Research for my hagiography-in-progress of Eliot Spitzer continued last night with a screening of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, a companion piece to The Inside Job, which I blogged about in an earlier post. Regardless of its sensational title, Client 9 isn’t really about hookers and the politicians who love them. It’s about the worms at the heart of the recent financial crisis, which is now clearly as much of a scandal as it is a crisis, and one man’s crusade to try to eradicate those heartworms.
Spitzer ferreted out the corruption at AIG early on, forcing the ouster of the execrable Hank Greenberg. It would seem from Client 9’s narrative and timeline that this began the process of Spitzer’s own demise at the hands of a cabal of venal old Wall Street and Albany Repubes, who are so unbelievably American Gargoyle that if I cast them in a fictional film about themselves, I would be hauled up by critics for not understanding the nuances of performance, for having brought to the screen unbelievably contrived, Silent Era performativity of nefariousness.
I cannot describe in a blog such as this, which aspires to be as light and fluffy as a Galliano tulle ball gown, just how hamfistedly Machiavellian, how egregiously mendacious, how plain physically repulsive these crotchety codgers are. You just have to see it yourself. As for their minions … my landlady, the Wicked Blais, would be envious.
The hero himself admits right from the start that it was hubris that brought him down. He compares himself to Icarus. This is no delusional Charlie Sheen narcissist, nor does he possess that most nauseating of personality traits, false humility. For a man like this — brilliant, successful beyond most people’s wildest aspirations, did I mention sexy? — to own his hubris is humility enough.
As New York State’s Attorney he tried to reform Wall Street and partly succeeded. He then took on Albany and failed. You can’t help but think that this Icarus deliberately wanted to fly too close to the sun, wanted his wings to melt. Maybe fighting through that much muck and corruption every day — it seems the gangrenous likes of AIG and company were nothing compared to the leprous political machine of New York State — wore him down, and he subconsciously set himself up for a fall, maybe knowing he would soar again by hosting his own more manageable TV program. He says in the doc he doesn’t know himself why he did it.
I’ll let you decide which doc is better, Inside Job or Client 9. I preferred the latter, maybe because I am more familiar with the story of the financial meltdown of Inside Job, but didn’t pay attention to the Spitzer scandal because I was living in London at the time. And there is something more affecting about an event that fucks over a single, very likable person, a bona fide hero; the worldwide financial crisis precipitated by the men he tried to prosecute as State’s Attorney fucked us all over. So he’s a screamer sometimes, yeah well. I’ll bet he didn’t scream half as much as I would have in his shoes. I would have stomped around Wall Street and Albany with my bald pate bright red with righteous indignation, raising my staff and bringing down plagues of locusts on the corrupt Repubes. At least Joe Bruno was convicted for his acts, unfortunately well after he’d brought down Spitzer for the non-crime of dipping his wick in premium poon-for-pay. Lest we forget, Spitzer was never indicted for or convicted of anything.
Would the financial meltdown have been averted had Spitzer not been forced to resign? Absolutely not. I’ll bet even he was surprised at the scale of it, and as the self-styled White Knight of Wall Street he knew better than anyone what those sociopaths were up to. I am not using that psychological term for the sake of operatic flair. Business is the preferred profession for true sociopaths; and only people devoid of empathy and remorse could have wrought this on us, and then have had the cojones to carry right on doing it with impunity, as if nothing had ever happened.
What happened to my light and fluffy blog? Maybe what happened to me last night at 3 a.m. has me brooding here in my shithole at 1830 N. Cahuenga.
I was semi-awake, vaguely aware of the bottle-smashing, screaming-drunk-chick hubbub on the street outside the witch Blais’s gingerbread shithole. One of the reasons I was withholding rent is she promised when I moved in to replace these rickety old windows with double-glazed ones to cut out the incessant noise pollution, but never did. As a consequence, every night from Thursday through Sunday I am treated to the same soundtrack of debauched Hollywood coming out of a nightclub, tailed by shitty boom-boom music. The nightclub in question is called Wonderland directly opposite me on Cahuenga and Franklin.
Suddenly I heard six gunshots in two bursts of three and three, right outside my window. I rolled off my bed, grabbed my Blackberry and did what any other homo under fire would do: emailed my girlfriend Yvonne Michael in London, who has the sleeping habits of a narcoleptic insomniac and is always available, praise cheeses. I note, on reviewing my sent box right now in the name of journalistic accuracy, that before I mention the gunshots in my email to her, I take time to slaughter Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent performance in Glee first. Priorities.
The gunshots sounded exactly like the beginning of the Morse Code for SOS. Three long ones — bang! … bang! … bang! — and three short, bang!bang!bang! They spelled out “SO.” And that’s what I thought while I lay there by the side of my bed, emailing Yvonne, while screaming drunk wounded hip-hoppers ran amok in the streets below, and sirens from the police, rescue and fire departments thrashed the night into wakefulness: “This is so glamorous.”
(Correction already: I got the Morse Code wrong. It spelled OS. But the point is I thought in that moment it spelled SO.)
The shooting happened on a party bus parked right outside my window, which is on the first floor. I did the right thing to roll off the bed to the side. Had the gunman fired out of the bus — he apparently fired into the crowd on the street before fleeing — and a bullet had gone through my window, which was level with the bus, I wouldn’t be writing these words, or I would but I’d have a bullet in my tushka and I’d be typing standing up. The article about the incident is here. Meanwhile, I cannot leave Susan Blais’s warren of shitholes fast enough. You may all light candles and pray I find a suitable space soon.
Okay, so, what the fuck are these and who invented them?
A Prayer to St. Coco
Patron of the Style-Conscious
Hail St. Coco, you who ensure things are soft and well fitting and pleasing to look at. Hear our prayer. Don’t let those awful rubber foot socks take off, they are freaky and an abomination. Let them die a slow, ignominious death en masse in the clearance section of Ross Dress For Less. In consideration for answering this prayer, I shall undertake a penance of walking across the Mojave wearing red plastic Crocs with no socks.
Thank you. Amen.
I’m pleased to announce we have our first candidate for Hollywood Schizo of the Week. Drum roll, please:
Above is Tom Ato. Yes, Tomato. But he calls himself Tom Ato on his card, which also lists him as a director and producer. He also does voiceovers and vocals, and is a professional speaker, as well as owner of In the Moment to Moment Productions. In addition to film and video production, he offers recording services. Also on his business card, the most jammed with info I have ever seen, is “Actor/Musician/Orchestral Scoring,” along with URLs for four websites. I am pleased to see he managed to secure www.tom-ato.com before someone else nabbed it.
Tom was standing in the place outside Trader Joes on Vine between Sunset and Hollywood that is usually occupied by Red Cross charity muggers. He’s raising money for Vets who can’t find work, or that’s what it says on his website. When I spoke to him, he said he was raising money for some combat-related syndrome I’d never heard of, but it sounded noble.
“Where the Red Cross?” I asked cheekily, all the while knowing that it’s Sunday and their Sabbath.
“I’m the Red, White and Blue Cross,” he replied. That deserved a photograph and candidacy for SOTW, for sure. Note that despite the many Christian fishies with which he has adorned his display and bottles of water for sale, he is still out there raising money for we’re-not-quite-sure-what on a Sunday. It puts the Red Cross to shame.