After months of unspoken concern, the question suddenly comes at us from all corners. "So," asks the co-worker, the bank teller, the long-distance friend. "What do you think of this war?" Our reply has been a voluminous sputter, blaming our criminal lack of interest on the paralyzing surreality that's gripped the nation since George W. Bush seemed to hijack the presidency with impunity, compounded to infinity by the 9/11 kaboom. Frankly, Last Days still doesn't understand how the Supreme Court ruled Bush into the presidency, and educating ourselves on the intricacies of the Middle East situation well enough to earn an opinion has thus far remained near the bottom of our "To Do" list. In this topsy-turvy age of payola presidents and threats of religious nuclear war, maybe the best anyone can do is enjoy each day as a precious gift, and if this means caring more about the outcome of the Oscars than the outcome of elections, so be it. Or maybe, like a majority of white American men, Last Days' sharpest instincts are for rationalizing our own comfort. Whatever the case, this week's column is devoted entirely to escapist crap.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14 Last Days' Crap Week begins with the latest legal blow for Naomi Campbell, the British supermodel whose courtroom saga began way back in February 2001. That's when the British tabloid The Daily Mirror published a tell-all story on Naomi Campbell's drug addiction, replete with photos of the world-famous supermodel leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in King's Road, Chelsea. Campbell promptly sued, crowing to the press about her "shock, anger, and betrayal," and testifying in court about the Mirror's "lies." In March 2001, a British high court ruling ordered Mirror Group Newspapers to pay Campbell £3,500 for breach of confidentiality and damages. In April 2001, the Mirror filed an appeal, claiming the judge had made "fundamental errors" in reaching his decision--namely, ignoring Naomi Campbell's lies. Despite her sworn-oath testimony, Campbell had been thoroughly addicted to drugs, and the Mirror had an arseload of evidence--including rehab registration forms--to prove it. Today three British appeal court judges upheld the Mirror's appeal, ruling that the story about Campbell's drug addiction had been justified--because it was true. Describing Ms. Campbell as an internationally famous fashion model who courted rather than shunned publicity, Master of the Rolls Lord Phillips said Campbell had gone out of her way to tell the media that in contrast to other models, she did not take drugs, stimulants, or other tranquilizers. "This was untrue," said Lord Phillips. "She had, in fact, become addicted to drugs." The totally busted Campbell must now pay £750,000 in court costs, and pray to God the British courts don't charge her skinny ass with perjury.

Speaking of intoxicated ladies: Today on Bainbridge Island, police arrested an allegedly drunken woman attempting to drive away from an AA meeting. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Kelly Dougherty, 33, had tried to drive away from the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with her six-year-old daughter in the car. Thankfully, Dougherty's boyfriend and another friend pinned her to the ground until police arrived, but the feisty Ms. Dougherty wasn't giving up easy. Police say she punched one officer and kicked another in the stomach before they could wrangle her into the patrol car; once in the car, Dougherty kicked out a window, with the broken glass cutting a third officer's hands. Kelly Dougherty was taken to Kitsap County Jail on charges of felony assault, disorderly conduct, and malicious mischief, where she remains pending $10,000 bail.

Speaking of women who should know better: Madonna has decided to star in another movie, and today Last Days had the pleasure of reading a plethora of reviews for Swept Away via the miraculous Internet. "It fails on every conceivable level," gushed the New York Post, while the Los Angeles Times praised the film's "rough-trade Punch and Judy act," and the typically incontinent Peter Travers at Rolling Stone was inspired to a new level of directness: "It blows." Last Days had the pleasure of attending a screening of Swept Away, and we can attest that all of the above is true and more. In the latest issue of Genre (basically a gay Details), Madonna holds forth on how her devotion to the Kabbalah has affected her art: "In terms of work, I'm much more conscious about what it's about, what message it's sending out into the universe." After viewing Swept Away, a lousy film whose primary messages seem to be "Life is a perpetual power game" and "Hit a woman enough and she'll eventually want to have sex with you," we're left to wonder if, despite her lifetime career of genius reinvention, Madonna is retarded. A quick recollection of things that made us love her--Erotica, Truth or Dare, the "Like a Prayer" video--proves that hers is a most selective tardosity, striking once for every two or three strikes of brilliance. Our theory: In 1982, Madonna made a deal with Satan, promising her everlasting soul in exchange for lifetime status as the world's greatest pop star--a bargain Satan happily accepted, providing Madonna with the genius she'd need to skyrocket herself into unprecedented heights of the pop-star stratosphere. Unfortunately, Madonna forgot to stipulate anything about being a movie star; consequently, as an actress, she's left to her own earthly talents, which have proven, time and again, to be minimal. It's thrilling to see that she's actually getting worse: In Swept Away, every line she speaks hits your ears like a dead fish, with Madonna's feeble, faux-stately voice registering somewhere between a frightened six-year-old in a school play and a pretentious 10th-grader imitating a soap opera. Madonna's meager acting gifts are thrown into strict relief by Swept Away's 30-second fantasy segment, in which Madonna's character lip-synchs a Della Reese tune, mugging sexily, flaunting herself for the camera, and instantly transforming back into the world's most entertaining person. But then it's back to the script, and Madonna's unchangingly bad acting, and zzzzz. Adding injury to insult, today news agencies across the globe relished reporting Swept Away's paltry box-office receipts. In its opening weekend, Swept Away took in a total of $375,000; the only major studio film to do worse in the past decade is 1995's animated Arabian Knight, featuring the voices of Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Beals. (Ouch.) As for future acting endeavors, the only movie role Madonna should even consider accepting is one where she plays a robot, in a film directed by John Waters.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 Nothing happened today (unless you count President Bush's televised signing of the Iraq war resolution, in spite of voluminous calls from U.N. members begging him not to do it).

Nothing happened today (unless you count Hot Tipper Connor's account of the shameless, toothless, and surprisingly well-hung hobo urinating directly onto lunch-hour traffic on Fifth Avenue).

Nothing happened today (at least, nothing frivolous enough for us to pay attention to).


Send your Hot Tips to