Saturday, February 14, 2009


You know sometimes I start to think I can’t face one more week of celebrity headlines. Consider this week: Pics have now come forward that show the octomama’s ginormous stretched out belly when she was pregnant with the almost baseball team. This, right as pictures are revealed of actress Selma Hayek breast feeding an African baby. Oy. And if that weren’t enough to put me under, there’s her memorable quote: When asked why, she says, “I had milk.” Did I need to know this? I’m thinking not. And all of that, just as we find out that the late Anna Nicole Smith’s life story is being turned into an opera.…God.

Well, I’m not even really here to talk about any of that now. I’m here to talk about more bad boys. You’ll recall every once in a while in this blog I sound off about men behaving badly. Last time it was former Reverend Ted “I’m Not Gay Anymore” Haggard; former Governor Rod “F___ing” Blagojevich; and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, he of the $1.2 million office re-do as his company was rapidly drowning in its own greed and poor management. Just when you think it can’t get any sleazier, a new week dawns and there’s Alex Rodriguez, Chris Brown and one James Gorman. You’ve never heard of Gorman, but he’s what we call a real wheeler dealer. More on him later.

A-Rod: Okay. Let’s review. Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for the N.Y. Yankees, youngest guy to ever hit 500 home runs and the highest paid player in the history of baseball – but, see, he’s a bad boy. First, he split with his wife of six years, three months after she gave birth to their second child. Shortly thereafter, pictures show up online and in tabloids of A-Rod in strip clubs. Then, the father of the year starts sneaking off with none other than Madonna for clandestine weekends at the home of Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld. And then this week, after years of rumblings about possible use of illegal substances and steroids, he finally admits in an ESPN interview that he indeed indulged. I love this quote: “Back then, baseball was a different culture," Rodriguez said. "It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance.”

Hmmm…back then….when would that have been? 1965? No…the “back then” that A-Rod refers to is 2003. Oh please. I would like to see some accountability here. Does the guy just come clean in an interview and go back to his $275 million contract? Last week his baby was in the hospital with a severe staph infection. Media made big stuff about how he didn’t leave her bedside the whole time. I’m thinking that’s what fathers do. Why do we keep rewarding guys like this in our society? Why are they worth hundreds of times more than the average American worker? All I know is somewhere Jose Canseco is kicking back and smoking a big fat "I told you so" cigar.

And while A-Rod has his critics and detractors, the culture seems to still want to protect its bad boys, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing. Watch this CBS news report:

Chris Brown: This kid is 19, owns a Lamborghini, has an album that has sold over two million copies, has an upcoming starring role in a motion picture, has appeared in numerous TV shows – and is now represented by none other than celebrity-loving criminal attorney Mark Geragos. By now, unless you have been in a coma, you know Brown is suspected of beating his superstar girlfriend Rihanna, following an argument in his – Lam—bor—ghi—ni. (Should a 19 year old kid even have a Lamborghini?) At this writing, the D.A.’s office is weighing the alleged offenses to determine if domestic abuse charges will be rendered. All the dime store psychologists and editorial “analysts” cannot put Chris Brown back together again. The story about his childhood being marred by a wicked stepfather who abused his mother is not a good enough reason for the boy to beat up his girlfriend.

Now, radio stations are refusing to play his once hothothot records; sponsorships are melting away, beginning with Doublemint and the “Got Milk” campaign; and the word among fans in blog after blog is that he crossed the ultimate line, and he is now yesterday’s news. This may shock you, but I have never paid much attention to Chris Brown’s music…until today, when I hung out on YouTube for awhile and watched him perform. This angelic-faced boy has big talent. He’s a sort of new century Michael Jackson level talent. Call me a hundred years old if you like, but I can’t help thinking that rather than offering him recording contracts at 14 and a Lamborghini at 19, somebody should have pointed this guy to a stellar performing arts school and let him develop as a person, and as a performer. Maybe being socialized with other young artists in a nurturing atmosphere might have matured him a bit; and maybe an education wouldn’t have been such a bad idea either. I’m just sayin.’

James Gorman: Okay, no more suspense. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Gorman is CEO of Morgan-Stanley. Just milliseconds after the Wall Street giant and its soon to be partner Smith Barney were granted $60 billion in government bailout funds, Gorman decides to bestow bonuses upon the company’s financial advisors. Oh, I’m so sorry. Did I say bonus? I meant to say “retention awards.” Gorman has expressly requested the payouts not be deemed “bonuses,” presumably because media and clients might get the wrong idea; that idea being that part of the money that is supposed to reinvigorate the company, and thereby the U.S. economy, is being paid out to individuals who contributed to the company’s near demise in 2008. How do we know all this? Because the Huffington Post got ahold of audio tape of a conference call in which Gorman spelled it out.

The NOT BONUSES total something between $2 and $3 billion, which the company asserts does not come from the bailout funds. Yes, I can hear your collective “Who cares where it comes from, it’s still $2 - $3 billion.” Wait…it gets worse. It turns out, as part of their agreement for funding from the government, the new conglomerate promised to trim $1.1 billion in expenses. I think we smell a rat and his name is John Gorman, bad boy.

I wonder if A-Rod, Chris Brown and John Gorman have ever even heard of each other. Funny…in my mind they’re all cut from the same cloth, the fabric of deception and irresponsibility. Call me judgmental if you like—I’ll take that. But it’s not about me. It’s about American boys who somehow think they can, and must get away with something – something bad.

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