The Fix

Editors warned of "head on a platter" in Doonesbury strip; Gene Simmons upsets Australian Islamic community; Morrissey calls Bowie names.

By Salon Staff

Published May 14, 2004 9:00AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:

Bad timing: A letter sent by the Universal Press Syndicate to editors around the country warns them that the May 23 Doonesbury strip will include an image of "a head on a platter." The strip was drawn in April. (Poynter Forums)

Good timing: The Istanbul Archaeology Museum opened its Troy exhibit in time to coincide with the premiere of the film "Troy" today. A spokesman said tourists had been clamoring to see the Troy relics partly because of the advance publicity for the movie. (Reuters)

Rocker raps Islam: Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons, on tour with his band in Australia, angered the Islamic community there Thursday by saying on a radio show that Islam is a "vile culture" that treats women worse than dogs. The chairman of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Yasser Soliman, said "A number of his claims regarding women and what they are allowed to do and not do are wrong -- Islam teaches the opposite." (AFP)

Morrissey raps Bowie: Morrissey did his first TV interview in 17 years in England and used the opportunity to criticize David Bowie, calling him "Showie" and saying that the Ziggy Stardust visuals were someone else's idea. He added, "Now he gives people what he thinks will make them happy, and they're yawning their heads off. And by doing that, he is not relevant. He was only relevant by accident." (Ananova)

Keep the gag? The prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case are asking the California Supreme Court to uphold a gag order to "maintain an untainted pool of potential jurors." The appeal came in response to a request from news organizations to lift the order, which bans anyone connected to the case from talking about it. (NBC4)

--Karen Croft

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Turn On:
The run of season finales continues with the last episode of Kelly Ripa's show "Hope & Faith" (Friday 9 p.m. ET; ABC). Guilty pleasure alert: The Movie Channel is running back-to-back Ben Affleck flicks, starting with "The Sum of All Fears " (Friday 8 p.m. ET; TMC), followed by "Changing Lanes" (Friday 10 p.m. ET; TMC).

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Whole lotta Love: Courtney Love was arraigned yesterday for hurling a microphone from a stage during a concert at New York club Plaid a couple months back (the fan she hit with the mike ended up with several staples in his head), but the real action at the Manhattan courthouse took place not in the courtroom but in the ladies' room, where the singer/actress held an impromptu stallside press conference for female reporters. "Most of the grunge goddesses' unstrung pearls of wisdom were scattered about as she squatted comfortably on the grimy floor of the second-floor room," reports the New York Post. Among them: "Mrs. Consuela was the pet name for his genitals" (the paper notes that it was "unclear" whose genitals Love was referring to), " "Let me say something rude -- I'm really rich!" and "I think God f- - -ed me for committing too many adulteries." (N.Y. Post) The New York Daily News adds that Love cadged a half-smoked cigarette from a random passerby; took a little time to touch up a drawing of her by a court artist, adding longer eyelashes and hair and admonishing, "Come on, I'm much prettier than that"; and expressed regret at not having returned Russell Crowe's phone calls some time back, saying, "That would've been a hot date." (N.Y. Daily News)

Getting Carter: Both the L.A. Times and the New York Times have run their highly anticipated stories on Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's alleged conflicts of interest in covering a movie industry he's become increasingly cozy with. And? "Among other things, Carter received a 'consultant fee' of $100,000 from Universal Pictures, which financed the Academy Award-winning film 'A Beautiful Mind.' Vanity Fair had earlier published excerpts from the book on which the movie was based," reports the California paper, noting that, according to a source, "'Beautiful Mind' producer Brian Grazer, who also is a friend of Carter's, was uncomfortable about the approach but ultimately authorized the money. When Grazer accepted the Oscar for best picture, along with director Ron Howard, he thanked Carter." Also in question: The $1 million advance, which some say is higher than might be expected, from the books division of Miramax Films that Carter split with Spy colleagues for a book on the now-defunct magazine and the $12,000 fee Carter collected to play a small part in Paramount Pictures' upcoming remake of "Alfie," which the paper contends is "an amount considerably above the Screen Actors Guild's minimum scale" and notes that Vanity Fair recently ran a prominent photo of the past and future "Alfie" stars Jude Law and Michael Caine in its pages. (L.A. Times) "Vanity Fair has been blurring the lines for some time," Cynthia Gorney, associate dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, opines to the New York Times. "But there is something particularly distressing about the nice round figure of $100,000 and the fact that it directly lined Mr. Carter's pocket." (N.Y. Times)

From bad to worse at Vanity Fair: The glossy magazine is facing another scandal: A woman named Martha (Marti) Shelton has alleged that V.F. writer Dominick Dunne paid her to lie for some of his stories, including one on Erik and Lyle Menendez in April 1994 and another on Gary Condit. Dunne has confirmed that he "did indeed send her money from time to time," but says that the checks were not in exchange for information -- true or false -- but merely because he felt sorry for the woman. "I'm a soft touch for a hard luck story," Dunne says. "I always have been." (N.Y. Post)

Allergic reaction ... live: ABC TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was rushed to a Hollywood hospital immediately after taping his show Wednesday night and treated for an undisclosed allergic reaction after viewers watched his face swell and his voice go raspy on the air. (Drudge)

And the winner of the bonus "Survivor" million is ... Rupert Boneham. The big, bearded guy from Indianapolis was awarded the $1 million popularity prize last night after 38 million viewers -- what "Survivor" host Jeff Probst called "America's Tribal Council" -- cast their votes for him. (Associated Press)

Ready to tell her story: Alexandra Polier -- the young Columbia J-School grad apparently falsely accused, a few months back, of having had an affair with Sen. John Kerry -- is reportedly working on an article for New York magazine in which she will tell her side of the story. Rumor has it she'll be paid $10,000 for her piece. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

George, SWM: Novelist Ann Patchett has written that her friend, late writer Lucy Grealy, once went on a date with George Stephanopoulos after she placed a personal ad in the New York Review of Books referring to herself as "fetching." Responding to the ad with a note, Stephanopoulos said he liked the word and the two got together for a drink, but Grealy told her friend there were "no sparks." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

-- Amy Reiter

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