We’re living in a time when nothing is anybody’s fault. Whatever it is about your life that’s not right, somebody can be blamed for it.
Are you overweight? Blame McDonald’s for making their food so appealing. Got lung cancer? Sue the tobacco makers for getting you hooked on four packs a day. Lose your job? It must be because the boss didn’t like you because you are a gay, Black female who is overweight and suffers from lung cancer from smoking four packs a day.
But when it’s time for a real pity party, you can’t beat Oprah Winfrey. Not only can you cry her a river about how much your life sucks and she’ll provide more than just a comforting hand and a box of Kleenex. Oprah will give you a national forum for your blubbering, moaning and bitching.
Seems that Oprah’s ratings have slipped a bit lately. Maybe it’s a small backlash due to her public endorsement of Barack Obama during the presidential campaign or maybe it’s just a natural erosion of a talk show that’s been on over 22 years.
Either way, the “O” has found a way to juice up her sluggish ratings; provide a stage for drugged out divas and washed up TV actresses who have hung on past their sell-by date. Whitney Houston, trying for yet another comeback, told the “O” how Bobby Brown abused and confused her and turned her life into a living hell. Former child star Mackenzie Phillips stopped by the show to tell the world how her daddy liked to stick his penis in her. Did I really need to know this?
It doesn’t take much to believe Bobby Brown is no fun-filled fiesta to live with, but then so it could be said about Whitney Houston. Miss Whitney’s image was one of the sweet good girl blessed with superior vocal pipes and unlimited talent. At her peak Whitney could sing the phone book and sound good. But Whitney had her rough edges to and Clive Davis, producer to the stars and musical Svengali, spray-painted and constructed a clean-scrubbed, healthy and well-adjusted image around Houston that only every now and then fell apart and the real Whitney showed her face to the world.
And a pretty face it was not. Christopher John Farley, the former pop music critic for TIME said in an interview, “Now and again, you meet people who aren’t as interesting or as nice as you might have thought. For example, Whitney Houston. When I interviewed her some years ago down in Miami, every other word out of her mouth was an “F” word. She cursed more than Snoop Doggy Dog…and then later, as your more untrustworthy stars are apt to do, she denied what she said to me in Entertainment Weekly. Luckily as a journalist—if you’re a good journalist–you tend to tape your interviews, your big ones. So I had the whole interview on tape, and I played it for anyone who wanted to hear it. And that was put to bed. Now and again you’ll run into artists like that who really aren’t like the public image. That was not as pleasant an experience as one might have thought going in to interview Whitney Houston.”
I don’t believe Whitney Houston. I don’t believe Mackenzie Phillips either. Not automatically. Not without something besides “she said/he said” or “she said/he’s dead.”
It’s not that I don’t think Bobby made Whitney’s life hell. Their relationship was like watching a train wreck in slow motion: horrifying, yet fascinating at the same time. But how much of it was her own damn fault? Did he hold her at gunpoint to record Something In Common? I know it’s always cool to bash Black men for being emotionally and physically abusive and generally not worth a damn, but who made Whitney stay with Bobby? Doesn’t her own sorry ass bear any responsibility for the crack and grass she smoked? When she was sucking on that glass dick did Bobby make her do it or was she doing it by her own choice?
One Day At a Time went off the air 25 years ago and it’s been 25 years since anyone gave a shit what Mackenzie Phillips had to say about anything.
Now she’s got a book coming out. Would you plunk down your $25.99 to read about her cocaine addiction? Ehhh…starting to feel sleepy.
Well, how about if we sex it up a bit? Daddy used to screw me. He screwed me right before I got married. That cad!
It is an immense help that John Phillips is dead and can’t defend himself. It saves him from issuing a press release nobody would believe.
Which isn’t to say I believe Mackenzie Phillips either. I just find the timing of her revelation very fortuitous. For selling copies of her shitty book that is.
I understand there are such things as ‘repressed memories” in women about sexual abuse. As a victim of sexual abuse herself, Oprah has a soft spot for survivor stories. I try to be skeptical instead of cynical, but I can’t help it when someone drops a bombshell about a evil secret from their path when they’re trying to sell a book or a record.
That’s when it looks a lot less like being a victim and more like just working on a hustle.
The natural inclination to a story like this about some innocent girl being raped by her degenerate father is something along the lines of Oh, you poor thing. I feel so sorry for you. You are so brave.
Because men are dogs, right? The little head does all the thinking, not the big head. If it moves we’ll screw it and if it doesn’t move fast enough we’ll screw it.
Because men are dogs. Dirty, disgusting dogs.
But what if John Phillips wasn’t a dog? At least not the kind of dog that would screw his own daughter.
What if she’s just trying to sell her book? After all, you can’t slander a dead man.
Sometimes when we give people the benefit of the doubt, they don’t really deserve it. I’m not saying with certainty that Mackenzie Phillips doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, because I’m not certain.
Can anyone say with certainty though that she does?
I guess since a real victim like Jaycee Dugard, who’s really gone through hell and back, isn’t speaking to the media yet, Oprah has to take what she can get. If that means giving a has been actress and past her prime singer face time to blame someone else for their miseries, that’s as good as it gets.
I look at these two b.s. artists with their sad stories and I don’t see victims. I just see crybabies and losers. But there is some educational value to be found in Whitney and Mackenzie’s “love me, I’m a survivor” stories. Bashing and blaming men for all your problems is a fallback position that never goes out of style.
Another thing I learned from this soap opera? There is no synonym for “misogynist.”