Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth

Perpetually perky Reese Witherspoon married agent-to-the-stars Jim Toth last Saturday.

Will this work?  It’s so hard to say.  On the one hand, Reese appears to be such a level-headed person.  There are no stories about her past indiscretions, magnificent tantrums, overindulged proclivities.  She’s just a normal person who happens to have chosen movie stardom as her career.

On the other hand . . .

She married Ryan Philippe when she was, what?  Twenty-three years old and seven months pregnant?  You guys have been reading this blog long enough to know what I think about that!  And there’s something about the way she went from Ryan to Jake,* and from Jake to Jim,** without stopping to catch her breath that’s just a little concerning.  In fact, it leads me to wonder if Reese is one of those folks who won’t end a relationship unless she has a new partner already picked out and waiting in wings.  What will happen if she finds someone better than Jim?

On the other, other hand, Reese walked down the aisle in a pale pink dress.  Always a harbinger of marital success.  (Ask me how I know!)

* Separation announced October 2006, around the time that Rendition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon, was being filmed.

** Breakup with Jake November/December 2009, dating Jim publicly February 2010.

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When the Other Man Is a Population of 13,276,517

There are so many divorces in the world, but really, not that many grounds for the divorce.  Infidelity:  that’s a popular reason.  Abuse:  almost no one argues against that.  Latent homosexuality:  a fabulous reason.  Bankruptcy protection, mismatched sexual appetites,  designated hitter debates.  All reasonable and understandable bases for ending your marriage.

Here’s one you didn’t think of:  by-passing presidential eligibility laws.

The Constitution of Guatemala states that family members of current presidents are ineligible to succeed their relative in the office.  A control mechanism against the risk of familial dynasty that Americans seem to have employed without specifically codifying.  Imagine if the likes of George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, or John Quincy Adams had not waited a decent interval before publicizing their pursuit of sovereign succession.

So that’s what President Alvaro Colom and First Lady Sandra Torres are doing:  divorcing so she can run for president.  They refer to it as a “noble sacrifice.”

I call bullshit.

If you’re not prepared to trash your ex in public, re-write the history of your courtship, fight over who gets the lawnmower, and bore your friends to death by going on about how you tried for so long but just have nothing left to give, well, then it’s just not a real divorce.  Taking advantage of the special status of marriage as the only legally soluble familial relationship is a cynical exploitation of the system.  Amend the constitution if it means that much to you.  Or, here’s an idea:  Don’t set out to succeed your husband in the first place!  For Christ’s sake, Guatemalans chose a one-term presidency for a reason.  Who are you to try to work around that?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Tony Hawk's Latest Half-Pipe

Did you hear that skateboarding mogul Tony Hawk left his third wife to take up with the wife of his BFF?

This month it was revealed that Tony has filed for divorce from Lhotse Merriam, and is now spending time with Cathy Goodman.  Lhotse learned of the affair late last year when she stumbled on a plane ticket for Cathy to join Tony for a special trip.  Who is Cathy Goodman?  The wife of Tony’s business partner of 15 years, Matt Goodman.  Matt and Cathy have been married for 20 years.  Tony and Matt have been friends since childhood.  Matt was in the wedding party of each of Tony’s three weddings.

A few days after the news of Tony’s divorce surfaced, Matt assured Radar Online that it’s all good.  He and Tony ended their business partnership in 2005; he and Cathy separated last year; he’s dating someone else anyway; he wishes Tony and Cathy (and Lhotse!) all the best.

Tony, it seems, is something of a hound dog.  This line from a news report is priceless:

Hawk married Merriam, his former publicist, in 2006, 
two years after divorcing his second wife, Erin, his former nanny.

It’s tempting to write Tony’s behavior off as a symptom of the same immaturity that leads a 42-year-old man to play with skateboards instead of getting a job.  But a man who can parlay an adolescent obsession into $180 million net worth hardly classifies as a failure to launch.  No, I think the relevant behavior here is that specific drive to pursue the thrill without regard for the risks.  I suppose that is a characteristic of adolescence (see: Pregnancy, Teen).  But that’s also the sort of recklessness you need if you’re going to execute a 2.5-revolution aerial spin and pioneer the sport of vertical skateboarding.

And Matt Goodman?  Well, it sounds like he had already left Cathy for another woman.  So he knows he’s not really in a position to complain.  But he wouldn’t be the first wandering husband to suffer pangs of jealousy when his betrayed wife starts letting someone else rock her ride.

What I can’t explain is how Cathy let herself be wooed by Tony.  Especially since she’s known him -- and witnessed his weddings -- for 20 years.  Is this affair the product of some mid-life crisis, where the good wife and mother deliberately chooses to do something stupid?  Or is she just trying to piss Matt off for doing a 180 and leaving her for another woman?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Tempest in at Twitterpot, Calm at Last

The day that millions of Mean Girls hoped for has finally arrived.

It was confirmed last week that Joe Jonas and Ashley Greene broke up a few weeks ago.  In fact, it seems they broke up weeks before Details published a cover story that includes Joe singing Ashley’s praises.  The timing has fueled longstanding rumors that the relationship was really just a media show.

Was she too much woman for him?  Did she get tired of living within the confines of his purity pledge?  Did their travel schedules make it impossible to maintain a relationship?  Has Ashley moved on to another man?

Does it matter?

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Snappy tune, unique drum beat, catchy refrain.  But somehow the song just doesn’t live up to it’s lofty promise.  Rather than 50 ways to leave our lover, it provides just five ways, repeated over and over.  And those five ways?  Not especially instructive.  Really, when you look at them altogether, they seem more like 5 steps that make up just a single way to leave your lover:

Step 1:  Slip out the back. 

Step 2:  Make a plan.  Note that this plan should be new, i.e., unlike any previous plans that included your lover.  Note also that this whole scheme would probably have gone more smoothly if making a plan had been your first step.  But that’s just not how you roll, is it?

Step 3:  Don’t be coy.  In other words, when your lover calls out from the back door to ask where you’re going, DO NOT say you’re just slipping out for a pack of cigs!  Be honest and face the music.  Tell your lover you are leaving, per the agreement made with your new lover the night before.

Step 4:  Hop on the bus.  Or get in the car.  Point is, a gas-powered vehicle is key to putting some serious distance between you and that back door where your lover is standing, puzzling over the fact that you’ve slipped out to buy cigarettes when you don’t smoke (because you flaked on Step 3, didn’t you?).

Step 5:  Drop off the key.  Once you’re safely ensconced in your new love nest with your new lover, don’t be a douche!  Send back your key as a demonstration of the finality of your decision.  Better yet, deliver it in person, so you can look your former lover in the eye.  Those bottomless brown eyes.  And open your mouth to say, “I love someone else,” but find that you can only get out the words “I love,” before your former lover, assuming that you’ve recovered your senses and have come home again, wraps you in a loving embrace. 

At which point, you find yourself back where you started, getting advice from someone with shady motives and a penchant for cheesy rhyming slang because you’re a wuss who doesn’t know how to break up with someone. 

Here is the Muppets’ rocking cover of “50 Ways.”  Note Rowlf’s attempt to introduce a sly double entendre into the mix (“Are you sure it’s not ‛50 Ways to Love Your Lever?’”).  Masturbation jokes on the Muppet Show.  Wow.  It certainly was a different time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Mess with the Mouse

A month ago, Billy Ray Cyrus told GQ Magazine that Disney’s Hannah Montana show was the poisoned apple that broke up his 17 year marriage and set his daughter Miley on the path to ruin.  “I'll tell you right now—the damn show destroyed my family.”

This week Billy Ray assured the Sympathy Sisters of The View that Hannah Montana had nothing to do with his family’s troubles.  “I love Hannah Montana!  I love Disney!  That didn’t tear my family apart,” he exclaimed somewhat frantically.

Obviously those thugs at Disney got to him.  Was it blackmail?  Did they send Vicki Lawrence in with a bat to bruise his kidneys?  However they did it, rest assured those fuckers will stop at nothing to protect their interests.  Which includes forcing Billy Ray to throw David Lynch under the bus (“I kind of blame it all on David Lynch”) while recanting his denunciation of Miley’s show.  The remark is indisputably the media Goliath’s first salvo in the battle to undermine critical reception of Lynch’s unauthorized Goofy bio-pic.

Heaven help this particular David—I don’t think a slingshot will be enough this time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When Good Breakups Go Bad

This breakup happened several months ago, but is just heating up now as the two ex-lovers pummel each other in court (and in the media) over custody of their daughter Nahla.

Her side:  Gabriel is a lazy, unemployed mooch who can’t be trusted to care for his daughter.  He’s a racist who’s uncomfortable with the thought of having a “black” daughter.

His side:  Halle is more interested in her career than being a mother to her daughter.

But the breakup started out so well!  Gabriel continued to live in Halle’s house, where he could see Nahla every day.  Post-relationship relations were so friendly, the parents neglected to arrange a formal custody agreement.  A lapse Halle is probably regretting today.

The truth is almost certainly more benign than all the accusations.  Halle’s maternal instinct drives her to seek primary custodianship of her daughter.  And she can’t be thrilled at the prospect of contributing to her ex-boyfriend’s upkeep in the form of child support.  Gabriel prefers that Nahla be cared for by her parents; if Halle’s off making the moolah on a movie, then that leaves him, doesn’t it?  And it’s clear that both parents feel threatened by the prospect of identifying Nahla by the race of their ex.

Basically, Halle is facing the dilemma typically faced by wealthy men who divorce their SAHM wives.  For some, the stay-at-home arrangement made sense when they were married; others resented it all along.  In any case, these hard-working men object to financing the livelihoods of their ex-wives.  Sometimes they seek to remedy the situation by petitioning for sole custody, challenging the traditional bias for children to remain with their mothers (a bias which is being overcome by the growing popularity of 50-50 custody arrangements).

In Halle’s case, there’s the ironic twist that she’s both breadwinner and mother.  For her part, she probably feels doubly entitled to sole custody.  Now that she has a new boyfriend, perhaps she’d like to relegate Gabriel to the lowly status of very attractive sperm donor.  It doesn’t look like Gabriel is going to stand for that.  He will probably continue to lobby for his continued presence in Nahla’s everyday life.

Perhaps Halle can learn from Britney Spears.  Britney chose to bring her ex-husband on tour with her rather than leave her children behind or separate them from their father.  Thus the world witnessed the extraordinary sight of K-Fed the “manny.”  Think about it, Halle and Gabriel!

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