The Year in Pop Culture Shame!

It was easily the best year in pop-cultural madness since the year before, and to cap off all the ritualized meltdowns and other extremely inadvisable behavior, I've whipped up some tawdry and titillating examples of the best of the year's worst and/or most marvelously mediocre. And so, the winning losers are . . .


Weirdest prenup: NICOLE KIDMANand KEITH URBAN's, which reportedly states that he gets the (faux-cowboy) boot if he goes back on lotsa drugs and booze. That's so loving, isn't it? In other words, "I adore you, honey, but if you fall back into your debilitating illness, you're deader than Bewitched, and you don't get a country dime!" Or maybe it's just tough love designed to help the guy avoid stepping back into his addiction. Lord knows CATHERINE ZETA-JONES's supposed provision that she gets a million smackers every time MICHAEL DOUGLAS cheats has kept him extremely faithful. He's cheap! (Update: Urban did have a boozy relapse and checked into rehab in October, and reports swore that Nicole was devotedly by his side. God, doesn't a weird prenup count for anything these days?)

illustration: Johanna Goodman


Scariest reality: Between LAURA BUSH's old car accident, DICK CHENEY's hunting misfire, JOHN WALKER JR.'s mowing down a cop in an SUV, and the DUBYA-sponsored killings in Iraq, this is one helluva lethal extended family. Come on, MARY CHENEY, club a baby seal!


Zaniest mensch: GEORGE CLOONEY donated his Academy Awards gift bag to Katrina victims. Great—let's hope those devastated hurricane survivors were craving some facial cream, a coupon for Lasik eye surgery, and an aerial tour of Vancouver. (Kidding—I know he donated it to be auctioned off. Hush or you won't get a gift bag at the end of this column.)


The only interesting moment of the whole Oscars telecast: When the animated-film winners (for the Wallace & Gromit flick) thanked HELENA BONHAM CARTER, who had done one of the voices, the camera panned to Carter beaming in the audience, seated with her man, TIM BURTON, who fumed, looking ready to set fire to the whole arena. See, he had just lost for Corpse Bride (which also featured Helena Bonham Carter). Genius! Let's have more of this kind of thing!


My favorite movies of the year:Infamous, Shortbus, Volver, Dreamgirls, Borat, and any other one-word title that proves I'm the gayest creature in Christendom

Speaking of which: I get an inordinate number of e-mails saying stuff like, "I enjoy your column—and by the way, I'm straight!" or "My wife and I like you on TV—and by the way, she's female and I'm male." This is sickening! Do you all feel you have to accessorize any praise of me with an assurance that you're not "that way"? Are you so hormonally insecure that you think appreciating my work is automatically a reflection of your sexual taste and you'd better loudly distance yourself up front because, who knows, I might be keeping a list that I'll turn in to the government so they can eventually round up the gays? Well, you're right! If you like me, you must be gay—and I'm surely gonna let the White House know about it. And they're savage killers, remember?


Blasphe-me-me-me: The church was mad at the Da Vinci Code movie, as if to say, "It's fiction, and it's appalling. Stick to our outlandish fiction!"

Similarly:The Vatican was outraged at MADONNA for hanging from a cross in concert. But that's like if the black community wanted to excommunicate MICHAEL JACKSON. He's already left!

But there was one serious breakthrough: THE POPE actually grudgingly murmured that condom use is OK for married couples when one of them has HIV! That's a pretty limited market, but that still shockingly acknowledges that some people might have sex for fun and that it's maybe sort of allowed. Hooray! He's caught up with the second century!

The inevitable book by Jim McGreevey's children: Fags of Our Father

Which of these celebrity-revelation headlines did you believe? LANCE BASS: "I'm gay!" OPRAH WINFREY: "I'm not gay!"

John Ramsey's probable responsewhen he heard John Mark Karr didn't do it after all: "Oh, right. We did it. Duh."


Celebs' big discovery:Africa! It became the new AIDS, environment, and breast cancer combined in a big ball of glam-attracting concern. And with their pith helmets and suites at four-star hotels, stars decided the place was absolutely divoon—the new Hamptons, darling. I give it 18 months—the average lifespan of a trendy restaurant.


My fiercest new drag names: Megan Whoopee, Faith Healer, Miss Diagnosed, Florence Italy, Penny a la Vodka, Della Ware, Teri Yaki, Sue Veneer, Benna Drill, Anya Toes, Anya Marx, Marion Ette, Mabel Syrup, Anna Sthetic, Phyllis Ophical, and for a drag king, Noah Vail, Al O. Pecia, Graham Crackers, Art Basel, Manuel Labor, or Hugh Suck. Or maybe I'll just stick to Mikey.


We pause now for a brief rant: Much as I adore animated films, the plethora of them that came out this year with inspiring messages about how critters (or vehicles) are good and people are bad made me feel their ka-chinging creators should be forced to live by their own patronizing idealism or die. Cars should have been dumped onto DVD with no hoopla whatsoever (it's more important to be a good soul than to succeed, remember?); the Ant Bully people should find their houses infested with bugs and then be made to join them to learn the importance of community; and the Barnyard bunch, who preached that responsibility is superior to having a messy good time, should never be allowed to make another movie. Otherwise we're destroying our children with hypocrisy and lies!

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