Liz Smith: Arnold and Maria — Are We Really That Surprised?

And more from our Liz: the late Steig Larsson spawns a Scandinavian rush for chilly thrillers

“Deceiving others. That is what the world calls romance,” said Oscar Wilde.

* * *

AM I the one person on earth — or at least the one person who reads newspapers, magazine and watches TV — who is not “shocked, shocked!” over the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal?

It is an unhappy tale to be sure, Arnold fathering a child by a woman who worked for him and his wife Maria Shriver, and keeping it secret from the media and (so we’re asked to believe) his entire family — for 13 years!

Look, we’re not talking Roy Rogers and Dale Evans here. Schwarzenegger was a reputed womanizer before and  during his 25 year marriage to Shriver. And Shriver was a member of the Kennedy clan of relentlessly unfaithful men. She is an intelligent woman. She had already jumped to his defense years ago in the well-documented matter of his movie-set gropings. Having this long-ago affair and very current 13-year-old boy become a public matter has to be humiliating. But I don’t see her in any state of hysteria or even that much genuine surprise. She comes from a line of women who suffer, accept and look away. Also, the party line is that Maria has “known all” since January. I’d say the majority of the tears have flowed, and frozen.

But it is the ravenous media that has Maria “shocked … devastated … destroyed … the family in ruins.” To the latter, several of the children have already taken to Twitter and don’t sound all that broken up. They’ve all said “I love my family.” We assume that includes Arnold. Perhaps they’d feel differently if news had come out about an affair in which Arnold totally abandoned his ex-lover and child or forced the woman into an abortion.

He’s a pig. What’s new? A powerful actor becomes a powerful politician. Odds are, rules of some kind are going to be bent or broken.

* * *

TO BE honest, if I want to get myself into a rage over Arnold, it would be because of the piss poor job he did as governor of California, wrecking the state’s already shattered finances. Now, Jerry Brown is attempting to salvage what Arnie left in his wake. (Having been in the governor’s seat before, at least Brown knows what he’s doing.)

I’m also laughing over the idea, put forward with such glee, that “this the end of Arnold’s movie career!” Uh … the man is well into his sixties. His particular career would be chilly now, love child or not. If he acts again, and those movies don’t do well, believe me, it will have nothing to do with having cheated and lied to his wife. Let me say it again — Arnold was no John Edwards with his choir-boy face and mealy-mouthed hypocrisies. Nor was Maria dying of cancer. And at least, when confronted by the LA Times and TMZ which was close behind, he came clean. He didn’t go running down hallways and ducking into bushes. One can survive such things.

Good grief, Eliot Spitzer is on the air every night on CNN — even having the gall to discuss the Schwarzenegger matter! (An example of how much class Spitzer lacks is that he wouldn’t politely recuse himself from that particular story.)

Oh, one other thing. We’ve been seeing a lot of pixilated and blurred photos of Arnold’s secret son here in the USA. But the British press is not so prissy and kindhearted. They have published a picture of the mother and child, crystal clear.

If indeed the birth and the true father was kept secret all these years, it’s easy to see why. The boy is the spitting image of his mother.

* * *

IF YOU are Scandinavian, and have a propensity to write thrillers or mysteries, you’re in luck — you’re a potential hot property.

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that because of the huge success of the late Steig Larsson’s “Millennium” series of books (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” etc.) and the potential movie success of these works, Scandinavian scribes are in high crime cotton. These include Camilla Lackberg and Liza Marklund (both of whom were at Cannes.) Also Jens Lapidus and Lars Kepler. The latter’s book, “The Hypnotist,” is being adapted for the screen by Lasse Hallstrom.

Everybody in publishing and in the movie biz is looking for “the next Steig Larson.” Good luck, he was a genius —I’ll never forget becoming so caught up in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” pestering everybody I knew to buy it.

If only he’d lived to see phenomenon he created.

* * *

ON MONDAY, at the Waldorf Astoria, the 70th Annual Peabody Awards Happens.  The event will be hosted by the much-missed-on-CNN Larry King. Among the 38 winners for excellence in electronic media are CBS’s “The Good Wife”… HBO’s “Temple Grandin”… CNN’s coverage of the Gulf oil spill … PBS’s “Great Performances: Macbeth” and lots more. The attendees include: Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, Yoko Ono, Anderson Cooper, Spike Lee, Patrick Stewart. The Peabody “do” takes place at high noon. So, all the stars can go home to rest and come out at night, again.

Times have changed but this is still the city that never sleeps.

 

149 comments so far.

  1. avatar crystalclear says:

    Thanks, Count.   I find Baby’s posts entertaining as her point of view is coming directly from her experiences in life.   My life is not so colorful but I wouldn’t trade it for anything out there.  I take it that Baby wouldn’t trade her life either.

    I run across people who opine and I disagree with their thoughts and opinions and that’s okay.   They probably don’t agree with where I’m coming from either.   Solution One is to ignore someone you feel is not on the same page or anywhere near your thought processes and Solution Two is to graciously disagree and then state why.    That’s all there is to it, friends!

  2. avatar Sandy B says:

    I don’t think that Maria defended her husbands previous bad behavior. Rather she chose to believe his version of events and that he had learned to behave better. That is different that defending. However that said- she made a bad call.

  3. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    Cheating is a cutesy word for (oh, my dear) adultery.  Arnold the Adulterer would be a great name when he resumes his movie career.

    On the other hand “Love Child” sounds better than bastard.  I don’t feel sorry for any adult in this mess but my heart goes out to this young boy whose entire life changed in one day.  Shame on the Los Angeles Times–investigative reporting is okay when you have a “Watergate” situation but not in this matter.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I suspect the Los Angeles Times merely followed up on a tip, anonymous of course, when it swooped in like a vulture having spotted prey.

      And where was Maria Shriver when the story broke? Having dinner with Oprah.  No  doubt enjoying the “public atonement” and plotting the “execution.”  

  4. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    To Mr. Wow:  You really made my day!  From now on I will blame the “oink factor” on everything that annoys me about my husband–important stuff like spraying toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror and leaving wet towels around and–well you know, life altering stuff.  From now on I’m going to mentally go “oink, oink” which will make me smile and stop to consider how unimportant those things really are.

  5. avatar Sandy B says:

    I guess we could call him the Adulterator!

  6. avatar Sandy B says:

    @Baby Snooks-
    To be fair- since I’ve certainly spoken up where I take issue- I do better understand your atittude towards Maria now. You view her as someone who knew about her husbands bad charactar and chose to blame his victims rather than hold him accountable. I don’t agree with your charactarization- but I understand it, and it explains much of your view. Though I still totally don’t get why you think wives suffering in silence and standing by their man is the “high road”.

  7. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Personally, I know I could never support or condone my husband, or even a male friend indulging in molesting (that is laying his hands on) a woman in an unasked for, and unwanted manner. This wasn’t something Arnold only engaged in once, it was a repeated, long standing behavior (I don’t have any insider information…I read about it in the news like most people), and Maria Shriver denied it. Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me a dozen or so times…? If I’m an intelligent, worldly, perceptive, even brilliant newswoman and wife? I think not…and when the evidence is before you, and empirical, and you are still publicly denying (supporting?) you have stepped over the line into condoning. I couldn’t in good conscience do that…because I have sons.

    I also do not believe that Maria Shriver could possibly have been ignorant, blind, or obtuse enough not to have known about her husband’s affair with their employee. He purchased a house for the woman, it’s rather clear that they had some sort of ongoing relationship from his statements (which no one so far has mentioned…he even wanted his name on the child’s birth certificate…again, this was in the news via his statement), and I have a hard time believing that a man as fearless (not necessarily a compliment) as Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been terribly discreet. I do not think she knew about the boy’s paternity until January. I would not tolerate having a woman with whom my husband had, or was currently engaged in an affair, working for 13 years in my home. But then, I don’t give a rat’s ass about appearances, life style, or social niceties…and I don’t live in the peculiar rarified echelons of the rich and new social aristocracy of the celebrity elite.

    I don’t think Maria Shriver deserved Arnold’s philandering…but I do think she may have paid a price for endorsing his bad behavior. Since I am not privy to the details of their private life, this is only an opinion…but if you give certain types an inch of slack, you’ve lost them entirely. And yes, touching a woman without her consent can and will be construed by law as sexual harassment, and sexual assault, and frequently results in actual prison time…for lowly mortal men. She might well be feeling pain and humiliation. My personal feeling is that hers might be very much as I suspect Elin Nordgren’s was…she tolerated a great deal for whatever reasons she might have had…until the final boundary was crossed. For Elin, I think it was the possibility that Tiger Woods might have fallen in love with Rachle Uchitel, and was considering leaving Elin for her. For Maria, it could very well be the existence of the previously unknown child (Love child? Bastard? Illegitimate? Please. Just child).

    I do have an issue with Maria Shriver beyond her previous defense of her husband’s atrocious, and yes, criminal behavior. She discovered the child’s existence in January…and made it “clear” that she wished to keep the matter low-key and personal. It is she who has gone on the whirlwind Maria the Victim tour subsequent to that, screaming to everyone who will listen about her trauma and agony. I have to question that…because she does have other children, and so flagrantly airing the family filthy laundry is just as potentially harmful to them as the original act could be. Arnold Scharzenegger, despicable as he may be, made a very clear statement about how wrong he was, with no attempt to justify his actions, plainly stated that he had caused all of the grief, was clear as day as to what happened, and then asked that his family be left alone because none of them…wife or children, had any fault and deserved much better. Does this make him noble, better, right or forgivable? The first three are up to the individual to decide…and the last is for his family to think about. But that’s all he’s said. He isn’t pulling a Jesse James…and for that at least, I can give him a certain respect.

    I thought the person who commented with such assurance about the children only Tweeting, etc., in their times of rationality and calm was being a bit specious. Believe it or not, some children are actually grateful when their parents finally come to the decision, after years of quiet acrimony, discord, a household always slightly out of balance and filled with tension and unspoken resentment and stress, to end a marriage. The children may have known more about their father’s indiscretions than their mother did. They may or may not resent them…the adults may not even consider their parents’ marital woes their concern…or may think each parent is better off without the other…especially their mother. Divorce is not a sin and does not carry a the same stigma it once did. Divorce in the high social altitude climes of the political/celebrity/uber-rich aristocracy certainly does not.

    I have never found the Shriver/Schwarzenegger marriage to be terribly interesting. He’s a boor, she’s a bore. I hope the children all move forward and are fine…they seem to be, so far, but otherwise.

    As for the hen party on this thread, well, that’s the norm here these later days. Some chickie thinks she’s detected a blood spot, and the vicious, blind, purely female, atavistic, tribal pecking begins. Death to the different. Just be careful, because blood tends to spatter, and enraged, mindless hens will go for the next speck of crimson they see.

    • avatar Sandy B says:

      It was me who made the comment that the children only tweeted when in a more rational state. I put that up as an alternative to the assumption that the kids don’t sound too “broken up”. I just don’t think we can conclude that from their tweets. I don’t really think we can conclude anything from their tweets.
      Also, to my knowledge Maria only made one brief statement. So I don’t understand the claim that she’s the one promoting the press coverage. I haven’t seen that at all.

    • avatar TheTexasMom says:

      Briana you made some very valid points; some I agree with.  I must say that I’m probably the one with “blood” on them and will try in the future not to stoop to such a level.  I’ve always said when you point a finger at someone, look down and see how many are pointing back at you.

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      Based on your characterization of your husband, I very much doubt you will have to endure any of the behavior described here. Here’s to us good men! And those that love and cherish us as we do you. XOXO – The Count

  8. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    And so, dear friends, we come to the end of “Days of our Lives”.  I long for the days of Suzanne de Cornelia.  Anybody know where she is? The last I heard was that she was going to live near her son in Paris.  I think she opted out of this web sight when I did—during the last election. 

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      A lot of us opted out during the last election. I hope it doesn’t come to that again in 2012. I like this site a lot, and the commenters on it.

      • avatar Count Snarkula says:

        To Brianna and any others that I made feel upset or bring back bad memories of the past. I am truly sorry. I did not mean to bring up all the bad stuff that happened, and especially all the viscous, bad behavior that some exhibited. My hope was and is that the regular posters, Brianna, Baby Snooks, Richard, Mr. Wow, crystalclear, and so many others try and keep control of the site and not allow it to sink to levels it did. We need to be vigilant and not tolerate rudeness and extreme partisanship. A lofty (and some would say impossible, but The Count remains a hopeless optimist) goal indeed. But I think this forum is worth fighting for. As the incredible Miss Franklin so memorably sang, and sings, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. For all. For all opinions. For the fellowship that we all enjoy. XOXO – The Count

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        You didn’t bring back bad memories, Count. The past informs the present and the future. It would be lovely to see lively, intelligent, thought based political discussion, and even debate…not rancorous, acrimonious playground bullying, shouting and emoting.

        The last go-round reminded me of Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers”: the original lyrics in this anthemic ode to the childishly cruel antics of the politically elite “”Whistling tunes we piss on the goons in the jungle” (or “coons”; Gabriel was not known for holding back his contempt of pretenders) was later changed to the more Politically Correct, and palatable for those who can’t accept reality, “Whistling tunes we’re kissing baboons in the jungle”. I hope the Baboon Kissers don’t return again. You’re post was an excellent reminder of how childish people can be. Please don’t apologize.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      O, the last Presidential election…what disturbing memories that evokes. I was sent to cyber-Siberia for even trying to respond to the vitriolic, rabid attacks of the bitch-packs of the ultra-reactionary Far Right. I saved some of my posts from the time, and they are curiously lacking in what I was accused of: personal attacks, violating the comments policies, partisanship, misogyny, hatred…and are mostly observations about certain candidates based on my personal opinions of what I heard, saw, and learned about them (and not from the media demagogues of the far Left or Right). It was seemingly unacceptable to respond in any way to multiple, extremely presumptive, ignorant, and viciously personal assaults by the New Right Order whose commentary never seemed to be, ahem, disappeared, no matter how inappropriate, or downright unacceptable.

      They aren’t gone, dear ones. The last time a ridiculous, contrived political controversy emerged, ie: the witch-hunt surrounding Chris Coons (the “Bearded Marxist”) and the alleged former acolyte of the Dark Arts now born again moran Christine O’Donnell they all came pouring out of the woodwork like Formosan termites out a rotten wall, still with nothing substantive to say, just the same old dire warnings, threats, misinformation, dogmatic idiocy and jejeune, insulting, ignorant commentary. They’ll be back in 2012. Count on it.

      I just don’t know if I can be bothered to comment once the moron-a-thon begins. I am not a fan of…spitting…into the wind, particularly when the wind is polluted and reeks of corruption.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      O, the last Presidential election…what disturbing memories that evokes. I was sent to cyber-Siberia for even trying to respond to the vitriolic, rabid attacks of the bitch-packs of the ultra-reactionary Far Right. I saved some of my posts from the time, and they are curiously lacking in what I was accused of: personal attacks, violating the comments policies, partisanship, misogyny, hatred…and are mostly observations about certain candidates based on my personal opinions of what I heard, saw, and learned about them (and not from the media demagogues of the far Left or Right). It was seemingly unacceptable to respond in any way to multiple, extremely presumptive, ignorant, and viciously personal assaults by the New Right Order whose commentary never seemed to be, ahem, disappeared, no matter how inappropriate, or downright unacceptable.

      They aren’t gone, dear ones. The last time a ridiculous, contrived political controversy emerged, ie: the witch-hunt surrounding Chris Coons (the “Bearded Marxist”) and the alleged former acolyte of the Dark Arts now born again moran Christine O’Donnell they all came pouring out of the woodwork like Formosan termites out a rotten wall, still with nothing substantive to say, just the same old dire warnings, threats, misinformation, dogmatic idiocy and jejeune, insulting, ignorant commentary. They’ll be back in 2012. Count on it.

      I just don’t know if I can be bothered to comment once the moron-a-thon begins. I am not a fan of…spitting…into the wind, particularly when the wind is polluted and reeks of corruption.

  9. avatar Briana Baran says:

    O, the last Presidential election…what disturbing memories that evokes. I was sent to cyber-Siberia for even trying to respond to the vitriolic, rabid attacks of the bitch-packs of the ultra-reactionary Far Right. I saved some of my posts from the time, and they are curiously lacking in what I was accused of: personal attacks, violating the comments policies, partisanship, misogyny, hatred…and are mostly observations about certain candidates based on my personal opinions of what I heard, saw, and learned about them (and not from the media demagogues of the far Left or Right). It was seemingly unacceptable to respond in any way to multiple, extremely presumptive, ignorant, and viciously personal assaults by the New Right Order whose commentary never seemed to be, ahem, disappeared, no matter how inappropriate, or downright unacceptable.

    They aren’t gone, dear ones. The last time a ridiculous, contrived political controversy emerged, ie: the witch-hunt surrounding Chris Coons (the “Bearded Marxist”) and the alleged former acolyte of the Dark Arts now born again moran Christine O’Donnell they all came pouring out of the woodwork like Formosan termites out a rotten wall, still with nothing substantive to say, just the same old dire warnings, threats, misinformation, dogmatic idiocy and jejeune, insulting, ignorant commentary. They’ll be back in 2012. Count on it.

    I just don’t know if I can be bothered to comment once the moron-a-thon begins. I am not a fan of…spitting…into the wind, particularly when the wind is polluted and reeks of corruption.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      I apologize for the bizarre triple post. I only pressed “submit” once. Very strange.

  10. avatar crystalclear says:

    Americans appear to be much more involved in the political process than ever before.  As the economic decisions from decades ago stare us in the face we are worried about the future of our country.   And, we should be frightened.    When people are frightened they do one of two things a)  they become quiet  or b)  they become quite vocal.   With the baby boomer generation approaching retirement age we have a large pool of mature, educated and now politically aware and very involved people watching their investments for retirement being impacted by poor leadership decisions.   It didn’t start with this administration.   It has been enhanced by this administration.   We cannot allow the next administration to further enhance our insecurities for our future retirement needs.    In other words, there’s a reasonable explanation why the two party followers (and others) react with anger and bitterness when discussing politics….because it becomes personal.

    As the 2012 election draws near, we will, no doubt,  engage in heated debate which I find educational.  Others may not see it as educational but as an attack.    What we need to be mindful of is that we aren’t here to change anyone’s personal opinions.   We are here to state why we feel the way we do about certain candidates and their visions for our country’s future.   We need to do that with respect and also maintain our dignity by simply stating why we agree or disagree.    Easier said than done but I hope it will be a goal of ours to maintain good ettiquette as if we were speaking to each other face to face.  

    I have learned (the hard way)  to read posts and when I cannot refute the content I don’t respond.   However, if I can speak from a position of knowledge I’ll be the first to engage in adding my comments.

    Based on the members here on wowOwow today, I fully expect a reasonable and informative political discussion as we approach 2012.    We’ll have the “newcomers” to deal with which will more than likely keep the Community Manager very busy!   This site is “high profile” and will attract agitators by 2012.   We’ll just have to show them how it “works” here at wowOwow!!

    *biggest grin*

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      As usual, well said!

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      crystalclear: I wasn’t referring to any potential newcomers, although some of those have seemed to appear only in the guise of the common internet blog-site troll. I was referring to some very old players, people whom I could name if I chose to, but won’t, as it will assuredly cause my post to be disappeared for some vague inappropriateness. During the last election, these posters, mostly women, were allowed their opinions, and voiced them freely. Much of what they said was easily refutable, and often wildly speculative. That wasn’t the issue. When anyone chose to disagree, they were not given to any sort of rational discourse, but instead descended to the lowest common denominator of personal insult (condemning others’ race, careers, ethnicity, intelligence, Americanism, right to live in this country, right to vote). Some resorted to massive posts that were nothing but quotes from websites, or long lists of website addresses (Hence, I believe, WoW’s current policy of removing posts that list web addresses), or quotes from other posts. If a reader gave a substantive basis for disagreeing with an opinion from these people (say a footnote, a series of observations, anything remotely logical or based on intellectual or critical thinking) that person would be filibustered (or, in blogging terms, “flamed”) by all of them, in dozens of vitriolic, senseless, incoherent posts. There was nothing intelligent in these posts, no attempt to refute anything said in a thoughtful or rational manner…just full-blown, highly personal attacks…over, and over, and over again.

      No etiquette or decency was involved, nor were these particular people ever publicly chastised, or were their posts removed because of “violations”. The same cannot be said of those who tried to have their opinions heard, or to debate with them. Speaking from a position of knowledge, reason, critical thought…and with respect…was useless. Do the oft repeated grade-school-playground-words “Prove it!” chanted ad nauseum mean something to you? That was the level of debate.

      They’re still around, never fear. Respect, etiquette, intellectual and critical thought, rational debate, other individual’s opinions or thoughts…none of these mean a single thing to this crowd. During the last election, one had an avatar that pictured Barack Obama’s face in a slashed circle with bullet holes and blood spatter. There were enough protests, even by the undecided, that the avatar was removed, but this brought bitter complaints from the “Group”. There was vicious racial commentary, but if one commented on it, the protesting comment would be removed, and the racist (and I do understand what constitutes a truly racist comment) post would be left intact. They came out, as I said, during the Coons/O’Donnell idiocy, in force, in their usual manner…and the site response was the same.

      I have no desire to change anyone’s opinions. On a site like this, everyone should be able to voice theirs, and to accept having them challenged. I know the difference between a personal attack and a debate-issued challenge. I also know the difference between a well thought out response, and a vitriolic attack based on pure nonsense. All too often, on this site, if one responds with thought and experience, one is immediately scorned, sneered at, accused of hubris, and reviled. I would call that anti-intellectualism at its finest. I believe that’s what others are referring to when they speak of the last election. If the trash-mouth, insult-ridden, pure emoting begins again, I will be out of the discussions. No, I’m not threatening…I doubt I’ll be missed and I don’t care. It just isn’t worth it. There are other sites that truly don’t permit that kind of behavior…and you’d be extremely surprised at which ones don’t, I think.

      • avatar Count Snarkula says:

        Briana: I would miss you. But I too, as I did then, will leave the site if the vitriol is allowed to return.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Count, I would miss you, too. And many others whose comments have made me think, made me laugh…and cry, enlightened me, and engaged my curiosity. A lot of those people now comment infrequently, or seem to have completely abandoned this site. What a shame. But you’ve hung in there, and so have some who I value deeply based on their words, intellect and attitudes…even as virtual strangers on an Internet Website…and that’s what keeps me coming back.

      • avatar crystalclear says:

        Thank you for responding, Briana.   You spelled it out clearly and I’m sorry that happened to this site.  They appear to be gone which is good news!   On other sites, I’ve engaged with some of the meanest, foul mouthed individuals (usually women) to that same end only I walked away never to return.   It ceases to be fun when we run into those who have no social graces and use the attack mode of communicating.  

        Let’s hope for an  active debate on our upcoming candidates in 2012.   I hope to learn something new everyday because I haven’t the time to research as much as I would like to.  Work comes first for me.

        Thank you for sharing with me a bit of the past.  

  11. avatar katywonLA says:

    The Steig Larson books are wonderful. Especially the last one when he explains the whole mystery. If you don’t read the books then get the movies on one of the movie networks. They are excellent too except they are in Swedish with English translation.As for Arnold let him wallow in his own dirty pond. Maria will do just fine and so were her children.