by RIP RENSE
No News. . .
(Jan. 5, 2004)
Okay, it's been long enough. I
haven't been able to stomach any news since shortly after the election. I've missed
it every bit as much as gum surgery, so I finally picked up the paper to soak up the
recent events preoccupying humankind. My choice of periodical: "The Globe."
After all, we live in an increasingly global
First story to catch my eye was "Kurt and
Goldie's Nude Romp. . .Back Together Again---their wild weekend." This interested me.
I haven't had nude romp outside of the bathtub in years, and my most recent "wild
weekend" involved reading poetry on the radio.
Well, there were two tantalizing
pictures of Kurt and Goldie's "wild weekend," on the cover. One depicted them
bestowing a mutual pursed-lip kiss (gasp), another had Goldie with green slime on her
face, a shower cap, and flowery bathing suit pulled back to sun her teency
Where boobies should have been, though, there were
only two large red stars. For a moment, I thought this might have been the
"wild" part---that Goldie had accidentally exposed the little devils before an
audience, Janet Jackson-style, only to reveal two nipple-covers with serious communist
implications. You know those nutball Hollywood liberals. . .
But no. Just the Globe's artist adding some
Still, I tried to derive vicarious pleasure
from Kurt and Goldie's fabulous hijinks. I felt it was my duty as an American. No matter
how much I stared, though, they just looked like a couple of puffy middle-aged relaxing
people at a spa. I bit my lip. There had to be more to it---this was, after all,
a cover story! Just why were Kurt and Goldie romping naked? (Well, Kurt might have
had trunks on---you really couldn't tell.) What exactly was wild about their weekend?
Could it impact the stock market? Global warming?
I turned to the promised "more photos
On the way there, though, I
encountered: a picture of Kirstie Alley bending over from behind, which reminded
me I hadn't been to the zoo in a long time; a depressing page about all the nice people
who died last year, like Rodney Dangerfield, Fay Wray, Jack Paar, and Captain Kangaroo; a
before-and-after photo of Gary Shandling's neck liposuction, then---
There they were---threee photos of middle-aged Goldie
in that flowery bathing suit at the spa! She was standing in one, doing yoga in another,
sitting in a third. Wow. The same photo of the Commie breasts was repeated, and a headline
screamed: "THEY SHOULD HAVE CHARGED ADMISSION." The article informed me that
Kurt and Goldie liked to walk around naked, and that Goldie's daughter, Kate,
said "My mother taught us never to be ashamed of our bodies."
I nearly fainted. Now, this was disturbing
stuff. Possibly prosecutable. I turned the page in search of something a little less
jarring, and. . .
There was a photo of Medusa---er, Madonna---on
all fours, which is a position I expect she enjoys a good deal. The shot was from a
concert tour, and three-quarters of the stringy middle-aged woman's flour-white breasts
were exposed, barely restrained by ornate fabric and black lace. The expression on her
face suggested a prostate exam, but as Madonna probably doesn't have a prostate, other
intrusive scenarios came to mind. It turned out that she had merely been snapped at
a less-than-graceful moment, as the caption revealed: "The pop queen more closely
resembled an iguana with her odd pose and goofy expression."
This news was easier on the nerves than Goldie
and Kurt's Nude Romp, until, that is, I began to worry about how Madonna's feelings might
be hurt. She is, after all, not only the chanteuse who recorded the profound
"Vogue," with its poignant message, "let your body move to the music,"
but also one of our most important authors, what with the best-selling picture book,
"Sex," and the great kiddie book (it must be at least 250 words long!) that
someone else illustrated, "The English Roses."
My stomach knotted up as I
contemplated the anguish and humiliation Madonna might feel if faced with this photo. I
had to look away.
But my eyes fell on even more upsetting things:
a shot of Ben Affleck scratching his testicles, Tara Reid accidentally (?) exposing an
entire breast, and Natasha Richardson falling as she attempted to duck the bulbs of
Papparazzi. Gee, was there no good news at all? I flipped another page:
"STILL FAT!" proclaimed a headline on a picture of Monica Lewinsky, said to be
up to 275 pounds. Just when I thought I would lose no more sleep worrying about Monica. .
There was some small relief to be had, though,
in the "Ask Ivana" column, written by the woman who used to fornicate with
Donald Trump. I was happy for her, even proud of her. She had gone far in life. Her
divorce had qualified her to write an advice column for a major publication! My 30 years
in journalism has never fetched me anything near that kind of prestige and paycheck. But
then, I never slept with Donald Trump, and frankly, I think Ivana deserves quite a reward
for having suffered that particular fate.
I checked out Ivana's "letter of the week"
written by a young woman, headed, "Is My Passion for Sex A Phase or an
Addiction?" Ivana had answered that this was an interesting problem, "to say the
least," and advised that the woman see a doctor as soon as possible or find a
I was bowled over. Here a
complete stranger saddled with a crippling, monstrous psychological and physical disorder
had written to another complete stranger---a woman worth (Trump's) millions---and the
millionairess had answered compassionately, warmly, caringly. Mother Teresa could have
done no more.
My spirits buoyed, my faith in humanity
reviving, I turned the page with aplomb. News isn't so bad, really, when you can
comfort yourself with the knowledge that such good people as Ivana Trump exist in this
Then I saw it:
"BILLY CRYSTAL PLAGUED BY GUILT OVER DAD'S
Sigh. Yes, the beloved comic reveals
in his one-man Broadway show that at age 15, he and his dad argued, and his father then
died of a heart attack.
This was terrible, terrible. I can barely
function with the anguish of knowing that Billy carries around such guilt.
That's it. I'm backing off again. No more news.
I realize it's my obligation as a citizen to pay careful attention to the issues that most
concern Americans, but I just can't do it. I'd rather settle back on the couch and just
watch some mindless comedy on the tube, like the war in Iraq.
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