Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Love Arseholes

And that statement isn't me with my fingers stuck in the splendid jar of sarcasm, no, I do love arseholes, we all do - I call it the ‘Letterman Syndrome’. The syndrome is where, no matter how much of an arsehole or lunatic someone is, you excuse their short-comings because another element of what they do compensates for it. In this particular case, I'm focusing on those arseholes that our televisions, radios and cinemas expose us to - in a word: celebrities. Our whole lives, advancements in technology have allowed us to worship people that in reality we would probably want to make punches with, but in the realm of fame, we admire and support these...well, these pricks; it's a double-standard of society. So here's a list - and we all know how much Letterman loves his lists - of all the arseholes that I, personally, love:

Eminem: I think Eminem deserves first mention, because for a cheekily-crude-minded, wife-beating, hate-ridden, murder-obsessed, misogynistic rapper, Eminem is a hard guy to dislike. On one hand, Eminem is no doubt talented - he has the mindset and articulation needed to put a brilliant new-age rap song together as if it’s some sort of reflex, but on the hairier hand, he distastefully names names. Now, I’ve never been too phased when he begins to make cracks at Lindsay's drug problem or Michael Jackson (enough said), because let’s face it, one of the reasons we buy his albums is because he's a psycho person who calls other famous people crazy, and that is seemingly awesome. It's when he begins to take shots at honourable people who aren't total crackpots that my principles and my conscience begin to sustain some injury. In 2009, I eagerly found myself buying the long-awaited Relapse album fresh off the shelf. Even though I did like it, I found that some songs were basically a demonstration to us as people that, even after Christopher Reeve's death, Eminem would continue to take shots at his paraplegia. It was one thing to comment on the late actor's illness in his earlier records while he was still alive, but it's another to exploit the disability of someone who has passed. Another example, and probably the one that hurt the most, was listening to his latest CD, Recovery, released mid last year, which on two tracks he jokes about Michael J. Fox's illness. Not only do these little quips belittle both Reeve and Fox as people, the latter I consider to be talented, bravely-optimistic and quite honourable in comparison to the rapper, but it is also demeaning to anybody who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and paraplegia or the like. Who knows, The Michael J. Fox Foundation may well be the very people who discover a cure for the disease that has cut Fox's acting career short and if that does actually happen - which we cross our fingers for - Eminem will forever be known as the guy who blatantly went on record to make fun of the very man who made that cure possible.

Meanwhile, while Eminem is laughing at the severely disabled, I still buy his albums and listen to these songs. It's not just me either, the bulk of Eminem's records have all been well-received and have pulled in more than adequate sales, with over five and a half million copies of his last album alone being sold, and that’s in less than a year, and I’m willing to bet that majority of the people who have a copy have watched the Back to the Future films with profound emotion on some level regarding Fox's illness; I know I have. The whole of Eminem’s fan base, myself included, are the epitome of the Letterman Syndrome at play.

David Letterman: Late Show with Letterman has been a drug ever since I was old enough to stay up late and watch it. There are no surprises as to how he has survived two networks and almost thirty years on the air. From the drawn out stand up jokes at the beginning, Paul Schaeffer and his band, and the wit of David, all aided by big names, the show is a gem...but let’s face it, he’s a dickhead, perhaps an even a bigger one than Eminem (even he called David an arsehole). Why is he a dickhead? For two reasons: one, he has no regard for women and women's rights and two, he is a bonafied hypocrite. In 2009, Letterman came out on the air to say that he was being extorted for money. Letterman would go on to admit that this person, later found to be a CBS producer, was privy to affairs that Letterman had been having with multiple female interns on his show over the years.

lettermanraiseFirstly, people knew about the affairs. The extortionist was later found to be a CBS producer on a different show, so it’s clear that the affairs had become such a common occurrence that it became general knowledge, even breaking the gossip boundaries of his show. With that in mind, the question that needs to be asked is what sort of workplace politics was being set by Letterman in behaving this way. Let’s say you were a woman and you worked for Letterman knowing that he was taking a stroll down the female pay roll with his penis, wouldn't you feel like you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't let him take advantage of you? Wouldn't you just wonder if there will be a day where those that have been involved will begin to lead better advantaged careers than you? I'm sure the female members of his staff felt this way, and by setting the kinds of standards that raise those sorts of questions, women's rights have ended in that workplace. 

Secondly, Letterman really showed his hypocritical hand in all of this. When Letterman received the letter - attached to a screenplay about the affairs in the backseat of his car - I can imagine his head crashing to the steering wheel with the realisation in mind that everybody was just about to find out how much of a hypocrite he really is. Many times has Letterman humorously indulged in  the news of some politician being caught out having sex with someone in office. He would make snide remarks and make out like he was above it and meanwhile he was doing the exact same thing himself. So the next time some celebrity or politician's sexual indiscretion becomes water-cooler talk, he'll no longer be able to make wise-cracks on or off the air about them because now we all know that he's just as bad, perhaps worse.

Not only that, but he showed us what he really thought of women in general, which includes the ones in his staff, and more importantly, the one that is his wife. Let's not forget what kind of misogynistic role model he is being for his five year old son too. You see, we tend to ignore Letterman's insensitivity and sticky fingers for the almost always entertaining guests, both musical and otherwise. Fortunately enough though, for those of us who haven't succumbed to celebrity-inspired hypocrisy, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno are all examples of people who too have quality talk shows and are not major douche bags, so perhaps give them a whirl first...well, maybe not Leno, but the others.

Australian Football Players: I don’t follow football as much as I did when I was younger, but I still watch the major games on occasion so it’s worth the mention, because be it NRL or AFL (or maybe even Rugby, but not so much), this syndrome applies. Let’s not beat around the bush, our football players get one drop of alcohol in them and they turn into a pack of rapists. The thing with football in Australia is that the game doesn't require you to be intelligent, just muscular, and when you get a bunch of half-witted strong guys on national television every week, they get this complex that every woman wants their penis, and when they come across one that doesn’t (because, for most of them, why the hell would you?), the cogs that make their rational decisions for them begin to skip teeth, that exenterated by the loosened inhibitions and arousal that comes with being intoxicated.

With that said, though, sometimes I feel like football players are sometimes wrongly accused. A good example of this would be the Matthew Johns thing a few years back. For those that don’t remember, Matthew Johns spent years building a name for himself, especially in his post-football career. Unfortunately, in 2007, that name was somewhat tainted after he was accused of sexual assault in an encounter with the accuser, a nineteen year old, five years earlier. He denied it, of course, stating that the sex was one hundred percent consensual. Fortunately though, with the personality already well-constructed and his robust denial of the allegations, public-opinion remained in his favour.

The terrible truth about the Matty Johns accusation was that it was a story that we’d heard a million times before, especially when it comes to NRL players, which he was. It is always some impressionable young girl who stays silent for an extended period of time and then drops a bomb shell of noise about how she was raped by one or more players in some hotel room when they were playing away from home one night; the only thing that set Matty Johns apart from the rest was the fact that he’d spent years building a positive name for himself, which is the exact thing that helped many people believe Johns when he said that it wasn't rape. My point in that was that Australian football players are being accused of sexual indecencies all the time, and sometimes it’s another Matthew Johns thing, but sometimes…it isn’t, and they will get fired from one team, but then will get an offer from another, and people will cheer these players on again, as if to say that they’ve been absolved of a heinous crime that we will never be one hundred percent aware of the facts. That is why they don't lose their jobs as NRL players, because the football teams know what we're like when sticking to our values - it's the Letterman Syndrome.

Tom Cruise: 'Arsehole' maybe isn't the first word I would use to describe Tom Cruise; ‘nut job’ maybe; ‘loon’ perhaps. However, despite the clear struggle he has with not coming across as an idiot, with that ridiculous display on Oprah, having a child withtom-cruise-on-the-couch Katie Holmes (which is insane for all of its own reasons), and that ten minutes he spent on television talking about scientology while laughing at absolutely nothing (seriously, watch it – he starts laughing here), he's actually a fantastic actor and has a brilliant filmography under his belt. In essence, I'll still spend the fifteen dollars to see one of his movies, even though his crazy, albeit, subtle shenanigans sort of frighten me.

irwin271006_228x375South Park: I've never routinely watched South Park, but I appreciated its existence. The show  is just one of the many things in this world that I feel keep people tame and teases the shit out of them when they aren’t. Unfortunately, South Park had that episode that made fun of Steve Irwin’s death back in 2006 and that was it for me. It’s pretty much the Eminem thing all over again, just that the death that they were teasing only happened less than two months before the episode was aired and that there was no actual conceivable humour in it, not anything that would inspire laughter anyway, no matter who it was about. At least in Eminem’s songs, he teases people in a clever way, which is what often helps me excuse it. This South Park crack at Irwin’s death was in no way clever, just seemed to me like it was thrown in there at the last minute to cause a ruckus of pissed off people. I still appreciate the show and the underrated service it does to the world though, but the joke was made out of the poorest taste, and the same can be said for the taste left in my mouth after watching the episode. In other words, they're funny, but fuck them for doing that, I mean, that’s somebody’s husband and father…but people still watch it, regardless.

The list could really go on and on, I mean, there are a few bands out there who could be named, plenty of actors, hip hop artists too, of course. Those that have been mentioned are the ones that are evidently the result of my own Letterman hypocrisy. When it boils down to the indiscretions of our celebrities and sometimes even people we know personally, we've become modern day Pharisees, dumping our own convictions to support people whom have none of their own, it would be the same if you were Jewish but still supported Hitler because he was a good public speaker, doesn't make a real lot of sense now, does it? So, I really want to end my spiel with some crazy nonsense and the Mission Impossible theme, here’s Tom Cruise to help me out with that.

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