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with about twelve other series
By now, you may have noticed that I’m a true sucker for the train wreck that is VH1 reality programming. Their collaboration with producers 51 minds has yielded a hamster wheel of sublebrity drama–a cycle that bests even that of the Bachelor franchise–in which drunk biatches can become self-righteous boyfriend bait faster than you can say, “Did this all really begin with Flava Flav and Brigitte Nielson hooking up?”
Yes, it’s trash. But do you really blame me? Life, as you’re well aware, is really fucking tough if you take a moment to smell not only the roses, but the feces tornadoes that are our country’s democratic conversation or the world’s ability to feed itself. A person needs an escape. Sometimes it’s heroin, sometimes it’s Rummikub. Sometimes it’s Bret Michaels banging a really gross, crazy chick.
So of course I was first in line to watch my most loathed character ever, Megan Hauserman, televise her gold digging on Megan Wants A Millionaire. The brain cells I lost during the pilot were more than made up for by the gleeful groans I expressed while watching oogly, self-important “millionaires” (Does $1.1 million ‘net worth’ really count? Not that I’m number crunching) vie for the affections of a weak-voiced, leggy blonde whose face will certainly go within the next five years.
As the first few episodes rolled out, it seemed Megan was actually reality gold: far more savvy than your average trophy wife, with a complete lack of soul. In fact, it seemed almost organic to set the match-up process of money-making douchebag with money-grubbing tramp in a TV elimination process, since it’s all fuckery and performance anyway.
I was enthralled. And though she rubbed lips with both grubby old dudes and closeted trust fund baby, I held high hopes that by Episode 13, she’d realize that her perfect match was a cocky Canadian playa named Ryan, who caught her early attention by telling Megan he wouldn’t make her sign a prenup (game, set…). Three shows along, and I felt Ryan was in it to win it.
Then, suddenly, it got real dark.
Ryan, who apparently moved on to the 3rd season of I Love Money and married Playboy model Fiore shortly after getting eliminated by Hauserman (the marriage was short-lived), was thrust into a completely different kind of spotlight when his ex-wife was found dead and mutilated in an Orange County dumpster nearly two weeks ago. After fleeing on foot, he was upgraded from “person of interest” to person charged with murder. Yesterday, he himself was discovered dead, hung from a coat rack in a motel room. And as it turns out, Jenkins had a record of domestic violence, for assaulting a girlfriend in 2005 (shame on the producers for their shoddy background checks).
VH1 has since canceled and erased all trace of Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money 3 from their website and program listings.
And I find myself now reeling with both fascination and strange pangs of guilt for watching him in the first place. It’s natural when watching reality to get to know, begin to identify with, and develop loose affection for the contestants. So watching this kind of terrible saga unfold feels, for some reason, personal. Why must I feel that way? It’s horrific.
Perhaps the reality is that reality television isn’t just an escape. The players may be trashy, the music cues may be funny, but the people are real. And sometimes, all too real.
Haiyang Zhu–the Chinese grad student at Virginia Tech allegedly responsible for decapitating new friend Xin Yang with a kitchen knife on Wednesday–apparently showed signs of frustration unrelated to the incident earlier this month.
[A] Chinese-language blog was written earlier this month under the name Haiyang Zhu, and displaying the same photo of Zhu by authorities in Virginia. The author expressed frustration over stock losses and other problems in the blog, dated Jan. 7.
‘Big stock losses. Recently I’ve been so frustrated I think only of killing someone or committing suicide,’ the posting reads.
We are numb with disbelief, seeing that he chose to employ the former rather than the latter–and brokenhearted either way.
I have to say, when I read news today that a”hypermuscular” former FBI agent got busted for planning to murder people and attempting to rip off an Orange County drug courier–and was Vietnamese, my first thought was, “Wow, there was a Vietnamese FBI agent? Cool!” And my second thought was, “Oh man, he’s a totally crooked killer guy. Bad Vietnamese guy. Bad!” I know, I know.
But the disappointment only grew when I learned just how Vo Tran, the 40-year old that was fired by the FBI in 2003 for a number of offenses (including attempted bribery of a Vietnamese official) was harpooned.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Vo Duong “Ben” Tran, 40, told a government informant secretly recording him that he had been a sports bookmaker and wanted to kill people across the country who owed him money, including a man from Redlands, Calif., who was in debt to him for more than $200,000.
“I want blood,” Tran said, according to the government transcript. “I have to make sure it has to be done right because all my hits, they are clean.”
Um, I’ve never actually ordered a successful hit, and I am certainly not a former FBI agent that once investigated organized crime, but in my opinion, jabbering on to your hitman is just sloppy. Shouldn’t such experience make a person BETTER at crime? I guess he didn’t study that hard. Just sayin’!!
I guess now, homey isn’t just former-FBI, he’s also FUBARed.
A year and a half ago, my friend Dallas Cook was killed in a fatal motorcycle crash after he ran into an immobile car–stopped, with its lights off–in the carpool lane of a major California highway. The driver of the car was allegedly asleep and drunk at the wheel. He was also an employee of Hyundai visiting from Korea, and after causing the accident, was mysteriously whisked off by his company compatriots and on a plane to Korea within 24 hours.
The LA Times reported last week:
“The family of a professional musician killed in a hit-and-run accident in Orange County filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Hyundai Motor America, alleging that company officials helped one of their colleagues leave the country before he could be questioned by police.
Wylie A. Aitken, an attorney representing the victim’s family, said surveillance tapes from Los Angeles International Airport show that Hyundai employees helped Youn Bum Lee become a fugitive, contradicting statements they made to police investigating the crash…
…Cook, 23, was killed in October 2005 when his motorcycle slammed into Lee’s disabled car on the Costa Mesa Freeway. Lee, who had been drinking with colleagues shortly before the crash, left the scene and was on a plane to his native South Korea less than 24 hours later, according to police and court records.
Lee was charged last month in absentia with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with injury; and hit-and-run with injury or death.
Cook’s family wants other Hyundai employees held criminally responsible for obstructing justice and being accessories after the fact.
At a bit of a loss for words, I have only a few: FUCK YOU, HYUNDAI.
Read the full story here.