I love when celebrities make asses of themselves. And I love that I have a job that allows me to make fun of celebrities who make asses of themselves. Maybe I love this country—a country that either ignores the obvious or restates it again and again—more than I know. In any case, I certainly know that I love Vanity Fair, a publication I would offer any Martian seeking a thorough understanding of just how gloriously ridiculous and extravagantly awful this nation can be.
September's issue features an exposé on corrupt Army and Marine recruitment, an exploration of the red-state zeitgeist, a report on a vicious $10 billion Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter merger, and a cover story addressing the most pressing issue of our day—the allegedly perplexing dissolution of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston's marriage. "Jen Finally Talks!" it screams.
Boy, does she.
"We have scarcely sat down in the living room . . . when her face crumples," an empathetic Leslie Bennetts writes of Aniston's welcome. "She is instantly aghast. 'I haven't been feeling emotional lately, really I haven't,' she wails, fluttering her hands like Rachel Green in distress, except that this time it isn't funny."
Oh, Jen. Oh, Leslie. Oh, please.
Bennetts is moved by Aniston's wavering but determined strength in the face of Angelina Jolie—I mean adversity. The article constantly quotes as a source one of those heretofore unheard-of actress friends so omnipresent in Los Angeles—whose contact info Aniston must have managed to provide between crumpling and fluttering—who says things like, "[Jennifer] is grieving, but she's taken the high road." The high road, presumably, is the accompanying Mario Testino shot of a topless Jen grieving deeply in a pair of black La Perla panties. (I told you I loved this country.)
Meanwhile, back in Bennettsville, the article expresses bafflement as to how Jolie has managed not be "reviled as the Other Woman," reminding us that Big Bad Angelina was "previously known as a tattooed vixen with a taste for bisexuality, heroin, brotherly incest, mental institutions, and wearing her husbands' blood." Angelina Jolie, lacking any scarlet letter on her ensemble, was on Vanity Fair's cover two issues ago, evidently too far back for Bennetts to answer her own question.
Regardless, Jen bravely battles on, with nothing but wise reflection on her seven years with Brad.
"I still feel so lucky to have experienced it. I wouldn't know what I know now if I hadn't been married to Brad," says she.
Jen, you wouldn't be on the cover of Vanity Fair if you hadn't been married to Brad, you wouldn't be able to take solace in your movie career if you hadn't been married to Brad, and you wouldn't have had sex with Brad Pitt for seven years if you hadn't been married to Brad. Soldier on, girlfriend.
My friend Jamie (not an actress) called me from Southern California recently to tell me she'd been in the grocery store when her dad caught a glance at Vanity Fair and, as oblivious as dads always are, asked what had happened to Aniston.
"Her husband left her for Lara Croft," she replied.
"Oh, well, of course he did," he answered, and calmly returned to his shopping.