1 I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm Going to Grab a Few Beers. The story might be in its embers stage, yet we remain intrigued by rogue jetBlue airline steward Steven Slater, who went Johnny Paycheck last Monday by cursing an infuriating-to-him passenger over the intercom, grabbing a couple of Blue Moon beers and escaping the plane via its emergency slide. He became an instant folk hero, and, almost as quickly, the subject of cynical derision. Most recently, he is believed to have staged the entire event - à la Balloon Boy - in order to garner a reality TV show. The evidence is beginning to look persuasive, and this is pleasing news. While one must salute the bravura escape so many of us long for (this is why the windows don't open where I work), one must also remember Slater is a flight attendant - the most rude and hostile creature on earth. One is certain their job interviews involve them snapping crisply and loudly, "One micro-bag of pretzels only!" and indicating a pathological desire to inflict human misery by slowly wheeling obstructions down tiny aisles and making snotty observations about the proper stowing of hand luggage. When the McNuggets meltdown lady - who attacked a drive-through clerk, then the window itself, when denied her disgusting breakfast, came along last Tuesday and blasted Slater to the B-list, I was thrilled. And the piggish ape-woman had no agenda! Just an appetite and some mental problems - that is what we mean when we think of reality TV.
2. Bieber Virus Also making the rounds is a video of superstar Justin Bieber being hit in the head with a huge water bottle while taking a break, in concert, to spread some love among his fans - the young girls and pedophiles, that is. It looks painful on the video. "Ow," says the 16-year-old superstar to the deranged woman who chucked it. "That didn't feel good." In addition, reality TV actress Tila Tequila was pelted with objects thrown onstage this week at an Illinois concert as well (photographs of her bloodied face are currently appearing on TMZ). It seems logical that the crabbed, miserable types, those posters who have turned the Internet into a platform for their self-pity and rage, are now acting out in public, as they remain protected in a crowd. On Facebook, the Bieber video was posted over and over to the great amusement of many. Pay attention! Bieber is a kid. It is never funny when someone is physically assaulted. I do not care if life has treated you like a chew-toy; if you think that should be you up there. We all need to take note, because one of these weasels will go rogue one day, with a gun, and no one except his or her cellar-dweller friends, will be safe.
3. Time for a New Phrase "Jumped the shark" has been a serviceable term to note the exact episode when television shows have begun their inevitable decline. As the Glee producers leaked news of possible guests for next season - including the ridiculous Susan Boyle (we are ashamed we cried!) - I weakly considered new alternatives for that stomach-turning moment when you know a show is deeply disgusting, depressing even, yet you seem to be alone in this. My stomach caterwauled precisely as the Glee teacher sang Ice Ice Baby, a song I have always valued for its hot horribleness ("Flow like a harpoon, daily and nightly"). His repulsive enthusiasm for making a bad song cool, his barbershop-quartet vocals and Osmond Brothers moves - this is very disquieting stuff, grossly complemented by the nauseous feel-good club itself doing wheelchair aerobics behind him. (Okay, I am conflating two episodes, but that hardly matters.) Similarly, in the middle of the Hell's Kitchen finale, while watching Gordon Ramsay sweat desperation over his financial troubles, I watched him, yet again, hop up and down and yell "Ooooo! Come onnnnn! Where's the John Dory!" at his ugly, boozy contestants. Sighing, I reached for the Maalox.
4. It's Like Robbing a Bank After Calling a Press Conference. "BUSTED!" reads a recent People magazine exposé that published a sneak shot of a strikingly lantern-jawed Robert Pattison, apparently "canoodling" with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in Montreal on the set of her new film, On The Road. How anyone can even say "vampire" any more is beyond me: This franchise is now strictly for the kind of person who owns and wears Vulcan ears. And isn't it obvious to the girls who love Twilight that Pattison is, oh let's say, not interested in the slit-lipped, snarky plain Jane?
5. Hard Times The September issue of Vanity Fair, which is otherwise a thinly veiled attempt to restore U.S. President Barack Obama's reputation and to praise Lady Gaga at Madonna's expense, contains a very funny, very sad little piece by Christopher Hitchens, who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer as his memoir, Hitch 22, hit the bestseller charts. How humbled the great provocateur seems; how frail, yet dauntless. In the end, he quietly hopes to be "spared." I share his hope and cannot imagine the world without him, hitting our most sacred ideals and icons; hitting them straight out of the park.