Rupert Everett insults the world

The British bad boy knocks Shakespeare and Boy George; John Updike turns feminist with praise for Dorothy Parker and E. Annie Proulx.

Published April 14, 1999 10:23AM (EDT)

Anyone familiar with British actor Rupert Everett's history of bad behavior won't be surprised to find him failing to uphold his countrymen's reputation for good manners yet again. That rapscallion Rupert, who carved out a Hollywood niche in the Julia Roberts vehicle "My Best Friend's Wedding," is no stranger to scandal. He caused a media maelstrom in 1989 by outing himself years before it was a Tinseltown trend (before Ellen DeGeneres even met Anne Heche), confessed in the pages of Us magazine in 1997 that he had spent two years supporting his acting habit by working as a gigolo and has long been the butt of British jokes for once sending a fan who insulted his acting a batch of freshly plucked pubic hairs ("in the hope that they [would] help to avoid further grievance," he explained).

But what might startle even Everett followers is the sheer variety of targets he takes on in a snarky interview in the upcoming issue of W magazine. He flings insults at Boy George in one sentence, calling him a disgusting "big blob," and Shakespeare in the next, labeling the Bard an overrated writer who should be banned for the next 100 years (but presumably not before Everett takes a role in an upcoming version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"). He even disses deceased French President Francois Mitterrand for turning France into what he considers "a boring, backward, Third World Country."

But Everett really sticks it to fellow actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, saying their Method acting style makes them "look like hams." Time to check your mail for pubes, Al and Bobby.

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Words to live by

"It's tough to do, but you've got to work at living, you know?
Most people work at dying, but anybody can die; the easiest thing on this
earth is to die. But to live takes guts; it takes energy,
vitality, it takes thought."

-- Exercise guru Jack LaLanne in What Is Enlightenment? magazine.

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John Updike: Women's libber?

Looks like John Updike, the poster boy for the American male WASP literati, might have finally gotten a little sensitivity training. Or maybe wisdom really does come with age.

Who'd have predicted that the pillar of white maleness (whose admittedly brilliant novels often portray women in a light so unflattering as to be considered almost fluorescent) would be the fellow to finally welcome female voices into the American literary canon? But so he has. His choices for the "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" (released in March by Houghton Mifflin) include classic jottings by Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter and Dorothy Parker, as well as the work of incredibly talented contemporary female writers E. Annie Proulx and Lorrie Moore, alongside stories from the usual testosterone-toting suspects such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and John Cheever.

Even more astounding, this week, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author (for "Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit at Rest") makes the following proclamation in the pithy pages of Entertainment Weekly about what he calls the "quite female" mix of authors: "Women in some ways are better situated to describe ... the glorification of the daily experience of our mundane existence. Men dealing in power aren't apt to be very reflective about it."

Quick, somebody administer CPR to Harold Bloom!

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The stuff of genius

"It feels like -- a million bucks!"

-- Kathleen Akins, who is working to unravel philosophical questions about human thought by studying sensory systems, on what it feels like to be one of 10 young scholars awarded $1 million and designated a "genius of the 21st century." Quoted in the Washington Post.

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Size does matter ...

What are the chances? In back-to-back rumors zinging over the wires this week, a guy in New York is claiming to be the world's most well-endowed man and a guy in New Jersey is bragging that he's the owner of the world's largest pickle. Who to find more impressive?

Jonah Falcon, 28, is so proud of his 13-inch-long, three-inch-wide member, he's writing a screenplay (non-pornographic, he insists) chronicling its ups and downs (and you thought the creators of "Boogie Nights" had already done that). He's calling his flick, charmingly, "Jonah: Confessions of a Horse-Hung Boy."

Meanwhile, Frank Meczkowski, director of product development for Vlasic Pickles, says his whopping new pickles -- each of which measures 16 inches long and three-and-a-half inches around and weighs in at about five pounds -- are designed to fit across an entire hamburger patty when sliced. He's calling his new giant gherkins, introduced Tuesday in Chicago, Vlasic Hamburger Stackers.

Cross them both and you'd have a Lorena Bobbitt dream come true.

By Amy Reiter

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