In the warp-speed world of deadline-every-second news, we’re already into the third generation of Love Child Shocker react stories, just 72 hours after Mark Barabak’s global scoop.
First off the mark: the certified crazies of TMZ and Radar Online, baying in rabid, if futile, pursuit of Arnold’s babymom and unfortunate child:
Maria asked Mildred Baena if her son was fathered by Arnold and the housekeeper broke down and confessed, RadarOnline.com and Star magazine uncovered in a joint investigation (joint indeed -ed.).
Next came the lame, mostly MSM efforts to get in on the feeding frenzy by tarting down a juicy sex scandal as a story about the media, as in the NYT’s solemn intonation, complete with tortured nut graf and questions being mysteriously raised by mysterious sources:
Though the circumstances of such cases are sharply different, they nevertheless raise questions and concerns about where attention should be focused.
And now, at press time, we’re up to our eyeballs in sticky goo produced by pop psychologists (“A split can be transformational…the most challenging times build inner muscles”), relationship experts (“The fact that Maria is taking control of the situation is important not only for her”) and other such parasites on humanity (“Lending feminist cover to a man who gropes and harasses women so he can have power over millions goes far beyond the call of marital duty”).
The paper of record: To its credit, the By God L.A. Times mostly avoided excessive excess, not an easy thing to do considering they’re the ones that got us all into this mess.
They can’t really be faulted for having Seemaeve take a run at Whither Arnold, enabling Steve Lopez to pile on or letting Skelton deliver a surgical coup de grace about what a lousy governor Mr. Dickhead was.
Then again did they really need to send some poor schmuck reporter on the fool’s errand of interviewing random people in Arnold’s Starbucks? Starbucks? Really?
In such a journalistic sitch, the few remaining throwback types who fret about things like credibility and ethics appear to be nothing so much as those really old Japanese soliders who hid in caves for decades, thinking WWII was still on.
Still, Poynter’s Julie Moos performed yeoperson work in sifting and sorting through the prickly issues (which, admittedly, a vast majority of those on the story probably don’t know are issues) as well as anyone could.
In that vein, LAT High Sheriff Russ Stanton earns kudos, both for thinking through what his paper’s policy would be in not naming the baby momma (boy, are we glad we missed that meeting) and for sticking to it, a far more impressive stance than the oh-well-it’s-out-there-anyway position taken by Bill Keller, his counterpart at the NYT (you know, the guys who named the victim in the William Kennedy Smith rape case).
Bottom feeders: Enough with the encomiums – on with the Worst-of-the Schwarzmuscle Sex Scandal Awards!
1-“Arnold’s Love Child – Spitting Image” (TMZ)
TMZ has obtained lots of information — as well as photos — of the boy Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered out of wedlock — and he looks shockingly like Arnold himself…
Sources tell TMZ — in the late ’90s Patty began to “pursue Arnold.” She told friends they would have unprotected sex during the day at the house. Patty never slept overnight at the house and no one ever caught them in the act…
We are not revealing the identity of the boy, however his features are eerily like Arnold’s. We have various pictures of him at various ages (he’s now in his early teens) and each picture shows striking similarities, especially the mouth and teeth.
Three words of advice, Harvey: Hose ‘em down.
2-“Why Maria Shriver Should Take Arnold Schwarzenegger Back” (FoxNews.com)
Now, perhaps for the first time, with Mr. Schwarzenegger’s behavior a secret to no one, Ms. Shriver might have a real opportunity to connect–at a genuine emotional level–with a husband who could confess all of his weaknesses, his doubts and his pain and be (perhaps to his great surprise) loved despite them.
Next up on Fox: Henry VIII — A lovable lunk who just wants to be loved.
3-“Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Failings” (LAT Editorial)
With all the juice running through the Times newsroom, their Department of Thumbsucking and Lofty Thoughts no doubt felt compelled to jump into the fray (“Well, we gotta say something”).
Rather than just doing their sacred duty of riding down from the hill and shooting the wounded – “He was a jerk then, he’s a jerk now and you all should have listened to us when you had the chance” has a nice ring to it – however, they instead erred hideously by trying to be measured, uneasily combining the editorialist’s hoary on-the-hand-on-the-other trick with the ole future- lies-ahead dodge:
As a former politician and a celebrity who wants to resume an acting career, this is a crossroads for Schwarzenegger. So far, his best behavior appears to have been in supporting the child he fathered and in making a straightforward public admission of the facts (although only after he was questioned on the subject by reporters). Whatever happens next, we hope he conducts himself with honesty and integrity, which appear to have been lacking in much of his behavior over the last few decades.
“Crossroads?” Seriously? How about this:
Without question, Mr. Manson’s personal behavior can only be termed reprehensible. Yet as a musician, he clearly is at a crossroads: We find in his engaging voice and warm guitar work clear strains of humanity that he may yet learn, through a reflective incarceration, to transition into his relationships with others.
Sic temper tyrannis.