Monday, September 28, 2009

This Is It (This Is It)

Can we talk about MacKenzie Phillips for a second?

Remember when you thought the last you'd see of MacKenzie Phillips was on a One Day At A Time reunion special.  You know... some trumped up hour-long special airing during sweeps week about Anne Romano getting Alzheimer's and Julie and Barbara coming back to Indianapolis to encourage her to fight, to dig deep and find the feistiness she showed as a divorce in the late 70s.  Or some group grope with Barbara Walters where you know all the questions will be about Valerie Bertinelli's weight loss and work with Jenny Craig, and her marriage to Eddie Van Halen, and her Lifetime TV movies.  And MacKenzie Phillips gets - like - 4 minutes to talk about all the crazy drugs she did and how she rehabilitated herself doing children's television. And Bonnie Franklin gets exactly 45 seconds so you can see she still has a full head of red hair cut in that same bowl shape that Brian Bonsall had on Family Ties, and which makes her look like a Shriner clown.

But, Noooooo - first, Miss MacKenzie had to blow that whole recovery narrative by getting caught with a bunch of coke in the Los Angeles Airport.

We need to pause here.

What kind of experienced addict brings drugs to a f***ing airport? *&#$@!

Anyone with an IQ above 14 knows that there are only three places you do drugs: your house, a friend's house, and a New York City restaurant bathroom (why do you think half of them have shelves in the stalls?)  There are also several places you do not do drugs and you do not bring drugs.  The only place that ranks higher on this list than an airport is a police station.

Airports are pretty much designed to find your drugs - especially international airports with lots of traffic to Mexico, Central America and South America, like JFK, Miami International and LAX.  The lesson here - generally - is: Don't Do Drugs; but since most people won't follow this advice, let's try: Don't Bring Drugs to an AIRPORT.

Is there something that happens to famous people where their presence in the spotlight - or the absence of that presence as their star fades - makes them irredeemably stupid?

Remember Lindsay Lohan?  She was a precocious child actress who grew into an extremely talented young adult actress, who grew into a bottle-blond possibly anorectic coke addict who wasn't a lesbian but had a girlfriend.  Well somewhere along the trajectory from "actress" to "bold-faced name" to "train wreck" to "punchline," Lindsay got arrested a couple of times and went back and forth to rehab like is was a weekend home.

But here's what I don't get.  After the second or third trip, she was supposed to be recovering nicely.  And you'd think, if you're Lindsay Lohan, and you actually are still blowing coke up your nose, you might want to do it at home in the company of close friends and an absence of cell phone cameras, instead of in an SUV while you chase a photographer halfway across L.A.

New rule: you lose the right to complain about harassment from the paparazzi when you get high and involve them in a high-speed chase across town.

But celebrities can be a little unstable, so it should have come as no surprise, last week, when MacKenzie Phillips announced she committed consensual incest with her father.

The English language is currently absent two adjectives, one for how gross this is, and another for how inappropriate it is to inform the general public.

Let me be clear - MacKenzie Phillips, while a talented enough actress of light comedy and perhaps a little vocal work, is not Proust.  She isn't even Penny Marshall.  Her impact on our culture is somewhere between Tina Brown and Tina Yothers.  While I can understand how speaking out about drugs would have made a good cautionary tale (had she stayed sober and NOT BROUGHT DRUGS TO AN AIRPORT, transforming it to a cautionary tale about stupidity.) I can't understand why the world needs to know about this latest revelation.

It's a cruel irony folks...supporting actress from long-dead sitcom attempts to take on serious issues; meanwhile, Tom DeLay - a leading player in a right-wing propaganda machine that destroyed the economy, extended individual rights to corporations while diluting individual constitutional privacy rights, and may have committed a series of felonies which are now being prosecuted - gets to redeem himself on network television while wearing sparkly spandex.

Why - in the canon of public redemption - do the serious have to get silly and the silly have to get serious (and confessional and, often, inappropriate?)

It's kind of amazing, folks.  We lived through nearly seven years of an expanding economy that generated little to no wage growth for 95% of our populace.  For many of us, rising home prices and health care costs resulted in a net loss and - for the first time ever - the middle class lost ground during a period of economic expansion.  And their was relatively little anger and relatively little outcry as corporations and their executives made fortunes at our expense.  Then, when the entire unsustainable system came crashing down, there was anger and frustration, but no real outrage or action.

I'm not talking about tea parties and ill-informed protests; I'm talking about taking our collective purchasing power and our collective productivity and refusing to invest it in a system that isn't returning the spoils of our labor.  It isn't communism, it's insisting that the benefits of wealth expansion be used to provide the fundamentals of a free society - affordable health care, quality family and child services, outcome- and merit-based education that enables our kids to compete in today's society.

I was inspired this morning when I saw a woman on the morning news who had posted a YouTube video condemning Bank of America for raising her credit card interest rate to 30% APR.  Her video went viral and her rate was reduced to a more reasonable - and market-competitive - 12.99% APR.  We need more of this...or are we all just sitting around watching Dancing with the Stars?

Remember: this is life, the one you get...this is it.


DO THIS, New York:

Stand up for what's right.  We still live in a democracy.

DON'T DO THIS, New York:

Please don't vote for Tom DeLay on Dancing with the Stars.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, man, you got me again. This might be my favorite post. By the time I got to Brian Bonsall, I was snorting. You ARE my Pop Culture Maven. I mean it.

    Second of all, you're so right. I think MP and Lindsay should take a little tip from Seth & Amy ... www DOT hulu DOT com/watch/1794/saturday-night-live-weekend-update-michael-vick-really

    Thirdly (and finally), I found your first typo. Now, I'm somewhat anal about this (although you wouldn't know it from my blog, of course) so I've been particularly impressed that I have never seen a single grammar or spelling error in any of your posts ... until now. So let's see ... will he change it? My vote is yeah, because if he has half the OCD I have, he won't be able to sleep until "to the serious" is changed to "do the serious." :)

    Love you man!!