Monday, July 27, 2009

Erin Andrews in the NUDE!

Just about everybody has weighed in on the plight of Erin Andrews. Fox Sport’s Jason Whitlock fired of an ill-advised racially charged column questioning why there’s a pity party for Andrews when ESPN’s Stuart Scott was caught up in a scandal involving his own privacy being violated when he sent a text message to a possible girlfriend, but mostly people are just beside themselves that some pervert pressed a camera up against the peephole in Erin’s door while she was in her room.

After a lot of searching I finally found the video and I watched it. It was disappointing. The quality of the video was just awful. It’s grainy, fuzzy and blurred. It’s like watching a Playboy video through a slice of ham. You can tell that there’s a tall, skinny blond and it looks like she’s naked but unless you’re 13 it’s not something that’s going to send you scrambling for a box of Kleenex.

The thing that I noticed in the video is that Andrews seemed to spend a lot of time naked. She was apparently getting ready to leave her room and was doing all the things that people do when they get ready. She ironed her clothes, brushed her hair and walked back and forth slowly. It seemed that she also spent a lot of time in front of this camera.

Now I’m not familiar with her room but I can only venture to guess that ESPN’s favorite tasty sideline treat doesn’t shack up at the Motel 6. My money’s on a four or five star place and I have to believe the girl had a pretty nice sized suite. So it stands to reason that most of her room would not be visible from the peephole. Somehow Erin did almost everything she needed to do right in front of the camera. She was in the middle of the frame almost the entire time!

Am I insinuating that she participated in this production? Well, consider that she supposedly thought she was alone and nobody was watching. Did she do any of the embarrassing things most of us would do in those same circumstances? No. She never picked her nose or popped a pimple. She didn’t go foraging in her butt crack or scratch her vagina. Not once did she strike an unflattering pose. Every move she made was graceful if not sensual. So what’s the real story here?

The New York Post invoked the wrath of ESPN by publishing still photos from the video. The New York Post was also quick to point out that the video had been available online for weeks but that nobody took interest until Erin Andrews and ESPN started crying foul. When Andrews took legal action she proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the video was the real thing and it sparked a frenzy. Now she’s an internet sensation.

So why would she do it? Publicity. Look, Erin Andrews is no stranger to the flesh trade. That’s why she’s working at ESPN. There are women who know more about sports, but none of them are going to make Maxim’s Hot 100. ESPN hired Erin Andrews because she looks good and Erin Andrews pursued a career covering sports for that very reason. She started off as a college cheerleader and took the next step. You don’t need to be smart to ask coaches and players how they feel about blowing a 17 point lead. You just have to be somewhat articulate and still look hot when that camera adds ten pounds.

Even though people who worship ESPN think Erin Andrews was already famous, she wasn’t universally recognized. I wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a line up and most people would accuse me of being a sports fan. I just don’t watch that many games on ESPN. In fact, I cheat anymore. I usually skip watching sports in favor of picking up some highlights later in the evening. So sue me.

Erin Andrews probably doesn’t want the highlight of her career being a stint as eye candy on ESPN. She’s got bigger aspirations than that but perhaps not quite enough talent. At 31, she doesn’t have a lot of time to broker her good looks so she’s got to act quickly. Unfortunately she didn’t have Paris Hilton’s ovaries and she stopped short of the requisite sex tape.

So what will Erin get out of this? If she plays her cards right she can hit the harpy talk show circuit and whine about how women aren’t taken seriously because men, evil men with penises, are always objectifying them. Joy Behar will commiserate with her as if she understands.

Erin might be able to lean on ESPN and get a more prominent role. Perhaps hosting a show or at least getting a few meaty sport-oriented assignments. Maybe she’ll go right to the top and have Disney pull strings at ABC and get her a daytime talk show like Ellen, Rachel and Oprah. Unlike Paris, who went all the way to go from a prominent B-list hanger-on to top shelf celebrity tail, Erin’s got the credibility of innocence on her side. She’s not some hussy who got hamstrung by a sleazy ex-beau, Erin’s just a pretty girl who was brushing her hair.

Even if she had no knowledge of this video, I’m going to have to call BS on her being portrayed as a victim. You couldn’t tell who it was in the video. Nobody knew there was any smoke until Andrews yelled “fire”. As for her professional integrity, please. There are too many women who actually open doors with their brains to hold Andrews up as the poster girl for sexism. Andrews willfully participated in the sexism that exists in sports. When you live by the sword you’d better be ready to die by it.

Andrews knows this better than anybody and this is just her latest attempt to get more mileage out of her looks. Sorry, but real people, even good-looking people, don’t look good naked. We do ugly things and if Erin Andrews had really been the victim of a peeping tom she would have been caught doing something a lot more embarrassing than meticulously stroking her long golden locks. Give me a break.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sarah's Solo Act

Are the Republicans really going to hitch their wagon to Sarah Palin in 2012? The same Sarah Palin who ran John McCain’s campaign aground with her neoconservative platform and her vitriolic personality? Democrats must be holding out hope that they are.

It’s more likely that the Republican Party will stay its current course, which is to drift aimlessly in the doldrums until they figure out which way the wind is blowing. Will the Americans people reject Barack Obama forcefully enough to swing back to the far right, or is the moderate stance the best way to go? It’s too early to tell and while Sarah Palin’s grabbing a lot of attention right now, it’s interesting to see that she is on her own. Nobody from the GOP is eager to back her, not yet.

If the economy heats up and the Democrats are able to maintain control of the House and Senate in 2010 the Republicans might have to embrace Palin and her tired old family values act. It’s all Palin has, but it was also all Bush had. It’s all a matter of selling it. The GOP just has to figure out if that’s how they want to be defined.

The problem with Palin is that she quit the only job she ever had that mattered. Being the mayor of Watchamacallit, Alaska doesn’t even look good on a resume if you’re applying for an assistant manager position at Applebee’s and the knock on Palin’s political experience during the 2008 campaign was valid because she hadn’t been governor long enough to demonstrate an ability to see an administration through its first term. Now she’s quitting before she can stick that feather in her cap.

It’s interesting because Sarah Palin really blew her own horn with regard to her political experience. She seemed genuinely convinced that her short stint at the helm of the least populous state in the US qualified her for the top job in the country. She proudly boasted that her experience was more significant than Barack Obama’s but since she bailed on that job in order to cash in on her popularity you have to wonder what her priorities are.

Sarah Palin will probably be much more formidable this time around but they don’t make a smart pill. If they did, the GOP would have been sneaking them into W’s applesauce for the last 10 years. Palin might actually have the coaching to avoid making a fool out of herself with Katie Couric but she’ll always be one unscripted question away from talking out of her ass. It’s also important to note that she’ll be facing a lot more scrutiny if she has the audacity to take a run at the presidency.

As a VP candidate pulled straight out of left, or perhaps more accurately, right field, Palin didn’t have to endure the slings and arrows of her own party. McCain had already earned the nomination and Palin was little more than window dressing. She just had to look good, exude a little vitality and quietly pander to the religious zealots on the far right.

The problem is that Sarah Palin didn’t want to take a back seat. She dressed in expensive suits, wore jackboots and became an unrepentant media whore. Sarah Palin resented John McCain and opposed his platform. McCain’s advisors publicly expressed outrage and disgust over the way Palin conducted herself. She was a shrill conservative harpy who frightened a lot of McCain’s longtime supporters.

There are a lot of people in the GOP who don’t want to see a return to the Rovian agenda and McCain’s failure on 2008 seemed to make it clear that the time was at hand to step away from religiosity and focus on important issues like taxes, spending and a reasonable approach to security; things McCain stood for back in 2000 when he lost his party’s nomination to George W. Bush. Had the McCain of 2000 campaigned in 2008 he might have won, but the older McCain compromised his personal values by embracing the Christian zealots he once vilified. He thought he had to pander in order to win.

The problem the GOP had in the past election is that the loyal Republican base lost faith. A lot of people felt like the Republican Party had lost its way and they voted for Obama. McCain, who had once been a fierce critic of George W. Bush, rebuilt himself in Bush’s image and Sarah Palin reinforced the message. Her only attribute, aside from her relative youth and camera friendly looks, was her appeal to the far right and with McCain resorting to the fear-mongering Bush, Cheney and Rove artfully employed to silence critics it was too much for reasonable people to bear.

Palin overreacted to David Letterman’s joke about her daughter’s unplanned and unexpected pregnancy. It was a poor joke, not by way of tastefulness but simply in execution. Sarah Palin turned a typical late note groaner into a crime against her family. She milked it for publicity and as the limelight started to fade she bellied up to the podium to announce that she was going to quit her job. Palin might even be convinced that it’s for Alaska’s benefit, and given her intellectual acumen she might have a point, but the fact remains that she was elected to serve a four year term. It was the only term to which she had been elected and couldn’t even follow through on that.

She spun it to sound as though her popularity has put Alaska in a tight spot, but she isn’t the first governor to return to her post after a failed VP bid. Senators and Congressman do it all the time. It’s an accepted part of the process. The problem with Palin is that she’s not content to ride off into the Alaskan sunset and bide her time. She doesn’t want to do her job. She’s too damned important.

If she does manage to become president it’s unlikely a more prestigious gig will reveal itself but vanity plays a big enough role in politics. This country doesn’t need somebody whose only motivation is vanity. The GOP doesn’t need to waste what little credibility it has by supporting her.