Mind Of Man: In Defense Of Jesse James
Well, this is going to make me popular. Ladies, gentlemen, and hatebots of the jury, I stand before you to defend a humble motorcycle mechanic who made some very poor life choices. Jesse James committed adultery, and betrayed the trust of his betrothed, a wealthy woman who cares for his child from another marriage. The knowledge that such a union has been threatened, if not wholly wasted, is punishment enough. But no, this man must suffer death by a thousand bitchy little internet comments.
On one hand, he’s a faithless cad whose public apology sounded like a little boy caught with his pants full of contraband cookies. On the other hand, if you prick him, does he not bleed? And on the other mutant hand-tentacle, why does anyone care about a showbiz redneck jackknifing his marriage to an Academy Award-winning movie star? Leave him alone.
Jesse James has enough troubles without having to absorb the paranoid rage of millions of women convinced that every man is a cheater. Whenever some rich, famous guy gets caught in a tacky sex scandal, the rest of the male gender pays a price. We’re not all cheaters. We’re not all threatened by women who are more successful than we are. We’re also not all entitled to think that we’re somehow exempt from basic moral choices.
Sometimes I think our entire society needs one big collective hobby. Just a group activity to calm our nerves. We’re all so angry. Seriously, what do we have to be so angry about? My supermarket sells eight different kinds of salsa. Whatever. I’m going to stand up for Jesse James. Here it goes: mind your own business.
Jesse James’ life sucks, and it’s entirely his fault. Greek tragedies always followed a lofty king who makes a fatal mistake, then stabs out his own eyes because he’s all, “Man, I killed my old man, boinked my moms … I’m such a wang face!” That fatal mistake is almost always hubris, which is another word for “arrogant pricks who think their farts smell like cotton candy kisses.” Tragedy in the ancient world had a social function. To reinforce the notion that no matter our earthly station in life, we are all mortal screw-ups. And to teach the very simple but very important lesson that when we point in judgment, we have three fingers pointing back.
Instead of working out your Post-Romantic Trauma Stress Disorder on a total stranger who happens to have 99 problems (and a lady is directly or indirectly every single one), give the universe a rest from your negative vibes. Pity the guy. He’s probably going to get dumped by his wife, beloved actress Sandra Bullock. His ex-wife, a former porn star who is finishing doing time for tax evasion, is suing to get custody of their daughter. And his former mistress, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, a demented groupie with a Nazi fetish and a forehead tattoo, is threatening to do the unspeakable – make an internet comedy video. His life is a parody of a country song. An epic white-trash opera. Where were his friends? They should have warned him that people with huge foreheads tattoos are broken. I’ve known one person with a forehead tattoo. He had LSD etched above his brow and he hated being touched, because he was afraid that he’d “spill.”
It’s all an embarrassing spectacle. And the hive cruises by, rubbernecks, and flips the bird. Throws a Molotov cocktail. Readjusts the halo, hits the gas and zooms away. As if we’re all not guilty of some crime of the heart. Humans make mistakes. You know what doesn’t make mistakes? The Borg. Miscalculations, sure …
In the rock musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” there’s a scene where a mob is chasing the hooker with the heart of gold, Mary Magdalene. They want to stone her to death, and not “stoned” in the Ben & Jerry’s sense. Hippie Jesus jumps in front of the mob and sings the following:
“If your slate is clean/Then you can throw stones/If your slate is not/Then leave her alone.”
This is pretty much exactly how it goes down in the Gospel. Except for the dancing. And the anti-Vietnam subtext. But the sentiment is solid. Moral vigilantism is not justice. Jesse James is a big fat celebrity. Maybe being a celebrity means surrendering a certain amount of your human dignity. He knew what he was doing. It seems to me that obscurity is the best sentence the rabble can hand down. Let him whimper in the dark, far from the spotlight.
But the hate levied at him, and, frankly, the other freaks in the celebrity gossip sideshow, says a lot more about the haters than the hated. It says that the haters think their farts don’t stink. And they do.
Oh, yeah. I rest my case.
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Photo: Splash News