The Awful Truth

Better Living Though Hate Mail

Published April 8, 1997 10:01AM (EDT)

those familiar with this space may remember the Ike Turner column, wherein I reamed the coke-frosted soulster, brutally insulting his wife and his new show and his whole purpose. Having verbally pistol-whipped a man infamous for unreasonable flights of rage and childish violence, I wondered nervously what the eventual retribution would be, knowing that it could be anything from a libel suit to murder. So I was overjoyed to get a mere e-mail from Mr. Turner recently.


It was on Prodigy.

PRODIGY? Could it be? My God, I thought, of course he uses Prodigy. The only people who use Prodigy are 13-year-old junior high school students from the Bible Belt and Ike Turner, who must sit like a decomposing animal in the Teen Chat rooms:
"Hi, I'm Cindy Jacobs. I am a sophomore in high school, blonde with a big ass and real big titties. Are there any girls out there who have ever kissed or touched another woman?"
Poor old vulture, tapping away in the dark with his fish-mouthed wife whining at him from the big gold bedroom. "I-EYE-ke! Who are you talking to NOW?!" "Leave me alone, woman!" he growls, fancying himself as aiding the birth of Sensual Exploration in the minds of young ladies rupturing with puberty's clumsy bloom.
I wrote him back: Au contraire, Ike, I said. I got a boyfriend three shades darker than you, and I'm a natural blonde. Then I appeased his ego. You're a huge star, Ike, I said. I am just a tiny, tiny nobody journalist for an online magazine. Why would you possibly care what I have to say?

Just as I was reeling from this victory, I got another e-mail, in reference to a column I wrote about Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman ("Ah, to be a famous person having sex with another famous person. The sheer mammoth narcissism of it all ... Like a sun swallowing another sun ...")

Subject: your article about Uma and Ethan

What the freak is your problem. I happen to be Ethan's half brother and I know that all that crap you said about him is not true. I think you need to get a life and stop dreaming about my brother and Uma doing it, You loser.
Matthew Hawke

P.S. Go suck an egg

This, too, bore the ugly badge of Prodigy. I wondered immediately if Matthew Hawke had ever had an erotic experience with Ike online, both of them pretending to be junior high lesbian cheerleaders.

I also got in trouble, in the last couple of weeks, for quipping about the dented casing of Muhammad Ali that was dragged out like a blind, arthritic dog on Oscar night. Thou shalt not disrespect Saint Muhammad with your foul irreverence, sayeth a bunch of users on the Well. He is our beautiful retired Gladiator of yore. I agree, of course, that the man was a Sun God once, a winged centaur, a glorious warrior of might and humor and imperturbable honor and leonine sensuality. But NOW, he should be kept indoors with a stack of Wallace & Gromit videos and a fruit roll-up and left to relax and enjoy the faraway place where the punches took his head. It wasn't Muhammad I was bashing. It was the cruel handlers who stuffed his jittering arms into a tuxedo jacket and pushed him, blinking and afraid, into the infernal glare of limelight that I took a swat at. If anybody disrespected the Great Man, it was THEM.

Why do I swing so wide and cruel at these figures? Because they are THERE. The slandering of icons is a sport, an exercise, not an act of aggression or bitterness. Why should these people NOT be taunted and roasted? The implication of Fame is: You've made it. You and your grand talents are so bright that you are light years above us poor sucking hacks. To this I say Bosh. Fame is a perverse deformity, an ego-swelling as ludicrous as an extra sex organ. It isn't even the icons themselves that I jolly and assail, it's the huge, tumescent Aura of Otherness, the grandiose Large-itude and super-magnified glamour of these deranged old musicians and dumb pretty kids and Sacred Cow Ornamental Personages.

These people lead lives of choice and ease, surrounding themselves with people of like mind who rarely if ever speak against them. Their days are a parade of constant fluffing and stroking and free stuff from small shop owners and beautiful photographs and roses and the Love of people they don't know. This isn't anybody's LIFE. Life is everybody's personal untrained hammerhead shark, full of emotional whiplash and thwacking spinal spasms, heavy and full of threat and wild, uncivil grace. Nobody is attacking anybody's LIFE, here. Just the maddening blizzard of tinselly potpourri scattered in the icon's wake. Just the tidal waves of false wonder emanating off their shiny suits, and the chrome cash machine that arbitrarily gives them that power.

So when a famous person or his relations writes to me to rebut any of my statements, that means I WON. HA HA HA HA HA HA.

By Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson is a culture critic and author whose books include "A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease" and "Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny." Her new book, "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America's Fashion Destiny," will be published by WW Norton.

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