Regular readers will know that every two weeks I write a media column titled Mick’s Media for the tabloid LA CityBeat, and every two weeks I post a link so all you folks from Birmingham to Bangalore can also read it. But no longer it would seem. In their less than infinite wisdom, the management of LACB decided to revamp the site, which everyone agreed did look a bit circa 1998. But instead of some new, user friendly, techno-wonder, the lackwit contracted to do the job launched some dysfunctional piece garbage that is little short of a cybernetic puzzle from hell which would lead most readers to assume LACB Online was out of business. Whether anything will be done about it remains to be seen, and whether I’m fired for calling out management on their ineptitude also may need watching. For the moment, I intend to post the columns here in full instead of fruitlessly linking them. (Only, of course, after they have hit the stands in print.) We shall see what happens. This is from last Thursday’s issue.
According to the capricious Doc40 color code, I think I’ll print these in turquoise, indicating that I wrote it, but that it has already been published elsewhere.
The secret word is (yet again) Clusterfuck
A modest proposal for the immediate execution of Dita Von Teese
I have eliminated physical newspapers from my home. I receive the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post via the Internet (and also the New York Post, ever a mind-boggler). In addition to saving trees, the computer allows me to trippingly bypass the mindless filler that struggling broadsheets vainly believe will deliver the grail of the 18-to-35 demographic. But on Sunday, December 30, I made an exception. With no false modesty, my co-author Suzy Shaw and I had entered the L.A. Times bestseller list at No. 13 with our new book, Bomp!: Saving the World One Record at a Time, and I wanted to admire my name in old-
fashioned print. (Something I actually couldn’t do, but that’s another story.)
Having not had a copy of the Times in the house for months, I was surprised by its bulk. Surprise escalated to amazement when I encountered the “Image” section, dominated by a vast headshot of Dita Von Teese and the message “like the car you drive, or the watch you wear, the bubbly you reach for … speaks volumes about who you are.”
Perhaps my world has become a trifle cyber-esoteric, but I initially wondered on what terminally decadent planet I’d landed. I had clearly been lamentably ignoring plutocrat idiocy. My recall of Von Teese was as Marilyn Manson’s former flame, a modern pinup girl with interesting taste in corsets and a burlesque act that, although a highly pleasing method of punctuating rock-band performances, was little more than old-school stripping with some Belle Epoch pretensions, or a Weimar edge.
Now I discover she’s some kind of spokes-shill for the champagne industry, which, led by Cristal, was pimped-out in the 1990s by P. Diddy and is now selling itself like liquid bling: Witness the $300 Armand de Brignac in its gold-plated bottle (promoted by Jay-Z and an item in Academy Award nominee gift bags). Then, two days after reading a soufflé of a full-page interview about how Dita has had “offers” to act, and once purchased $500 worth of pies to throw at her friends on New Year’s Eve, the TV told me that, in the real world, oil had hit a record hundred bucks a barrel.
Von Teese herself also seemed to have physically changed. While with Manson, she affected a glossy, neo-counterculture style, but as the “Image” cover girl she appeared to have undergone a conservative makeover, causing her to resemble Monica Lewinsky’s slimmer, prettier sister. But perhaps this is just a last hurrah, a neocon bunker apocalypse in which the measure of a man will be judged by the brand of champagne he drinks, but only until the champagne runs out.
On the other hand, this is the Los Angeles Times’ happy promotion of an obscene level of social and cultural inequality that – in a country at war, and a world in which deadly crises are too numerous to count – will hardly build circulation or comfort its existing readers. Dita and her decadent ultra-marketing seem to be doing nothing less than moving routine Hollywood lipstick pointlessness toward a full-blown Marie Antoinette let-them-eat-cake. Historically, that attitude has a limited half-life; before too long, the guillotines are rolled out, the blades fall, the crowd cheers, and equality is imposed the hard way with the head in the basket.
I suppose I’m joking about Von Teese’s execution, but, as we move into the eighth hellish year of the Bush regime, we are obliged to examine all the absurd legacies that will remain, and the Dita Von Teese school of talentless celebrity and disgusting over-consumption has to be one of them. Maybe the foolishness of gold champagne bottles, being promoted by women famous for little more than their lovers and their foundation garments, will be recognized by the changing times as patently absurd.
In the meantime, I’m clicking over to Craig’s List to check out rented tumbrels and carpenters who might be willing to construct some cheap serviceable decapitation devices.
Maila Nurmi (Vampira) -- RIP