Everything that is wrong with Hollyweird and its enablers can be summed up in two words: Courtney Love.
Here is a '60s-born trust fund baby who became a drugged-out stripper, a critically acclaimed singer who couldn't sing, and a critically acclaimed actress who couldn't act except when she was playing -- what else? -- a drugged-out stripper.
Along the way, she became pregnant with grunge rocker Kurt Cobain's baby, during which time she reportedly shot up heroin. After Cobain committed suicide, Love cashed in, dropped their toddler off at Grandma's, stole a married entertainment industry mogul away from his pregnant wife, assaulted and threatened journalists, terrorized airline employees and passengers around the world, overdosed on painkillers, and every once in a while paraded her tragic child at movie premieres while tottering about high and half-nude on the red carpet.
Oh, and I haven't even gotten to last week's breast-flashing performance on CBS's "Late Night with David Letterman," the microphone-hurling tantrum at a club after her striptease on Letterman, and the concert stage dive the day after that sent a newspaper photographer to the hospital.
Stripper-turned-celebrity Courtney Love is a wretched embarrassment as a musician, movie star and mother. "Where's Frances?!" she screeched when she lost her daughter backstage at the Grammys last month. After locating the child, Love abandoned her and went out boozing with fellow exhibitionist Paris Hilton. Upon swallowing at least 20 milligrams of OxyContin recently, Love was nursed by Frances, now 11, who made her strung-out (biological) mother some green tea while they waited for an ambulance. "I made it fun," Love explained to People magazine. "I said it was going to be gross, and I was going to have to make myself throw up, but it was going to be OK."
As muckraking authors Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner note in their scathing and exhaustive New York Times best-seller, "Hollywood, Interrupted," Love ranks "among the most troubled and twisted alumni of the entertainment industry annals of fame and its discontents." She merits her own chapter in their brave book, but she is hardly alone (see Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Madonna, Anne Heche, River Phoenix, etc., etc., etc.). Breitbart and Ebner offer an unflinching investigation of celebrity miscreants and their industry, "which condones -- if not outright rewards -- pathological behavior."
The authors refuse to provide what all the fixers, fawners and Doctor Feelgoods in Hollywood peddle to explain celebrities' bad behavior: mealy-mouthed excuses and politically correct spin. Not surprisingly, ingratiating entertainment media reporters and industry titans have made a conscious effort to ignore the book's diagnosis of "insanity chic." The sycophants' coddling of Courtney Love vividly proves Breitbart and Ebner's point.
Now 39 going on 13, Love is vulgar, wasted, violent and vain -- the epitome of the Hollyweird sex symbol. And yet, the industry still adores and excuses her. "She's just battling her demons right now. I think the fans will look past the demons to see the talent underneath," Max Tolkoff of the trade magazine Radio & Records told the press. Underneath what? "Her new album is an odd, appealing collision of precise hard-rock riffs and glassy-eyed screeds," gushed music reviewer Kelefa Sanneh in the New York Times. "Not surprisingly, these songs sound even better when they're half hidden in a haze of jail-induced hoarseness and who knows what else." Sounds like Ms. Sanneh may have been in her own little haze.
Then there's CBS, unrepentant CBS, whose executives were apparently tickled to death by Love's pathetic exhibitionism on Letterman's show. The CBS.com Web site still features a front-page link to the video clip billed as "Courtney Love's Desk Dance." Like a soft-porn spam e-mail announcement, the CBS site luridly boasts: "Oh, Danny boy! Watch Courtney dance on the LATE SHOW." After Love lifted her raggedy top for the charmed Letterman, he grinned from ear to ear and cooed: "Very sweet of you. We're going to lose our liquor license." Cue the audience laughter.
"Take care of me!" Love hysterically demands of her audience. David Letterman and the rest of the selfish abettors in celebrity self-destruction have been all too happy to oblige while poor little Frances counts the days until she officially becomes an orphan. Who'll take care of her? Dave?
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