Everyone knows about Michael Richards and Mel Gibson's racist tirades. We've all seen Britney Spears' multiple meltdowns. We already know these people are fuck-ups. But there's a more subversive type of star out there -- one who keeps his dark side well out of the public eye. Every once in a while they let their true nature slip, and it's impossible to ever look at them the same again.
Wait, no. Sean Connery is an icon. He's James Bond for Christ sake. A Highlander. He's been knighted. And if you've had enough beer, he kind of sounds like a lovable cartoon pirate.
He's also an accomplished face spanker, as admitted in a 1965 Playboy interview:
But that was 1965. Times were different, and a lot more injustices were simply tolerated as facts of life. Racism, sexism, gigantic afros. A couple of decades later, Barbara Walters dug it up in a televised interview. Of course by that time, Connery had obviously changed his opinion.
Oh, wait, he didn't. When she brought it up, his first reaction was to turn his head and laugh in a way that said, "Oh great, here we go again with this petty bullshit."
Walters quoted part of the Playboy interview, stressing what he had said about using an open hand rather than a closed fist, adding, "Remember that? Yeeeeah." At this point, Connery loses his smile, which is appropriate because he's being scolded, and realizes he has to explain that of course he realizes that spousal abuse is a serious problem, right? Nope. The man is just really serious about slapping women. In a tone that makes it clear how he feels about mouthy women, Connery monotones, "I haven't changed my opinion."
When she presses him, Connery explains that you only beat women, "If you've tried everything else, and -- women are pretty good at this -- they can't leave it alone. They want to have the last word, and you give them the last word, but they're not happy with the last word. They want to say it again, and get into a really provocative situation. Then I think it's absolutely right."
So in other words, the woman has to keep bringing up something you don't want to talk about in order to create a provocative situation. Or to put it yet another way, Sean Connery is threatening to slap Barbara Walters if she keeps asking him about that quote.
It's always interesting to see the double standard we have for different categories of celebrity. If Sean Connery had been, say, a pro athlete or a politician, he'd get tarred with this reputation until the day he died. But he's so fucking suave. His accent wears a tuxedo. It's so impossible to connect that voice with the image of a drunken man slapping around a woman that we wouldn't believe it even if we had it on video. Hell, even Barbara Walters starts off the video with a subtle apology on his behalf ("I know Sean Connery regrets this conversation") and ends it with, "[he] has been married to Micheline for 31 years, and we have not heard a single complaint."
Not that Sean is alone in his belief that women exist somewhere on the same level as dogs ...
I always wrote off Bill Maher in the same way that I do Bill O'Reilly. He says things that are inflammatory in order to get ratings, and he's pretty good at it. But Maher is actually a pretty good standup comedian. The problem is, there is probably nothing more awkward than the moment a comedian stops his comedy in order to tell you what's really wrong with the world, and you quickly realize that their life philosophy is the stuff assholes are made of. As in this clip:
Feminine values have taken over America, and Bill Maher isn't going to stand for it! In these dark times, "Sensitivity is more important than truth. Feelings are more important than facts. Commitment is more important than individuality. [Angrily] Children are more important than PEOPLE!"
Wait, hold up. Children aren't people? Maybe it was just poor wording, but if that's not what he was trying to say, what was he trying to say? Did he mean to say "pets" there? Because I can see that. It doesn't really fit with the rest of his rant though. Maybe he doesn't realize that children are just younger people, and always confuses them for another race of smaller humanoids, like hobbits? And therefore doesn't understand why they get so many presents at Christmas? Seriously, help me find a way to interpret this that doesn't paint him as a shallow, hateful douchebag.
He goes on, "It is sort of politically incorrect just to be male in this country now." Actually, Bill, I think you left out a word. In this country it's politically incorrect to be a male shithead. Is that what you meant? To back up his point, he brings up sitcoms. "The wife is always brilliant and ethereal and right about everything ... and the husband is always a dumb fuck, lucky to have found her. The only smart men on television are Frasier and his brother, both of whom are gayer than Little Richard's underpants." He claims that men in this country live lives of quiet desperation, forced to pretend in order to fit in with this oppressive woman's world.
I don't know, maybe I'm just blind to an obvious problem, but I've always thought that a white, heterosexual male in the United States has it easier than every other race, gender and sexual orientation on the entire planet. I tried flipping around the TV to see what he was talking about with male characters. Isn't Dr. House a smart guy? Jack Bauer? The genius guy on Fringe? The other genius guy on Lie to Me? Don Draper?
He then sarcastically applauds while saying, "Women are smarter than men. If women ran the world, there'd be no wars," saying these are, "... things we don't really believe but we pretend to believe because it's easier to make women nod than to live in the doghouse."
We only allow you to think you are human, because our logical, superior male brains told us to!
This anti-woman ("men's rights" if you like bullshitting yourself) thing is becoming more and more common in the world of talk radio and comedy, and I'm not sure why that is. I recently brought up where Dilbert creator Scott Adams had said the same exact thing. Did these guys get really fucked over in a relationship (Adams is married, Maher is not), and are just taking out their frustrations? Are they just trying to cater to a male audience, and think this is how you draw them in? Is a woman somehow preventing them from becoming even richer than they are now?
There are certain rock stars who you just know are douchebags through and through. Like Gene Simmons. He had a staged sex video he recorded, released, denied and then later admitted to for the sake of publicity. And many of you have heard the bizarre 25 minute long interview he did with NPR in which he desperately defends his intellect in an argument that exists only in his head, first making sexual advances on the female host, then using 50 cent words and literally defining them for her as if she's a child (if you haven't listened to that, you should -- the man comes off like a serial killer).
But on the opposite end of the spectrum is Meatloaf. The man made a career out of producing 12 minute power ballads, and later becoming the lovable teddy bear with huge tits in Fight Club. Who out there thinks anything bad about Meatloaf?
Well, correcting misconceptions like that is why we have reality TV:
That clip is from Celebrity Apprentice, where once-upon-a-time stars are made to do simple grade-school level projects that are clearly designed to prevent them from injuring themselves. So in this episode, they're doing an art project for a charity, and they've just returned from buying arts and crafts supplies. Each star gathers the stuff he bought, but Meatloaf can't find his and immediately blames Gary Busey. Violently.
Right off the bat he explodes, "OK! MOTHERFUCKER!" Someone asks what's wrong, and he erupts like a volcano made of cursing and fat. "I bought those motherfucking sponges! Part of that paint is mine! I'm fucking sick and tired of -- FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!" Meanwhile, Gary Busey is absolutely calm, explaining that all of the craft items on the table were his.
This only provokes Meatloaf, and the next several several minutes contain the most surreal combination of words I'm likely to ever type. Mark McGrath of the band Sugar Ray holds back a violent, swearing Meatloaf as the bassist from Lonestar separates a confused, innocent looking Gary Busey, while they try to figure out if he stole Meatloaf's arts and crafts supplies.
He screams at Busey, "You look in my eyes -- I am the last person in the fucking world you -- EVER -- fucking want to fuck with!" Everything goes quiet as he settles into a cold, psychotic stare.
Busey makes the mistake of returning the look, and Meatloaf charges.
Luckily Mark McGrath and Lil' Jon were there to hold him back as he pointed at Gary and called him a "fucking piece of shit." It's important to note that the guys all call him "Meat," so as they're getting Busey out of the room and Meatloaf is spewing obscenities, all of the guys are peppering his outbursts with, "Meat! Meat, meat, meat." Not as an encouraging chant, but in soothing rational voices, trying to calm him down.
Gary is taken out into the hallway, and McGrath goes about getting the crafts back from Gary's table. As they're sorting through the supplies, Gary walks back into the room, triggering another eruption of, "But you just don't fucking assume! You fucking ask!" At exactly that moment, the Lonestar guy finds Meatloaf's bag.
It was under the corner of a table the whole time. Gary Busey didn't take a single thing and was absolutely innocent. So Meatloaf apologized.
No, wait, he threw his paint at him and yelled, "Take your fucking spray paint!" Then continued to unload on him until the Lonestar guy explained that they were doing this for sick kids, and his actions were embarrassing. Only then did Meatloaf apologize, and he didn't do it to the guy he had just falsely accused of theft and nearly assaulted.
I realize reality shows are largely staged, and that even when they're not, they are specifically designed to produce screeching matches between spoiled, emotionally stunted human beings. But I don't think he's acting here, and I guess that's upsetting because it means living a life of fame, wealth and sustained success leaves you in an emotional place where you can be driven to a blackout rage over a bag of missing sponges. Isn't that the whole point of getting rich, that you rise to a place where you don't have to get worked up over stupid shit any more?
But what we actually see is the opposite. For instance ...