If you’re not familiar with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, he’s the man who penned the likes of Flashdance, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, and now a scathing nine-page letter to Mel Gibson with whom he’d been collaborating on a film dubbed the “Jewish Braveheart.”  The Maccabees was allegedly intended to be Gibson’s olive branch to the Jewish community after his much-publicized anti-semitic rants, but the project stalled.  Eszterhas, addressing Gibson, believes he knows why: “You hate Jews.”  The letter, published in full by The Wrap, goes on to detail Eszterhas’ accounts of working with Gibson on the project.     

The objectification of women by celebrities, politicians, and athletes, unfortunately, seems an almost necessary and accepted joke. Here in Seattle a local sports-talk radio station, KJR, yearly caters to the male-dominated audience, filtering interviews with strippers and discussions of women’s “racks” with sports talk. The most egregious example is “The Bigger Dance.”

“WELCOME TO THE BIGGER DANCE: KJR’s Mitch in the Morning’s Bigger Dance is run much like the Big Dance, however, instead of bracketing 64 college basketball teams, KJR brackets 64 beautiful celebrity women. Simply fill out your bracket and tune in to KJR weekdays in April at 6:50 a.m., 7:50 a.m., 8:50 a.m., and 9:50 a.m. for the head to head matchups. With each round we’ll be closer to crowning our 2011 Dancing Queen of the Hardwood!”

Mitch “Dork in the Morning” Levy, creator of the “Bigger Dance,” once bet Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird whether she would better a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The stakes? Mitch would buy season tickets vs. Sue would let herself be spanked on the air as she said, “Harder, daddy, harder!” All good fun, right? I’ll admit, Howard Stern can be funny, and I am all for women acting on free will, but what’s the bigger issue?

In the sporting world sexual assault is not taken seriously enough. From LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant to Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethslisberger, too many athletes get away with mistreating women.

The “Biggest Dork” Sweet Sixteen

 

  1. Charlie Sheen Holds a knife to his ex, three times accused of Domestic Violence, believes 9/11 was an inside job. Early favorite. Said: “Women are not to be hit. They’re to be hugged and caressed.”
  2. Joe Francis CEO of Girls Gone Wild. Guilty of child abuse and prostitution. Said: “I’ve been anally raped over and over by the media.”
  3. Tucker Max Author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Said: “Rape sucks, dude, it’s like, not a joke.” & “Rape’s not funny, but murder can be.”
  4. Fred Phelps Frontman for Westboro Baptist Church. Fantasizes about Michael Savage’s weener. Said: “God hates fags! God hates America!”
  5. Michael Savage Real name Michael Weiner. Fantasizes about penetrating Fred Phelps. Said: “You should get AIDS and die.” (Fired from MSNBC for telling this to a gay-caller)
  6. Rush Limbaugh Divorced three times, married a fourth, but fears Gay-marriage. Said: “Will Americans want to watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” (About Hilary Clinton in the White House)
  7. Ben Roethlisberger Entitled athlete, twice accused of sexual assault, Tennessee police bungled investigation. Still loved by America because he’s a damned good football player.
  8. Julian Assange Investigated for rape in Sweden. Offended NY Times executive editor Bill Keller by implying anti-Taliban Afghani informants should die. Said: “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism.”
  9. Mel GibsonThreatened to kill ex Oksana Grigorieva. Said: “I’ll put you in a fuckin’ rose garden you c*nt!”
  10. Joran van der SlootIf his dorkiness were not overshadowed by evil, would be favored to win. Pissed off because there’s no Tucker Max in Peru’s prison library. Said: “The girl intruded on my private life. She had no right.” (Explaining why he murdered Stephanie Flores Ramirez)
  11. Sarah Palin Who says women can’t be dorks? Said: “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” (In support of abstinence-only education)
  12. Bill O’Reilly Settled his sexual harassment lawsuit with Andrea Mackris. Said: “Just use your vibrator to blow off steam.” (To Mackris)
  13. Mitch Levy Sucked at golf until he paid for lessons at Inglewood Country Club. His game has improved, but still dates insecure women. Said: “We were having an on-air debate over who was hotter – Ginger or Mary Ann.”
  14. Brett Favre Pulls a “John Edwards,” betrays cancer-stricken wife. It’s all about Brett. Still loved by America because he’s a damned good football player.
  15. Ann Coulter Not really a “dork” but a “dorkette.” Fantasizes about Sarah Palin’s breasts. Said: “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.”
  16. Glenn Beck Mormon, believes the Angel Moroni revealed doctrine to Joesph Smith through mystical golden tablets. Covertly wants to reinstate the covenant in Section 132 regarding polygamy. Said: “If you’re an ugly woman, you’re probably a progressive as well.”

Not all mega-dorks made the list, including Mike Huckabee, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, Ron Blagojevich, and many other deserving phallus-and-testosterone riddled wankers… Stay tuned, the 16 dorks will be whittled down the Final Four. Who will reign as “The Biggest Dork?”

 

 

 

I can’t really pinpoint the first time I saw Charlie Sheen in a movie in the same way I can’t really tell you about the first time I ate processed cheese, wore open-toed shoes, or read the word “sluice.”I must have first seen Sheen in Red Dawn.What’s that?You didn’t remember he was in Red Dawn?Neither did I.Not until I recently gave his film credits a fresh glance.I remembered Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, and even Harry Dean Stanton, but Sheen’s name in that roster led to a perusal of Red Dawn clips on Youtube to absolutely prove his presence.Because I still didn’t believe it.I’d seen that film over a dozen times.But, alas, it’s true.He’s a main character.

“Have it say, ‘To a fellow writer.'”

That’s what I said to Harvey Pekar as his black Sharpie hovered over a shiny American Splendor poster in 2003.

He sat in an unbalanced plastic folding chair, his plaid belly smashed against the card table, his hair a dry mess of brown grass, the bags under his eyes so heavy they would have required an extra $25 each to be loaded onto a United Airlines plane.

When I was twenty-eight I saw Jesus Christ give a speech from the back of a pickup truck.

Immediately I called my husband and told him to get his ass over there so that, like me, he might also bask in the glory of Christ. Plus, I needed a witness. Someone my family trusted.

 

We were in the parking lot of LA Panavision, a motion picture equipment company I was working for at the time. A sizable crowd had gathered, and I made sure to stay at the very front so as not to miss the action.

I watched the robed figure in awe, amazed that I should be a few yards away from greatness. But even more so, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I could call my mother and tell her about this encounter, and she would finally be delirious with pride. Everyone would know, because she’d tell them.

And that was the most important thing.

Back then my relatives belonged to a group of immigrant families with a long history of unhealthy competition. Most had known each other from the old country. But even after they had moved to America and their lives had transformed into something decidedly non-Eastern European, the collective desire to show off remained just as fierce.

Accomplishments were a yardstick by which they measured a family’s worth. And since most of the older generations could not properly maneuver the Demolistic (democratic-capitalistic) utopia of the U.S., they used us kids as their race horses.

And the race was always on.

Back on that parking lot I knew my chance had arrived. It was my time to shine. During lunch break I called my mother.

“Mom, you’ll never guess what just happened,” I said.

“You won the lottery.”

“Better. I just saw James Caviezel.”

“Who?”

“You know. The guy from Frequency. He’s gonna play Jesus in that new Mel Gibson movie. They were shooting a scene from it today at work.”

“I have no idea who that is, but did you say Mel was there?”

I should’ve known. James didn’t score high points because he wasn’t famous enough, but Mel would put me in the lead for sure.

When my mother was convinced that yes, in fact, Mel Gibson had also been present, and that yes, we had exchanged words, she promptly ordered me off the phone so she could commence bragging.

I was the most popular person for the entire six months I worked at Panavision. In the eyes of my relatives, their friends, and their enemies, I had made it. Any news was big news. Like the time I almost ran over Tom Cruise with my car, or when I met the cast of That 70’s Show and discovered that one of the main characters spoke fluent Russian, or when Cameron Diaz hugged me for no apparent reason. My mother weaved these bits into lush, fancy tapestries of my ascent into stardom. She told me how jealous everyone was, and that made her feel so proud.

I did meet several fascinating and wonderful people. I loved shaking hands with them, eating lunch with them, joking with them like they were human. At first, it all went to my head.

But I had a husband and a two year-old son at home, and I hardly saw them. Every time I found myself in the company of Hollywood celebrities, my mind drifted to our tiny apartment where my own two stars were probably building Lego castles without me.

And ever so slowly the star struck feeling dissipated.

I felt quite unaccomplished and confused. Wasn’t this the dream job so many people would kill for? Was I unappreciative of the opportunities presented to me? Was my family’s idea of an accomplishment fundamentally different from my own?

After a while I started to hate my job. No matter how much I pretended to enjoy the business, I felt nothing for it. The glitter didn’t blind me, the whirlwind didn’t whirl. I was putting my kid and husband and myself through hell just to impress family, and once I admitted that to myself I knew what had to be done.

I quit. Walked out of the place that hundreds of people would sell their firstborn to get into.

The relatives still ask me why I did it. When I tell them, they give me knowing looks, always suspecting more controversial reasons.

But the truth is simple: I had accomplished so much more by walking away