Today, New York Post gossip dowager Cindy Adams (of all people) had a very important question to ask about Levi Johnston: "What happened?" We haven't heard from him in months. Where did he go? Is this exile or punishment?
There was a time this fall when we were rapturously posting about the kid every chance we got and the media couldn't get enough of him, especially surrounding his naked photo shoot for Playgirl. He was writing for Vanity Fair, on Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, and even Oprah asked Sarah Palin about him when the governor was on to flack her book. Now, not a peep. The only time we hear about him is when he gets sued for custody.
Levi was a great media character—young, attractive, a little stupid, and soft spoken, but not afraid to stand up for himself, especially against one of the "liberal media's" favorite targets, Sarah Palin. He was our inside man who was going to give us all the dirt on Little Miss Moose Pageant that would reveal her as a craven fraud before she could do that damage herself. He never followed through, so we have to keep watch as Palin keeps pressing her own self-destruct button.
Actually, their public dance of death, as we named it, fueled each other as they would continue to snark back at one another feeding kindling to the publicity machine. Levi needed Palin because, without her, he wouldn't be famous, and Palin needed Levi to keep her relevant and at the top of the media in between elected offices. Now the dance is over.
Levi did the smart thing and he forged out from his career as a professional Palin basher with his gambit posing nude Playgirl magazine. For the first time the headlines were all about him. He thought it was his way to become a star, and it very well could have been. The whole caper, which seemed like the plot for some post-modern, self-reflexive screwball comedy, was amazing. There was a small town boy who was going to come to the big city and show off his penis for a magazine that wasn't even a magazine anymore. It featured an all-star cast (all of them with porn-ready names) like Levi's lawyer, silent svengali Rex Butler; the bodyguard turned media strategist, Tank Jones; and Playgirl's colorful PR man and party promoter, Daniel Nardicio.
We were eating this shit up. So, what happened? Two words: No. Wang. Levi put all his eggs in one basket and then was too chicken to show off the eggs or the basket. When he didn't go full-frontal in Playgirl the whole thing was revealed for what it was all along, a crass publicity stunt to get Levi to the next stage of his career. From what we know about the shoot, we have a feeling that he was initially prepared to show off the old hockey stick and pucks but with all the rabid media attention leading up to his big day in the studio, he was fooled into thinking that, if he kept it tasteful, he might be able to score another modeling job after this.
That was Levi's big mistake. His fatal flaw was that he couldn't live up to the hype. Like a good golf swing, the thing that will keep a no-talent fameball's celebrity going is follow-through. Sure, the world would have seen his cock, but he would have been the guy that was crazy, daring, and smart enough to pose naked for a national audience. The offers would have flooded in because, apparently Levi would do anything. Now he is not defined by what he did, but what he didn't, no, wouldn't do. We hate nothing more than a quitter, and our attention shifted to someone willing to go all the way. After all, Snooki would never vibe on a guy at Bamboo, invite him home, and then not fuck him in the Jacuzzi at the last moment, now would she?
After the shoot and subsequent unveiling of the disappointing pics, the overexposed Levi did the smart thing and retreated to the darkness of Wasilla, or wherever in Alaska it is that he's hiding. He's probably plotting to make his splashy return, but it's not going to happen. He had his shot at captivating national attention and he blew it big time. To find out just what he was working on, we called Tank Jones to ask. He always used to pick up his cell phone and talk to us. Not this time, and we couldn't leave a message because his voicemail is full. Too bad Levi's schedule isn't full, and we have a feeling it won't be again.