The strange tale of Hizzoner and the golden vagina

Our neighbor Roger Parloff, over at the Legal Pad, brings us an examination of one of the more bizarre stories making the rounds this week. In truth, I had been ducking this one because, well, I didn’t actually care, but anytime Hizzoner Giuliani comes up even remotely associated with a “golden vagina”, well, you have at least my sense of humor’s attention.

But what’s remarkable about the complaint is how far it ventures beyond merely disputing that she said anything anti-Semitic in that fateful phone call — a seemingly winnable, he-said-she-said squabble had her lawyers stopped her there.

Instead, they’ve allowed her to allege that News Corp. had actually been plotting her demise for at least five years before the Simpson debacle. “This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential ambitions,” they write in paragraph 1 of the complaint. “Defendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could preemptively discredit her,” the complaint continues.

Regan’s saying that News Corp. has been undermining her credibility for years because it feared she knew about unspecified skeletons in Giuliani’s closet that she had learned during her 2001 affair with then-Mayor Giuliani’s then-Police Chief Bernard Kerik and, further, that the company anticipated Regan might go public with if Giuliani ever ran for president.

The company also needed to discredit her, she theorizes, in case she were ever to reveal that two senior News Corp. executives had allegedly advised her to lie to investigators and conceal evidence from them when they began probing Kerik.

A spokeswoman for News Corp. has called the suit “preposterous,” and a spokesperson for HarperCollins and Friedman echoed that sentiment to me.

The defendants’ first attempt to discredit Regan occurred in 2001, she alleges. (The timeline is puzzling, since Kerik did not first come under suspicion for criminal wrongdoing until 2004, and, as a consequence, it wasn’t publicly known until then that he might pose any problems for Giuliani, assuming Giuliani ever did announce for president, as he finally did this year. Kerik pled guilty to two state misdemeanor charges in 2006, and was charged in a 16-count federal indictment last week. He has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.)

Confused? Don’t feel bad. I am.

At least we get a glimpse inside the mind of the woman who thought O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It was a good idea.

If you’re interested, Mr. Parloff has made the complaint available via PDF. Be warned, though, it is seventy pages long. I haven’t started even trying to understand it.

Oh, yeah … if I promise, I must deliver:

Along the way, Regan also dredges up some stories I hadn’t previously heard about and which, had I been her lawyer, I might have chosen to let lie. She complains, for instance, that some unidentified person — it’s unclear from the complaint if it’s even a News Corp. employee — had attributed Regan’s success to her “golden vagina,” but that “when Regan complained about this sexist and insulting remark, nothing was ever done.”

Really, it gets even stranger than that.

Yes, but can he … uh … never mind

Speaking of the (in)famous British tabloid, The Sun brings us the fattest hedgehog since Ron Jeremy.

George the Hedgehog

An interesting piece of trivia I picked up while grabbing links for this one: Did you know that Ron Jeremy went to high school with George “Slam Dunk” Tenet and Reginald VelJohnson?

Neither did I.

Update: Velocipedephilia

It really is an awful price to pay for a bad joke. I had, earlier, asked what the hell was wrong with Scottish people. After all, it seemed a bit ridiculous to call the police simply because a man was having a go with his bicycle in a room at a hostel. I mean, it’s not like he was trying to get some from a mannequin at the local YMCA.

Anyway, The Sun reports that, according to Robert Stewart’s solicitor, “He thought he was having fun with the cleaners. He doesn’t think it’s funny any more.”

And, yes, I can see how wanking for shock value makes for a bad joke, but I still can’t believe this is something worth placing a guy on a Sex Offender Registry.

The question is still valid, though.

Poor, stupid bastard.

Three words: My … Bloody … Valentine

I only started hearing about this a few days ago, and then a friend sent me the link last night, and now it’s, well, real.

Tickets are on sale in the UK as of this morning for the return of My Bloody Valentine. The word in from Pitchfork:

People, it’s on. Dust off your tremolo pedals, don your best pair of kicks, and get ready to gaze like its 1991. The time has come to announce a return to the live stage for a little band called My Bloody Valentine.

The news comes fresh off Kevin Shields’ confirmation that the massively influential shoegazers are indeed back together, and follows months of speculation about a MBV live return ….

…. And if Shields wasn’t pulling a fast one last week, we have plenty more to look forward to from the Valentines in 2008. Actually, we’re supposed to get a new album this year, but seeing as it’s mid-November already, we won’t be too terribly shocked if that doesn’t happen. Apparently another disc is in the works too.

It’s too early, as I understand it, to speculate about when or if this reunion will bring MBV across the pond to save us all from … er, uh … you know, most days I like the fact that I don’t pay attention to the Top 40. But it really sucks when you’re left pulling for a joke. Save us from … uh … Daughtry? Sure, okay. Um, seriously, I only know that name because I saw it on the Puyallup Fair marquee in September. And I was dumb enough to be curious about who that was. Ye gads. Shite, he was on American Idol? Well, that explains it. (See? There are advantages to not paying attention to what’s popular.)

So, yeah. With at least one new album on the way—I hear it’s been waiting to be finished for a while—we can at least hope.

No go for the stupid kong translation that got lost in orbit

Sometimes, things get lost in translation. When I was younger, I recall hearing about the trouble Chevrolet experienced when it tried to sell its famous Nova south of the border. Apparently, nobody stopped to think about how a car named “no go” would sell in Mexico. And there was talk, also when I was younger, about how the famous video game Donkey Kong landed in Japan with a title that translated, roughly, to “Stupid Kong”.

International communication, we learned, can be problematic in very fundamental ways.

What about translation problems within the language, though?

Like Roger Cohen’s recent column for the International Herald Tribune, called “Obama and the planet“. Now, remember, one of IHT’s owners is the New York Times. This is only important because I can’t quite figure out why the Times ran the same article under the title, “Obama in Orbit“.

Aside from that question, it’s an interesting article well worth the time:

If the globe can’t vote next November, it can find itself in Obama. Troubled by the violent chasm between the West and the Islamic world? Obama seems to bridge it. Disturbed by the gulf between rich and poor that globalization spurs? Obama, the African-American, gets it: the South Side of Chicago is the South Side of the world.

Michael Ignatieff, the deputy leader of Canada’s opposition Liberal Party, said: “Outsiders know it’s your choice. Still, they are following this election with passionate interest. And it’s clear Barack Obama would be the first globalized American leader, the first leader in whom internationalism would not be a credo, it would be in his veins.”

To the south, in Mexico, resentment of the Bush administration has less to do with American unilateralism and more with stalled immigration policy and the building of a border fence. But the thirst for change is the same.

“Mexicans want evidence that things are shifting, which means the Democrats, and of course a woman like Hillary Clinton, or a black like Obama, would signal a huge cultural change,” said Jorge Castañeda, a former foreign minister.

“My sense is the symbolism in Mexico of a dark-skinned American president would be enormous. We’ve got female leaders now in Latin America — in Chile, in Argentina. But the idea of a U.S. leader who looks the way the world looks as seen from Mexico is revolutionary.”

Cohen also points to an article by Andrew Sullivan for the December issue of The Atlantic that considers, among other things, the value of the ethnic card for the Obama campaign. Sullivan writes:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

And, yes, there is a valuable point there that cannot be ignored. But there is also a flip-side. Just so nothing gets lost in translation: Americans don’t care. You don’t want them to care about this particular point, because if they do, they will resent the obligation to consider the ethnic card.

In the end, the only question Americans care about is, “Can he do the job?” “Will he tell me what I want to hear?”