The Week In Review
MONDAY JULY 31 At the close of last week's harrowing parade of rationally defended bigotry and fatally insane anti-Semitism, Last Days made a promise: "Next week: pure escapist bullshit." Today we begin keeping our promise with a week of nothing but celebrity-induced schadenfreude, bizarre crime, and glorious and horrible Hot Tips. A significant portion of the requisite diversion comes directly from one source: Mel Gibson, who crashed into the end of last week with booze in the belly and Jews on the brain. After Gibson's riotous weekend arrest on suspicion of DUI—during which he denounced the "fucking Jews" for starting "all the wars in the world" then complimented a female officer on her "sugar tits"—today brought Gibsongate's first business day of backlash, featuring an array of outraged editorials ("At a time of escalating tension in the world, the entertainment industry cannot idly stand by and allow Mel Gibson to get away with such tragically inflammatory statements," wrote mega-agent Ari Emmanuel on the Huffington Post, urging his Hollywood peers to shun the troubled star) and a short statement from Gibson's rep, who announced that his client "is in a program of recovery at this time."
TUESDAY AUGUST 1 Following his preliminary weekend statement apologizing for his "despicable' but unspecified statements, today Mel Gibson apologized again, this time making explicit overtures to wounded and wary Jews and those who love them. "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite," said Gibson in a press release. "I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery." God only knows how the Chosen Folk will respond, but ABC's not having it: Today the network announced its cancellation of a development deal with Mel Gibson, whose production company had been hired to produce a miniseries about the Holocaust. (!)
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2 After days of emotional outbursts and carefully worded contrition, today finally brought some concrete news to Gibsongate, as Mel Gibson was charged with a pair of misdemeanors: one for driving under the influence, the other for having an open bottle of booze—specifically Cazadores tequila—in his car. Meanwhile, the postmodern world got drunk on Gibson-generated schadenfreude. (To see dazzling footage of Gibson morphing "from hunk to drunk!" proceed directly to Slog, The Stranger's blog (www.thestranger.com/blog).
THURSDAY AUGUST 3 The week continues with the freakish Associated Press report on Phillip Distasio, the 34-year-old suburban Cleveland man who operated a school for special-needs children out of his apartment until he was charged with sexually assaulting nine disabled boys. Representing himself against 74 charges of rape, drugs, and pandering obscenity to minors, Mr. Distasio—an admitted pedophile and self-professed "pagan friar"—told the court that his apartment was a religious sanctuary where smoking marijuana and having sex with children are sacred rituals. "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex," said Distasio to his judge. "The role of my ministry is to get these cases out of the courtrooms." Best of luck to Mr. Distasio, who as an unapologetic pagan-friar pedophile will undoubtedly find himself well-loved in prison.
FRIDAY AUGUST 4 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Seafair-signifying horror of the Blue Angels, whose annual sky-rape was made doubly repulsive by our place in history. In the midst of harsh global warming and a criminal war for oil, can we really be expected to cheer six fighter jets dumping fuel for sport? Especially when they make such a godawful racket? Truly, if the Blue Angels' sound were translated into a smell, it would make people all over town vomit, repeatedly, for most of an afternoon. Would we stand for such an assault? Last Days likes to think we would not, and yet the Blue Angels persist, igniting terrifyingly ambivalent feelings about the benefits of mid-air collisions in the hearts of otherwise empathetic citizens, and causing many cats to pee.
SATURDAY AUGUST 5 Today brings a fascinating tale of synchronized insults and the cross-generational glories of gentrification, courtesy of Hot Tipper Anne, who was biking home through the Central District, "sweating up a series of hills," when she noticed a trio of kids ahead of her on the sidewalk: a pair of little girls—"both probably about 7 years old and excruciatingly cute"—walking along with a girl in her teens. "All three were dressed for a party," reports Anne. "Ruffled dresses, Mary Janes, elaborate up-dos, holding helium balloons. Immediately after I passed, I heard two little-girl voices shout—in eerily perfect unison—'Hey, white girl! White girl! You're as ugly as there is! That's why you got that big-ass nose!' I stopped at the top of the hill and turned around to see the three of them marching toward me. The two little girls shouted as one, 'Bitch!' Bemused and totally entranced by the experience of fielding synchronized verbal abuse from two formally dressed 7-year-old black girls with balloons, I asked them if they would say some more. 'No!' the girls shouted together after a pause. 'Our drill team don't play that!' I didn't want to seem threatening (beyond being an ugly, big-nosed white bitch, I was taller than the teenage girl by eight inches), so I shrugged, told them to have a nice day, and pedaled off." But Anne's final glance back revealed the missing piece of the puzzle: "As I rode away, I looked back and saw the teenager whispering to the girls, who then yelled in unison, 'Go home, ugly white bitch!' So I did. Afterward I couldn't figure out whether to feel sad about the world, bad about my place in it, or honored to have been included in such a brilliantly conceived piece of interactive performance art—a personalized, three-minute amalgam of Village of the Damned, Do the Right Thing, and Welcome to the Dollhouse. I did all three."
SUNDAY AUGUST 6 Speaking of impressive Hot Tips, the week ends with another one: Hot Tipper Jennifer's bracing tale of voyeuristic bowel-voiding and sudden justice on Capitol Hill. "I was walking on Broadway at 7:45 this morning when I noticed a man across the street holding his head and making a tense face. He was kinda squatting in a rhythmic way, and I realized he was taking a shit in his pants. As soon as I realized what he was doing, I felt like an asshole for watching, and at that very moment, I heard a pop beneath my feet, as if I'd stepped on glass. I looked behind me to see two rows of ketchup packets someone had strategically placed across the sidewalk. I walked eight blocks with ketchup sprayed up and down the back of my legs and squishing in my backless shoes." The moral, according to Jennifer: "You watch someone shitting, you get shit on. Dammit."
Don't blame yourself, Jennifer. Send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.