Shootin’ That Communiss From Friends

Ottawa Citizen

Final Edition Section: Arts; Pg. I3
April 19, 2003 Saturday

Shootin’ that communiss from Friends: A review of the tabloids, by Cintra Wilson.
by Cintra Wilson

Well, kicking around Jacko got old again. I never thought we’d see the day. Thank God we have the Iraqi information minister, as otherwise everyone would seem too reasonable. I think Michael Jackson and Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf ought to have a chat about children, aliens, God, women and the future of America while strolling through a petting zoo. Then they should be put on their own reality TV series, Help! I Became a Darling of the American Press by Spouting Power-Drunk Untruths.

The tabloids love war. They love America, they love the President, and they love celebrities as long as they toe the party line. In the words of Globe reader D.W. Ireland of Horner, West Virginia, “Before we bomb Saddam and his desert sandbox into oblivion, let’s make sure to get George Clooney, Sean Penn and all our other traitors over there as human shields.”

The tabs seem especially happy when a war-lover makes violent threats, especially if that special somebody happens to be Prince Harry. According to The Enquirer, Harry hates the pacifist students at Eton College, where he is a sergeant in the Cadet Force. One peacenik had the temerity to whine, “Harry kicked me in the ass and called me ‘peace loving scum.’ ” Forget Wills! Harry could be the next Caligula. I see decapitated heads on golden poles.

The most horrifying indication of where the country is going is a Web site devoted to young women who want to buck and coo about how hot they think White House press secretary Ari Fleischer is. “(Ari) has cuddly, balding good looks and is very powerful,” Dr. Ava Cadell told The Star. Women, apparently, are also hot for General Tommy Franks, age 57, chief of U.S. Central Command, which just goes to show you that all you really have to do to get some in this fair nation is appear on TV, because the TV is magic.

Speaking of the magic power of celebrity, “I can’t explain exactly how it works, but I do know that Tom Jones’ angelic healing voice has the power to chase demons right out of a person’s body. I’ve seen it first hand!” Pastor Jack Stahl told The Enquirer. “One time a man asked me to exorcise the demons from his body because he had a rotten fungus growing under his toenails. Thanks to Tom Jones, I was able to cast the demons out of the man’s toes, and the fungus began to clear up almost instantly.” We’ll be sending a batch of Tom Jones’ Golden Hits to Ari Fleischer, in the hope that he too will clear up. In a spooky postmodern example of imitation life imitating imitation art imitating imitation life, The Star hosts a lively speculation on who might play Private Jessica Lynch in the film that “producers are already scrambling to bring to TV this summer.”

This means media images of Jessica Lynch are already being replaced with images of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Sarah Michelle Gellar, much as the images of Frida Kahlo have all been replaced with photos of Salma Hayek. Others in the running for Saving Private Jessica are two of Hollywood’s brownish actors, Jimmy Smits and Jessica Alba, who were formerly required to play Token Hispanics, and can now look forward to playing Token Middle-Easterns for the rest of their marginalized careers. Jamie Farr, we hardly knew ye.

What is surprising is the headline, “JENNIFER ANISTON’S AGONY — WHY DO PEOPLE HATE HER?” — on the cover of The Star. It seemed America’s Former Sweetheart commented to Rolling Stone, “Bush is a f—ing idiot.”

That there is an anti-American comment, Lemuel. Why cain’t she be more like that purty Jessica Lynch, who kills Iraqis and vampires too? Git me my assault rifle. I’m ‘onna shoot the TV when that skinny communiss come back onnit. An’ put on that Tom Jones record while yer at it. I gots another fungus.

Cintra Wilson is an author and playwright in New York City. The Yellow Press appears every second Saturday.