Hey, this Sunday's Times Magazine features an awesome "Domains" interview with everyone in the world's favorite tee vee pundit Rachel Maddow! We read an advance copy and can officially break the news that Rachel Maddow is totally cool. She lives way out in western Massachussetts with her partner Susan (pictured). She is seemingly the most normal and charming and totally well-adjusted cable news host in America. Seriously! Totally without the crippling ego of everyone else on every other cable network! She still has no television of her own, she is annoyed at having to dress like "an assistant principal" in order to be allowed on tv, she identifies with Wally Cleaver, and after learning her favorite hobby we decided conclusively that we want to be her friend:
Michael Lucas, the famous Russian-born gay porn performer, just got married! (He's the pouty one in the wedding pic.) You might know him from his films Hunt & Plunge and Fire Island Cruising 1-8, or La Dolce Vita, which was filmed partially in the Marc Jacobs store—making it the gayest movie on record. His groom is Richard Winger, who the press release says is an "international businessman;" it also says the two met eight years ago at a "Holiday Party." They're using the wedding to fight for gay marriage rights throughout the country—or maybe to get attention from gay publications for putting that in the press release.Lucas was profiled last March in the New Republic as "gay porn's neocon kingporn" due to his over-the-top opinions on Middle Eastern politics. But he makes up for that with his insistence on condoms being used in the porns he directs. As he explained his choices to New York mag: "‘What is my real chance to become a mainstream celebrity?' I am an immigrant, I have an accent, I am not the most beautiful thing which crossed the world." It goes without saying that Lucas is ridiculous and self-promoting, but we're still glad he exists. At the very least because every apartment building needs a square peg:
P.J. O'Rourke: is there a writer we more heartily wished had a blog right now? The country is in the throes of an ideological earthquake, and P.J. O'Rourke is a right-wing free-market ideologue who is too smart not to allow himself to be tossed around a bit, and too entertaining a writer to elicit much of our indignation in the case he doesn't end up landing that much closer on the spectrum to raging creative class Bolshevism. Well, we'd been wondering where the writer and Rolling Stone "foreign affairs desk" chief had been during the End of Capitalism, and it turns out today that he has been preoccupied getting ass cancer. (His phrase, not ours!) The good news is that it seems to have been detected early: he assures us he has a 95% chance of survival. The other good news: it's good material! From today's LA Times:
If you haven't been spellbound by the (HUGELY telegenic) drama consuming the nation's new financial capital over the past 36 hours, here's a big takeaway you missed: Chris Dodd is the Wonk Stud Du Jour. Chris Dodd, senator from Connecticut — Connecticut, Hedge Fund Capital of the Galaxy. Chris Dodd, onetime waitress-thrower and suitor of Carrie Fisher and Bianca Jagger who more recently became disparaged as Chris Dodd, official Friend of (and recipient of a cut-rate mortgages from) former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo "Moz" Mozilo. Chris Dodd had a big bug crawl across his head during a debate last summer, but that has nothing to do with why he may turn out to be a most unlikely hero of this epic market meltdown. Which is to say: could Chris Dodd be so beholden to capitalists he actually understands what they do?Dodd was much-maligned for ignoring his duties as Senate Banking Committee Chair to pursue a quixotic (insane?) bid for the Democratic presidential nomination as the American financial system first began foreshadowing its collapse. But if Dodd learned anything from his strange decision to relocate his entire family to Iowa the year before a caucus in which he managed to win a whole zero percent of the vote, perhaps it was that the rest of America does not, in economic terms anyway, look very much like his flush little state or the gargantuan financial services industry that nurtured within it some of America's most preposterously wealthy zip codes. Yesterday Dodd delivered a lengthy proposal to defend taxpayers from some of the more egregious ripoffs and scams that could result from the approval of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's awe-inspiring $700 billion Wall Street bailout. It turns out that amid all the cheap mortgage receiving and tabloid living Chris Dodd has actually been paying attention to the industry that has been feeding his coffers all these years! Dodd's plan demands, among other things, that the government receive warrants that might convert into equity stakes in all those banks whose loans it is now proposing to buy at those possibly grossly-inflated prices. It seems like a damn good idea! Not that I would know. But Democrats and Republicans seem to agree. Could Dodd be the Giuliani of the Market Meltdown? I bet the Dems would throw in another abortive run at the presidency if he does! A telling quote from today's hearing came when Dodd asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke how he'd explain it to Main Street. "I was a college professor. I've never worked on Wall Street," he said. Indeed, Bernanke is a college professor who has published dozens of hugely influential papers on the critical role of decisive monetary policy in fending off the runaway deflation that begets Depressions. But he's a professor; does he fully understand how disconnected the types of immense wealth accumulated by the high-fee, ultraleveraged sectors of the financial services industry are from the types of wealth generated by businesses that run on plain-old lines of credit and investor equity? I understand a "run" on the money market of the type we saw Friday necessitated a massive intervention of some sort; I also understand taxpayers could very well turn a profit on its Bear Stearns intervention; I further understand the economic malaise that accompanies a deflationary spiral. It's hard to pass off Paulson as some Goldman shill when, seriously, no one actually capable of comprehending even a tenth of this crisis doesn't sport an attachment to one of the financial institutions whose livelihoods will be affected here. But it's hard to think Paulson and Bernanke, with their insistence that Everything Get Done Right Now, aren't overpanicking to soothe an overpanicky stock market. And it's like: well, look, there is no way this is going to be smooth for the benchmark stock indices. But the stock market has never been — it has only grown further and further away from reflecting — the actual economy. That is why 10,000 households in this country are worth more than $100 million apiece while nearly four-fifths of the nation's households get by on less than ninety grand a year (and about twenty survive on less than twenty.) This morning on CNBC I watched anchor Mark Haines tell his younger colleague Erin Burnett his own amendments for the bailout: something about wanting the Treasury to buy exclusively banks' better loans, allow the financial firms to work out the superbad ones, install some provisions to help homeowners renegotiate their mortgates and then pump the surplus generated into Medicare and Social Security. Burnett basically told him he was a communist and it was cute because as anyone who has watched Haines prior to this month he is so totally not. But it called to mind another scene between the two of them a few days ago when Burnett tried to get some money manager to offer viewers a more "glass half full" view on the stock market. "If you don't think this is that serious, you don't understand it," he said. He was right; it is serious; and the truly serious people watching it play out are abandoning their friends, their fundraisers, their inclinations and their ideologies in hopes of merely understanding it and conveying it to all those it will effect. We can only hope our elected officials — I have two in mind — can add "pollsters" to that list and prove capable of figuring out what's truly best for the country.
It's already easy for men to get laid at downtown Manhattan's cocaine-dusted celeb hangout Beatrice Inn because it's so hard to get into—women there assume that the guys there have to be somebody special to get past the notoriously tough door. But how to extract one of the beauties that abound in Paul Sevigny's club? Would-be womanizers would do well to learn from the Eurotrash rake in a cap he never takes off who scores about as often as he shows up at the West Village haunt.
Back in 1973, when young John McCain had just been released from his five hellish years of torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese, he became a media sensation back home. His tale of heroism inspired the nation, and his refusal to back down and give in to his captors demands was thrilling stuff. Queerty tracked down what may be McCain's first personal account of his captivity and torture, for US News & World Report in May of 1973. They posted it online in January, but maybe it's because we're all so familiar with his tale at this point that no one noticed, until now, the bit where he says all his captors were homosexuals who got off on whipping him. No, that is not made up.
On the heels of the news that Roger Ebert will no longer be a part of At the Movies, his long-running film review show, comes word of his replacements. The dreamy Ben Lyons from E! (son of increasingly dim critic Jeffrey) and a fellow named Ben Mankiewicz will usher in a new, hipper, younger-skewing At The Movies. A sad but inevitable development. Though Ebert hasn't been on the show since 2006, recovering from various ailments related to a tumor on his salivary gland, his presence on the show will still be missed. At least we've got his myriad film reviews and blog posts to go to for his literate but accessible musings on film.
Intervention is the realest reality show on television. The A&E series is the starkest imaginable look at drug addiction and alcoholism that you'll find anywhere outside of, well, real life. I'm constantly amazed that the show not only finds addicts willing to be filmed smoking, snorting, and drinking their way to the depths of despair, but also that these same addicts keep on being surprised when the intervention is sprung on them. Too many drugs, not enough time watching TV. And it's heroic work; the show's creator, Sam Mettler, told the Washington Post that the heroin smoke in one subject's bedroom was so thick that Mettler eventually fell down on the bed and "could not stop shaking and drooling." Bear Grylls' job is a cinch in comparison! Keep on inspiring us all to be less fucked up, Intervention. Below, the first installment of the "Caylee" episode that turned Mettler into a temporary junkie: