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Home » Culture and Criticism

Two more things, only one of which is embarrassing

Submitted by on November 6, 2008 – 9:29 PM30 Comments

The non-embarrassing: you guys, the Newsweek special election report is gripping stuff. All day, I've given myself one page each time I finish something from my to-do list, but a little while ago I gave up and plunged in full-on. Basically, it's all the behind-the-scenes, campaign-trail info the reporters got from the primaries on, but agreed not to publish until after the election, and it's fascinating. That link should take you to the highlights, but read the whole thing, it's gossipy and insightful.

The shameful: I've gotten sucked into Celebrity Rehab after skipping it last season, and God help me but I have a little love affair going with Steven Adler. He's so sweet, even with the mushmouthy cursing! He still has his hesher hair! He just wants to get back together with his friend Slash, and for Gary Busey to shut up (behind you a hundred percent on that, friend). I have no idea what's going on with Jeff Conaway's weird group-therapy disguise or delusions of kidnapping, and Busey is damn near unwatchably sad, but: Adler. Love that guy. Call him, Slash!

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  • DuchessKitty says:

    Sars, thank goodness I'm not the only one totally charmed by Steve Adler. His stroke-affected voice makes him so endearing!

  • SorchaRei says:

    Wow, thanks for the pointer to the Newswwek series. That's amazing!

  • Sandman says:

    "He just wants to get back together with his friend Slash, and for Gary Busey to shut up (behind you a hundred percent on that, friend)."

    This gave me the GBC-tingles, I tell you what.

  • Jo says:

    I agree with you on both things. The Newsweek piece is amazing.

    I started watching Celebrity Rehab because I wanted to know what Rodney King had to say, but I can't help but like Steve Adler. I was so sad on the first episode when he talked about how much he wanted his best friend Slash back.

  • F. McGee says:

    This Newsweek series is great! Less great: This dissertation, which has been sitting in front of me for a week, is NEVER going to get critiqued. Sigh.

  • Soylent says:

    I haven't seen CR II yet, but it's so weird the way that show makes you adore people you would otherwise think you'd hate. After watching the first season, I thought Brigitte Neilsen was totally awesome and had a soft spot for Seth from Crazy Town (still bawl my eyes out when I see that footage of him talking to his son Halo on the phone and you can hear the little boy excitedly telling someone in the background "Daddy's going to stop doing bad things") I also wanted to adopt Mary Carey, she seemed like a lovely but wounded person.

    Although, sometimes you end up really hating people you'd think you'd hate DANIEL BALDWIN.

    BTW, I know the GBC episodes go back some time, but I often wonder how you guys would perceive things in hindsight, such as your discussion that the Baldwin most deserving of GBC membership is Billy. At this point in time he seems like the least douchiest Baldwin, but of course by the time I write this he will have probably gone "I see your douching and raise you"

  • JS says:


    I've been pacing back and forth in my mind, pissed as hell over this Prop 8 homophobiaxtravaganza, but unable to articulate it clearly enough, until I realized that you already articulated it clearly, 4 years ago. Could you re-publish that Vine you wrote in Nov. 2004, about bigots hiding behind dictionaries? I can't seem to find it, and I was hoping to print 5,417,748 copies and stapling them to some foreheads.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I spent most of that month preaching to the choir on why it makes zero sense legally, ethically, or fiscally to oppose gay marriage: the archive is here:

    I think you may mean this one from '03, the letter that made *me* the intolerant one because I didn't respect homophobic beliefs:

    And then foot met ass.

  • KKB says:

    The Newsweek piece is fabulous. I'm not especially proud to admit this, but I've been checking back several times a day the last few days to see if new chapters are up. As of this writing, still no Chapter 7, by the way.

    In pure "Are you fucking kidding me?" terms, the bit about SP greeting McCain's advisors in a towel is my favorite part so far. That's some contrived bullshit right there. Todd can't answer the door and entertain these guys for five minutes while you get dressed in the bathroom? You couldn't have taken your shower 30 minutes earlier, or after they left? Hell, I'm all for body confidence, and most days don't even close the bathroom door when I take a shower (mostly because the dog freaks out and worries that I'll abandon her by sneaking out through some secret escape hatch in the tub, but still…), but if I'm gunning for the #2 job in the country? I maybe try to meet a few minimum professional requirements, like, "wear clothes around the people trying to get me elected."

    In terms of what the piece reveals about the rest of the McCain campaign, I'm super-extra thankful we got it right. Not sure if Newsweek is tireswinging(awesome term coined on Talking Points Memo) to distance McCain from the whole mess or not, but one is left with the impression that McCain had little or nothing to do with the clusterfuck-iest parts of his campaign. Not very inspiring or reassuring, is it? Especially compared to Obama taking the blame for things like not following up on Wright, or, my favorite "Hell yes, I love this man!" part, telling his campaign not to keep him in the dark about questionable actions: "If you think you're close to the line, the answer isn't to protect me—the answer is to ask me."

    As for Prop 8, among the many awesome pieces he did, Andrew Sullivan had this post. Nothing for it but to say, "Co-sign, dude," and link:
    The Right to Discriminate

  • Grace says:

    Lmao! I'm glad I'm not the only one watching Celebrity Rehab. I totally agree about Adler, and he also seems to be the only one there who is actually starting to get any real insight into his issues. There was one moment last episode (or the one before that) when he was talking to Dr. Drew and you could actually see the light bulb go on over his head. As for Busey, I'm just so embarrassed for him. I was interested in what Rodney King was going to have to say, too, but so far he's hardly said a word and they haven't even shown him much in the episodes.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I can give Busey a pass, up to a point, because he has structural damage that means he's not necessarily being annoying on purpose, but I don't know why he's there, if that's the case. It's rehab for drugs and alcohol, not neurological rehab, which I think is what he needs, and he's a distraction to the others with all his acronyms and lecturing.

    …Although if part of Drew's point is that you need to learn to tolerate that kind of irritation without using, maybe Gary is actually a big help. Hee.

    @Grace: Right on about Adler. There was one moment where he's telling the story of how his blight of a mother put him out on the street at age 11, and he's just telling it as a crazy anecdote, and Drew, who has probably heard everything, just looks *stricken* by the story. And he has to point out that it's a terrible, literal abandonment, and Adler's like, well…right.

    I mean…drop dead, Steven Adler's Mom.

    Rodney King is an interesting case; Dr. Drew is couching his issues as being about the beating itself, which is no doubt true, but I wonder if it's not more about having become the lightning rod of history 15 years ago. He's a human shorthand; it's a lot to carry around every day even if you know rationally that you're not responsible for everyone else.

  • Tisha_ says:

    I just finished reading Watch You Bleed right before this season started, so Steven Adler's basic story was fresh in my mind. And i just feel so bad for him.

    I hope he makes it after rehab. He deserves a shot at life.

    And for Christssake, Slash, call the dude!

    P.S. I LOVE that he still has the exact same hairdo!

  • Lis says:

    "It's rehab for drugs and alcohol, not neurological rehab, which I think is what he needs"

    That reminded me of my brother who has actually been kicked out of rehab several times because he's not an addict, he's crazy, like certifiably crazy (I can call him that, he's my brother) and he keeps checking himself into rehab for smoking crack and they keep kicking him out saying "Look dude, you are not addicted to crack, you're schizophrenic, so we can't fix you here" but it's hard for people like that to find a place that can fix them, or at least it's hard to get a schizophrenic to believe he's schizophrenic and not just a crackhead… ahh I love Christmas time.

  • RJ says:

    OH. MY. GOD.

    I watched this show at the gym one lunch hour because nothing else was on, and I got sucked right into it. I thought Dr. Drew did a great job dealing with the various rehabbers (not sure what else to call them as a group).

    Busey is as scary as hell. I think it's hysterical how everyone else who walks in ends up talking to him and then slowly backing away, all, "Uh, I hear a phone, or a dog, or a child screaming, or my mother calling… somewhere" and making a break for it.

    I was never a fan, so I didn't know who Steven Adler was, but my god … that poor guy. What a mess. If ever there was a poster child for not screwing up your life with drugs and alcohol, he's it. And I totally, totally agree, Sars:

    Drop dead, Steven Adler's Mom. (It cannot be said enough.)

  • Sadie says:

    Oh. LOVE Celebrity Rehab. I have oddly found myself thinking lustful thoughts about Dr. Drew when he gets called in the middle of the night and has on jeans and a tight t-shirt. I know, it's shameful.

    Gary Busey is the devil.

  • lizgwiz says:

    Oh god, Busey. It's really affecting my ability to enjoy the show (is "enjoy" the right word?). I remember him when he was young (and I was literally a kid), doing a wacky late-night local show here in Tulsa, and to see him now, all brain-damaged and out-of-control…it makes me sad.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Chapter 7 of the Newsweek report is now live.

  • JennB says:

    Arg, I completely forgot about CR last night! Good thing they reair it 20 times before the next episode.

    "There was one moment where he's telling the story of how his blight of a mother put him out on the street at age 11, and he's just telling it as a crazy anecdote, and Drew, who has probably heard everything, just looks *stricken* by the story. And he has to point out that it's a terrible, literal abandonment, and Adler's like, well…right."

    I couldn't believe it. It was like Drew couldn't grasp it. He kept saying, "But…you were 11. But you were *11*." Like it really was the worst thing he's ever heard.

    I'm liking Amber a lot, too. I'd bever heard of her before this, but she seems smart and like she really wants to get help, not just give some fame.

  • Trish says:

    Oh Sars, thanks for the Newsweek link– I'm riveted!

  • BSD says:

    I had a very strange and funny encounter with Steven Adler about….oh, 15 years ago or so.

    I was in L.A. visiting my brother, and we decided to go out for a couple drinks to Barney's Beanery. We're sitting at the bar when all of a sudden this big head of hair sits down next to my brother. I immediately knew that it was Steven Adler. And boy, he did not look good. Let's just say that he was definitely on some form of substance, most likely a combination of cocaine and Jack Daniels.

    So we're minding our own business when he turns to us and goes, "What's Up?." To which my brother replies to him, "Obvioiusly YOU!!!" Heh. Which Steven thought was the funniest thing he'd ever heard in his entire life as he high fives both me and my brother. He then starts telling us the sordid details of how he got kicked out of Guns and Roses and describing what a hypocrite Axl and Slash were for kicking him out the band for his drug use. Which of course led me and my brother to laugh on the inside as loudly as humanly possible.

    So then Steven asks us, "Where you guys from?" To which I replied, "New Jersey." Steven looks at me as if that was the most incredulous thing he's ever heard in his entire life. "NO FUCKING WAY!!! HOLD ON A SECOND!!!" Huh? What's going on here?

    Steven then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cellphone and starts dialing. A few seconds pass when suddenly Steven screams into his phone, "DUDE, YOU'RE NOT GONNA BELIEVE IT! I'M AT THE BEANERY HANGING OUT WITH SOMEONE FROM JERSEY!!!! HOLD ON A SECOND, I'LL PUT HIM ON!!!"

    Steven then hands me the phone and says, "TALK TO MY FRIEND SEBASTIAN! HE'S FROM JERSEY TOO!!!"

    So I grab the phone, and just before I'm about to say hello, your friend Steven's a fucking dynamo, blah-blah-fishcakes, it hits me. Sebastian. As in Bach. He's just called Sebastian Bach from Skid Row to tell him he's met someone else from New Jersey! As if he's never met anyone else in his entire life besides Skid Row who's from New Jersey.

    So I say hello to Sebastian, and I instantly recognize his voice and know for sure that it's him. "So Adler's pretty fucking wasted again, huh?" Heh. I tell him yeah and how random this whole situation has been. So I talked to him for maybe 30 seconds, of the sorry about this and where I'm from in Jersey variety, say goodbye and that's it. Sebastian was actually pretty cool about the whole thing.

    So I turn to hand Steven back his phone, and he's gone. Is he in the bathroom? Is he outside smoking? No idea. So I put his cellphone on the bar, figuring he'd be back, and continue having drinks with my brother. An hour later, Steven still hasn't come back. So we gave his cellphone to the bartender and left.

    Without question, the greatest celebrity run-in that I've ever had in my life.

  • Tisha_ says:


    But, wait… LOL Isn't Sebastian Bach Canadian?

    If I'm right, that kinda makes the story even better, BSD!

  • BSD says:

    @Tisha: Well, he is Canadian, but he's lived mostly in New Jersey. He currently lives in Middletown NJ.

  • Liz S. says:

    If you've read Slash's biography, it makes Steven Adler's relapse even more heartbreaking. Slash talks a lot about needing to cut cancerous addicts out of your life, particularly if you're an addict/former addict yourself. Which is what he did to Steven. But then at the end of the book, Slash talks about how Steven got clean and Slash is so unbelievably happy to have his friend back. The end.

    I guess shortly after it went to press, Steven relapsed. Big time. And Slash cut him off again.

    Having just had a close family friend relapse, I know how it works. Addicts are manipulators, because they have to feed the addiction. The only thing someone like Slash knows to do is cut off the relationship entirely so they don't risk being an enabler and drowning in the heartbreak of it all every day.

    So, this is all to say, I think Slash did the right thing.

  • K. says:

    "I have oddly found myself thinking lustful thoughts about Dr. Drew when he gets called in the middle of the night and has on jeans and a tight t-shirt. I know, it's shameful."

    Shameful nothing. Dude is fine as hell. He's almost twice my age, but I'd totally tap that. Often.

    I find Tawny annoying, for some reason. I know nothing about her, but there's something about her that seems put on. (Aside from her name, which I didn't know was fake until she said so.)

    I'm interested to hear more from Nikki McKibbin. I remember her from American Idol, and one of the tabloids (Us Weekly?) did a story on her recently and she's had a lot going on (she just lost her mom, who I think she did drugs with), so I'm curious about her. Her drinking and drugging shows on her, that's for sure.

  • Christina says:

    Ah, CR. I subscribe on iTunes so I can watch while working. That way I can pretend I'm being productive, AND if Busey is freaking me out, I can shrink the viewing window. He's much less irritating in miniature.

    The Newsweek series was riveting. I did find the end a little sad and scary – when the McCain campaign handlers wouldn't tell the candidate that it was essentially over. Dude, shouldn't he be plugged in enough to his OWN CAMPAIGN that he would be aware of stuff like that? It just confirmed what I had guessed, that Senator McCain had very little to do with how the campaign was run. I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse about him.

    Palin can just suck it six ways to Sunday. I fully expect the GOP official who has been sent to repo her clothes to find them in a bag on the front lawn, shredded and mixed with moose shit. "That'll show 'em, you betcha!"

  • Kate M. says:

    Darn, I'm just sucked into this show now. Thanks, Sars :-)
    Well, so much for NaNoWriMo.

  • Maura says:

    I love Celebrity Rehab, but I feel like I have to watch it when no one else is around. I think it's a legitimate show, but unless you've seen it, you might not feel that way. My husband looked at me like I had lobsters coming out of my ears when I turned it on last week.

    @soylent: "I haven't seen CR II yet, but it's so weird the way that show makes you adore people you would otherwise think you'd hate."

    I agree. I loved everyone in the first season, and wanted all of them to come out OK. I felt awful when I learned that Seth and the girl from AI had relapsed.

    This year, Steve is breaking my heart, and I love Amber. I'm also interested in hearing more about Rodney King. He's so matter of fact about what happened to him, and I don't know if that's because he's come to terms with it, or if he truly hasn't dealt with it yet.

    Also: I have a huge crush on Dr. Drew.

    Also Part Deux: Ditto on "Drop dead, Steve Adler's mom."

  • La BellaDonna says:

    If this is my Dr. Drew who had a pretty decent late-night "About Sex" show, he is fine fine fine, and no one of any age needs to apologise for admiring that eyeful.

    @BSD: Middletown, New Jersey? Middletown, New Jersey? Exit 109 off the GSP? Or is there some other Middletown, New Jersey? (New Jersey, home of my youth, you lack imagination: TWO Red Banks? Why not a Blue Bank, or a Pink Bank?)

    And also? "Drop dead, Steve Adler's mom, on TV, so that you can be shunned by multitudes."

  • BSD says:

    @La BellaDonna

    Yes, the very same Middletown, NJ that you speak of.

  • Tiara says:

    I just had to write/join in on this "Steven Adler Thing"! I'm old enough to remember him from his G&R days. I liked him then, and I just adore him now. He comes across as a very sincere and sweet human being. (wicked sense of humor, too) I watch this show now, just to see him interact with everyone.(so compassionate). And oh yes, Dr. Drew is gorgeous!

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