Wednesday, February 7

To rehab and have not.

Here's a shocker: Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor recently embarrassed by a very public adultery scandal (heh, I accidentally typed "very pubic" just now), is entering rehab. 'Cause he's a drunk, see. And that made him cheat on his wife.

Now, first of all, if this guy was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle and cheated on her, what he needs is not Betty Ford but probably the Burton Blatt Institute, because he is clearly retarded. But let's take a look at the laundry list of people who have preceded Newsom into rehab in the past few weeks:

· Mel Gibson, entered rehab July 31 after going on an anti-Semitic rant during a traffic stop (and calling a female cop "sugar tits").

· Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), entered rehab in September shortly after pleading guilty to bribery and other corruption charges in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

· Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla), entered rehab October 1 after resigning his seat due to charges that he was chasing underage male House pages.

· Michael Richards, entered rehab in November after responding to hecklers at a comedy show by going on an N-word-filled tirade.

· Tara Conner, entered rehab right before Christmas after sullying the good name of Miss USA by going on a drunken coke-filled bender.

· Lindsay Lohan, entered rehab January 17 because she was a drunken whore.

· Isaiah Washington, entered rehab January 24 after an ongoing controversy in which he repeatedly referred to one of his "Grey's Anatomy" costars as a "faggot."

And now Newsom. Of this illustrious group, clearly Tara Conner actually needed to go to rehab, because she was seriously going off the deep end. But it's interesting how the rest of them just suddenly discovered they were alcoholics only after being exposed as a Jew-hater/racist/homophobe/teenage-boy-buggerer/etc. (I would say that Lindsay Lohan really needed the rehab, too, but apparently she's been taking off whenever it suits her and "treating the facility like a hotel," so her rehab stint looks almost as much like a publicity stunt as it does for all the others.)

Rehab has turned into such an automatic knee-jerk step for any celebrity caught doing something monumentally stupid that even the word "rehab" has become an instant punchline. And as someone who's seen relatives go into rehab because they were, you know, actually alcoholic and in danger of drinking themselves to death, this really pisses me off. My loved ones had to struggle with actual addiction, and in some cases the struggle just to get them into rehab tore our family up in ways that still haven't been completely healed; these people go into rehab based on advice from a publicist and then pop out in two weeks expecting their reputations to be completely scrubbed clean.

Yeah, I know, the Honorable Judgey McJudge is presiding, court is in session, and what right do I have to be judging these people blah blah blah. But I'll tell you something: Even when my rehab-bound loved ones were at their very lowest point, they never accused Jews of being the source of all the problems in the world, fucked around on their wives, chased after teenage boys, or accepted bribes from a disgraced lobbyist. When douchebag celebrities imply that their spurious "alcoholism" was responsible for all this misbehavior by going into rehab, it not only insults our collective intelligence, but also feeds misinformed stereotypes about what kind of people alcoholics are and what they do.

It wasn't so long ago that if a celebrity or athlete or politician went into the Betty Ford Center, it was done as secretly as possible, because they didn't want anyone to know just how far they'd sunk. Does it say anything to you that they're now announcing their rehab trips to anyone who will listen? It does to me. Rehab used to be a last-ditch effort for people whose lives had all but completely collapsed; now it's a first-ditch effort for people in need of a good career move. And I'm sorry, call me judgmental if you like, but that ain't right.

Maybe instead of a dead pool next year, I'll do a "rehab pool" where everyone has to list five people they think are going to do something idiotic and then race on over to rehab claiming that alcoholism was the cause of their stupidity. Who would the candidates be? Not disgraced male-prostitute-fucking televangelist Ted Haggard -- he's "completely heterosexual" now (pfft), and don't you forget it. How about Lisa Nowak, the astronaut facing charges that she was on a mission to murder a "romantic rival"? You know, except for the NASA connection, that story wasn't even all that bizarre until it was revealed that she wore an adult diaper for the duration of her 900-mile drive from Houston to Orlando so that she wouldn't have to stop for potty breaks. I mean, before, she was just on some Amy Fisher shit, but you throw diaper-wearing into the mix and you're officially bringing Teh Crazy.

Incidentally, I noticed in the linked story that Nowak is being forced to wear a GPS device so that the authorities can monitor her whereabouts. That's right -- she's being tracked by satellite. How ironic is that? Way more ironic than a Death Row pardon two minutes too late or ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife, at the very least. Truly, the space program giveth, and the space program taketh away.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Doug. I was recently listening to some random news network as they were breaking down they negative consequences of Paris Hilton's DUI charge. The correspondent made a very funny point by saying that it actully boosted her appeal, and the only thing left for her to do now was to have a stint in rehab. I know there are some celebs who probably need rehab or needed it at some point (Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Mickey Rourke, anyone who appeared in a "Police Academy" movie) but that doesn't mean it can be used as an excuse to keep from guilt tripping yourself. Save rehab for the people who need it, not for embarrased celebs.

By the way, I expected a full fledged topic exclusively about the NASA bitch (which is how I will refer to her henceforth.)

Anonymous said...

Well, Newsom did say it was no excuse, according to the gossip column of the Washington Post, which I noticed only because it's on the same page as Doonesbury... yeah.

Since the astronaut was from Rockville MD, the local news thoughtfully sent a news truck to take footage in case her parents came rampaging out. Unless they were the source of the Depends, I don't see the value...

Anonymous said...

What about Keith Urban? Going into rehab (and leaving and returning when you feel the need) to get your wife good PR is kind of stinky too.

Anonymous said...

With respect to Capt. Nowak: Consider this- a woman who graduated from Annapolis, flew electronic warfare planes, was a test pilot and then an astronaut, clearly had the "right stuff". What in the world could lead someone with this background to act in such a audaciously bizarre fashion? Clearly this woman has had some sort of "nervous breakdown", if one can excuse the timeworn non-medical phrase. Whether she is manic, psychotic, or afflicted with some other psychological condition, is she not more appropriately pitied (and prayed for, if that is one's way) than ridiculed? This is a tragedy,not a farce.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear! Rehab is not synonymous with "SPA" or "Vacation," it is supposed to be a time locked away from all the bad influences so that an individual can focus on what it is that makes them an addict. Celebrities use it like a Kleenex to mop up their messes. No wonder those who are at Wonderland with the annoying Lohan are pissed: they want to get better and she's just avoiding the photogs (although not too seriously, she's out shopping every day, clubbing on the weekends, and on set).

Universal Remonster said...

While I understand your sentiment GFC, I still think that there is something farcical about and astronaut "going over the top". Or maybe "getting spacey" if that suits you. WHatever. We laugh at people's expense every day, and we are all often the butt of these same jokes. That's like saying we can't make fun of OJ Simpson, Loreena Bobbitt, Tonya Harding, or any other totallay-fucked-in-the-mind-if-only-for-a-momemt type of person who appears in the media's eye.

ACG said...

I'm kind of with GFC. When Isaiah Washington or Mel Gibson pulls a rehabracadabra to draw attention away from the putziness, that's a joke. Lisa Nowak was obviously seriously unhinged, and of all of the people you mentioned in your post, she was the one who actually needs medical/psychological intervention the most.

Universal Remonster said...

I still believe that is speculation. For all we know she could be like that psychotic ex that we all have. (That one psychotic ex is now a doctor, for example.) Yes, she trained for years and apparently had "the right stuff", but that doesn't take away from the irony of it. The higher you climb the furthur you fall, I guess.

I do sympathize and feel bad for her situation, but it's something i have to smile about. On the other hand, I will not smile about something like Anna Nicole Smith's recent death. I believe that is a little in bad taste.