This Week In Disgrace
Cliffs Notes for the shaming.
We haven’t seen this many celebrity asses in the same week since the 2014 iCloud hack, so if you’ve lost track of who’s disgraced themselves recently, here’s a recap. Each celebrity disgrace is rated on a scale of one to five peaches representing the amount of ass shown, with one being “just a coin slot” and five being “the whole ass.”
Drew Barrymore: 🍑🍑
Early last week, in an Instagram statement demonstrating exactly how much she needs writers, Barrymore announced she would resume production on her talk show without writers but “with an astute humility.” As of Friday she was still crossing the picket line outside her studio, despite being dropped as the National Book Awards host, with a grim resolve that lasted until yesterday, when she found a nice sans-serif italic Instagram template which she used to say “Oops! Never mind lol.”
Rating: I was going let Drew off with only one peach because she did reverse her bad decision, but I’m bumping it up to two because (1) she deleted all the other Insta posts which made researching this a much bigger pain than it should have been, and (2) the weaselly passive voice with which she “truly hope[s] for a resolution for the entire industry.” A resolution from whoms’t, Drew? FROM WHOMS’T?
Bill Maher: 🍑🍑
Bill Maher’s narrative arc was roughly the same as Drew Barrymore’s, but characteristically both crueler and stupider. Maher’s “returning to production” statement began: “Real Time is coming back, unfortunately,” and I’m’a stop you right there bud, enough said. But he didn’t stop there, he went on to explain that the show wouldn’t have a monologue or any editorial pieces and ”will not be as good as our normal show, full stop.” A low bar, yes, but he was committed to not clearing it.
However today Maher also tweeted that he will not return to production, “now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table,” which appears to be centrist code for “the bosses are cracking.”
Rating: Two peaches. It would have been more but like the quality of his show, expectations for Maher start so low it’s nearly impossible for him to meaningfully disappoint.
Hasan Minhaj: 🍑🍑🍑
On Friday The New Yorker’s Clare Malone profiled the comedian who, before this profile came out, was one of the top contenders to replace Trevor Noah as host of “The Daily Show.” Malone focussed on the fact that in his standup work, Minhaj has told several dramatic personal stories that seem backed with specific names and details, but are not true. His daughter was not hospitalized after not being exposed to a white powder in the mail, which was not anthrax. He was not “entice[d]… into talking about jihad” by an F.B.I. infiltrator to his childhood mosque, a man he identifies in the bit as Craig Monteilh, who is an actual F.B.I. informant. And what he did to the girl who didn’t want to go to the prom with him in high school? Oof.
Ok none of these stories were true but the fact that you believed them really says something about society, man, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. If only there were a way we could have seen something like this coming.
Rating: Three peaches. This is middle school behavior, stop it.
Jann Wenner: 🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑
Rolling Stone founder and clueless Boomer archetype Jann Wenner gave an interview to the New York Times Magazine’s David Marchese about his new book of boring interviews with white men from the history of Boomer rock. He admitted that his interview subjects (i.e. his industry pals) were given pre-publication review and allowed to make edits on their own interviews, and doesn’t seem to have any idea why that isn’t ok, which in nine profiles out of ten would be the wildest thing a journalist could admit on tape. But everyone forgot about that immediately because what happened next was this:
There are seven subjects in the new book; seven white guys. In the introduction, you acknowledge that performers of color and women performers are just not in your zeitgeist. Which to my mind is not plausible for Jann Wenner. Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, the list keeps going — not in your zeitgeist? What do you think is the deeper explanation for why you interviewed the subjects you interviewed and not other subjects?
Well, let me just. …
Carole King, Madonna. There are a million examples.
When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers, OK? Just to get that accurate. The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.
If you have time, the audio of this is really worth it. He keeps going for quite a while. Wenner was immediately kicked off the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which he co-founded. He issued a statement saying that his words “don’t reflect my appreciation and admiration for myriad totemic, world-changing artists whose music and ideas I revere and will celebrate and promote as long as I live,” an appreciation and admiration that Ben Sisario seems to have had some trouble finding evidence of in Wenner’s “viciously anti-woman” magazine and his predominately white, male Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Rating: Five peaches, Jann. You've got a hell of a lot to learn about Rock 'n' Roll.
Russell Brand: ❌❌❌❌❌
The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches published a heavily paywalled and region-locked report “in which,” says CNN’s Dan Heching, “four women alleged Brand sexually assaulted them in separate instances between the years 2006 and 2013. One of the women said she was 16 and Brand was 31 at the time of the alleged assault in London.”
Rating: Five Xes, may his name and his memory be erased to all but the criminal justice system.
Sean Penn: 🍑🍑
In Variety, the actor and felony assault enthusiast went into a ‘roid rage about the Oscars not inviting his pal Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last year when it instead broadcast the infamous Will Smith slap. It’s a pretty wild thing for this particular man to call out, given… gestures at Sean Penn’s entire past… all this.
Rating: Three peaches? I don’t even know, it doesn’t seem to have broken through the week’s overall chaos so maybe just two.
Lauren Boebert: 🍒🍒
Gun totin’ Congressional diarrhea merchant Lauren Boebert was kicked out of a Denver performance of “Beetlejuice: The Musical” for vaping and, it turns out, having a little lights-down public grope with her date, a Democrat and the co-owner of an Aspen bar that “has staged at least one drag show,” according to the New York Post. I take no pleasure in reporting that getting frisky in a theatre is the only relatable thing Lauren Boebert has ever done. All of Bluesky took a shot at dunking on Boebert this weekend and it was briefly like old Twitter reborn.
Rating: Two cherries practically hanging all the way out.
Jimmy Fallon: 🍑🍑❌
What did Fallon even do? I can’t remember. Oh right, toxic workplace. Technically not this week, but now the Russell Brand disgrace is starting to absorb and revive the Jimmy Fallon disgrace.
Rating: Two peaches and one X? I have no idea what these ratings mean anymore.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher: 🍑🍑🍑🍑
Rating: Four peaches for how utterly unnecessary this was.
Bari Weiss, Grimes et. al.: 🍑🍑
Kerry Howley wrote the definitive review/roast of Weiss’s stunty LA “debate:”
Banality is like entropy; everything collapses into it in the end. And so the organization premised on relentless self-congratulation for the capacity to offend leaves us with this: respect mothers…
What would Paglia say about this soft chthonic inability of four women to disagree with one another?
Rating: Two peaches. A bad time was had by all.
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501: 🖍️🖍️🖍️
Rating: Three crayons. A delicious snack.
A Tale of Two Wives: Elle magazine asked Anne Helen Petersen for an “I was a tradwife for a week” stunt blog, which as an assignment makes no sense so it’s probably fair that she wrote a piece about not really doing it. Meanwhile in The Baffler, the always-great Gaby Del Valle made it very clear what the tradwife movement is actually about:
The past that tradwives want to return to, an anachronistic pastiche of rugged pioneer individualism and midcentury familial plenty, never really existed. The lifestyle they promote is, like the Neelemans’ faux-rustic kitchen, a thoroughly modern construction: its incongruous elements are concealed behind bespoke doors and linen curtains. These aesthetic signifiers, confused as they may be, point to periods of American history in which white families were prioritized above all others. And some tradwives are explicit about their desire for racial supremacy.
Today’s Song: Mannequin Pussy,"I Got Heaven"
Sorry this is so late today but it took me forever and then Substack went down. I started off optimistically thinking there were only like four celebrity disgraces but there were… more. So many more. Please subscribe if you like learning about terrible things! This was a good idea for a career, I have no regrets.