character from an old Star Trek episode called “The Perfect Mate.”  This character, Kamala, is described thus:

She is an empathic metamorph, a woman genetically-predisposed to suit the desires of any man she is with. She has the ability to sense what a potential mate wants, what he needs, what gives him the greatest pleasure and then to become that for him until she reaches the final stage of bonding, where she must imprint upon herself the requirements of one man, to serve as his perfect partner in life.

NJB was incredibly good at this, and that is why I think I’ve never seen her as truly vulnerable.  She impresses me as a woman who had an amazing talent in her relationships with other people, especially men, that allowed her intimate access to the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller — and my friends, that is serious range.

It is all unknowable now.  But I wonder if this lovely person did in fact connect with another individual above all others, knowing that in order to carry on her life she would need to suppress that connection and continue to meet the needs and dreams of many more in order to sustain her career.  That’s a story I can buy, and in the end would make her in fact vulnerable to only one person.

Herself.

Indian Summer

I woke up early this morning to realize today is the first day of summer. It was an interesting moment after watching The Future is Unwritten, a documentary film on the life of Joe Strummer.

Strummer was the stage name of John Graham Mellor, and most know him as the co-founder and lead singer of the punk rock band The Clash

Stick with me here…..

So I’m reading about Strummer on the Internet, and one particular article ends with his quote not long before his death at age 50:  “This is my Indian summer….I learnt that fame is an illusion and everything about it is just a joke.  I’m far more dangerous now, because I don’t care at all.”

It’s too easy based on stereotypes of punk rock to read this as he no longer cared about anything.  From what I saw in the film, at the end of his life Joe Strummer cared about a great many things, but had figured out how to honor those things completely and “not care  at all” about fame.  In fact he seemed to have spent many sequential years struggling to regain himself from the soul-grinding fame machine, not surprisingly after The Clash “made it” in the United States.

Note to self: If you simply must hit the big time, try to do it in France.

I had no idea Strummer was such a comprehensive human being.  I’ll be thinking a lot today about “not caring at all” about the wrong things.