Scandals 2009: Mr. wOw Selects This Year’s Most Twisted Newsmakers

Carrie Prejean, ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8,’ Elizabeth Taylor tweets about Michael Jackson’s death … Our Mr. wOw shares the headlines that gave him (and most of us) heart palpitations.

As 2009 hurtles to an end, we are consumed with the extramarital indiscretions of golf master Tiger Woods. With less than 10 days to 2010, I’d be hard pressed to even imagine a bigger scandal than this. But nobody’s perfect, so there’s still room on the front page of the NY Post. (“Madonna Pregnant By Jesus — Pope Condemns Pop Star and her Savior.”)

Mr. wOw was asked recently, “What were the great scandals of the year?” As he was, at that moment, jammed into a tiny after-screening party space, he was not terribly pleasant.

“This event is a scandal!” Mr. wOw bitched, and he fled into a nasty, wind-whipped Lower East Side night. (Had he stayed longer, the nice hosts would have sent him home in a car. But for his impatience and irrational claustrophobia, Mr. wOw spent 20 minutes trying to hail a cab.)

Now that Mr. W. is back home, treating his chapped lips, he’s had a chance to think.

© Getty Images, WireImage, Getty Images

Naturally, the biggest news of the year was the death of Michael Jackson, though I’d hardly call it a scandal. With typical cynicism, when Mr. W. first heard that Jackson was hospitalized, his immediate reaction was, “Oh, this is so he can get out of the concert tour!” Then came the news that he went into fatal cardiac arrest because he used hospital anesthetics as a sleeping aid. Sad, but not a surprise, and not even a scandal. Poor Michael seemed to have left the building a long time ago.

Mr. wOw is much more scandalized by Elizabeth Taylor’s “tweeting” about Michael and anything else that she (or her staff) deem as newsworthy. As an attempt to keep the ailing star relevant, Twitter is not the way to go. We cringe.

But we can’t help admire La Liz’s valiant efforts to live in the moment.

Perhaps the most serious scandal of the year was Chris Brown beating then-girlfriend Rihanna to a pulp. Nothing funny about this, and thank God, Rihanna didn’t forgive and take him back. But isn’t it odd that Brown — a woman-beater — seems in better shape than Tiger? Chris Brown hasn’t quit his day job. And I don’t think Tiger should quit his. Just saying.

After the death of a genius, and the ugly abuse of a woman, everything else in 2009 is distinctly low-rent. (Including Tiger and his ignorant batch of self-loathing “mistresses.”)

Mr. wOw was appalled by the Gosselins of “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ infamy. The gruesome pair filed for divorce. He got fatter and chased women; she got blonder and talked about her “ambitions.” The kids? Oh, who cares, as long as they perform like trained seals for the camera.

Mel Gibson had a love child. Come on, how late 1960s can you get? All Mr. wOw thinks when he looks at Mr. Gibson is how badly he’s aged. Every late night, drink, cigarette and holy agony (he’s famously Catholic) is etched there for all to see.

Eddie Cibrian, an actor of little fame and less talent, left his wife for fading country singer LeAnn Rimes. Lots of people thought this was a scandal. All Mr. wOw thought was, it must be love, because the abandoned wife is a knockout and Miss Rimes … is not. (Good looks mean nothing if your mate is determined to look elsewhere.)

There was fun to be found in the fall of beauty queen Carrie Prejean. Initially, Mr. wOw, while not on her “side” exactly on the subject of gay marriage, was appalled that her expressed opinion resulted in such ugly language and intolerance. Then Carrie became a Republican Party mouthpiece and it all fell apart through a series of revelations, including sex-tapes. And she was dumb. I don’t mind a clever conservative, such as bomb-thrower/provocateur Ann Coulter, but Miss Prejean worked my last nerve.

Mr. wOw had the most fun with Levi Johnston vs. Sarah Palin. Levi, a simple lad, led astray by a media eager for dirt on Sarah, just couldn’t keep quiet. And while he was talking, somehow somebody suggested he strip for Playgirl! Ah, to be a fly on the wall when that conversation went down. “Yeah, yeah, she’s a phony … keeping you from your kid … take off your pants — that’ll show her!”

So he did. But he didn’t show us. Despite early promises of the full monty, Levi decided to leave a little to the imagination. But that still wasn’t enough discretion for Mrs. Palin, who referred to Levi’s art photos as “porn.” 

Levi hasn’t put a dent in Sarah, but it was fun to watch it unravel … soooooooo white trash. And I mean on both ends. 

For Mr. wOw, the big story of the year was the continued elevation of Mrs. Palin from … the Left! Like a dog with a bone, like picking at a scab, Mrs. Palin’s enemies can’t stop themselves. 

Most frustrating of all the Palin-haters is Chris Matthews — because he’s not really a hater. He’s a sensationalist. He’s been on board pumping the idea of Palin for president since last year’s Republican convention — gasping and sputtering gleefully about the horror of it all. If it’s so horrible, shut up! (It is a horror story in the making, but don’t scoff — it could happen.) 

Matthews gave the Birthers plenty of free publicity, too, again in a rather frenzied air of “Isn’t this a great story, let’s keep it going!!” At heart, Matthews is a tabloid journalist, with no political agenda. He just wants to fill an hour with as much nonsense as possible and the sound of his own voice.

And that brings Mr. wOw to the real scandal of, well, recent years, 2009 just being more of the same. News shows — where are they, aside from PBS, BBC and ABC’s “Nightline”? What do we get on the 24-hour news channels — giddy/obnoxious behavior, ignorance, unwanted opinions from those who are supposed to be reporting news … ugh.

Not talking about the likes of Beck and O’Reilly and Olbermann. They are just ideologue clowns. I mean the anchors.

Mr. wOw doesn’t want personality or any sense of what you think, if you think at all. Just give me the damn story, and don’t make any stupid comments after.

Mr. wOw watched a powerful piece over the weekend about the few survivors of one of the truly great scandals of modern times — that of the S.S. St Louis, a ship packed with Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi Germany in 1938, and how it was not allowed to land in the U.S. They were all sent back to Europe, where many died in concentration camps. 

After this terrible tale concluded, the young anchor stared blankly into the camera and said, “Very nice story, very nice.” Really? “Nice”? Every second of airtime doesn’t have to be filled with reaction. Especially if it is as insincere and ignorant as “very nice.” This particular anchor had plenty to say in an animated fashion about Tiger Woods and the meaning of how a guy can’t keep it in his pants.

Mr. wOw sees no change at all in what we’re fed that passes for news. He sticks to the History Channel a lot.

Better on the blood pressure.

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