Who Will Speak for Jesse?

As you’ve probably noticed, the tabloids are really in a lather at the moment over the “tragedy” that has befallen Sandra Bullock.  No sooner has she won her first and probably only Oscar, there follows the devastating revelation that her quirky “real-not-Hollywood” marriage is in collapse.  Her husband, D-list grease monkey Jesse James, apparently hasn’t been able to keep his screwdriver in the toolbox, leading to an affair with a meta-skank that goes by the name Michelle “Bombshell” McGee.

I know the desire-police have a certain script we should follow here.  Feel bad for the millionaire, Oscar-winning actress because her low-life husband is a cad and a cheat; that somehow Bullock’s heartbreak is that much more profound because she is beautiful, rich, and talented--and conversely, that James is that much more an idiot because he doesn’t realize what a supreme “catch” (and/or “meal ticket”) he has squandered away in Bullock.   

But will no one speak for the cause of true love?  Is no one on the side of those crazy kids, Jesse and Bombshell?  Sandra Bullock will be fine.  She’ll remarry a more responsible entertainment lawyer or Cedar Sinai surgeon or some other less camera-conscious beau and continue living a life of comfort and opportunity in her fabulous Hollywood domicile.  She has an Oscar, an agent, and endless opportunities.  If people want to feel bad about a garden-variety divorce story, why not spend some time chatting with the waitress at your local Denny’s who, even though she just won the coveted “employee of the month” award for keeping the sneeze-guard clean on the salad bar, must now face a world in which her husband has skipped town with that floozy from the Sonic Burger across the Interstate, taking with them the truck and next month’s rent money.  That’s a tragedy.

As for Jesse and Bombshell, how could one look at this couple and not believe higher forces have intervened to bring them together?  Have you ever seen two people more profoundly suited to one another?  I’ll admit, I haven’t followed Mr. James’ career all that closely.  From what I understand, he shares the name of a famous American outlaw and has demonstrated some proficiency at repairing motorized bicycles on television.  But from what I have seen of him, even I can imagine the glorious day when he first met “Bombshell” and thought, “Holy shit…that’s me, but with huge tits!  I am so totally fuckin’ in love!” 

Bombshell, meanwhile, seems completely in line with both Jesse’s habitus and media strategy.   Jesse James has risen to a certain amount of visibility by performing an easily recognizable form of American masculinity-- the tat-dude who compensates (or compliments) his apparent low-cult origins (real or feigned) by projecting a sexualized form of white-trash élanI am the dude, for real, that Bruce Springsteen used to sing about. I'm both "on fire" and capable of killing you with a well-thrown wrench. “Bombshell,” meanwhile, is the feminine equivalent--amplified a bit for purposes of eye-catching excess.  Matching Jesse James’ "don't screw with me swagger," she is the tat-chick who repels any and all attempts to demean or skankify her by projecting a “if-I’m-such-a-trashy-low-down-freakish-skank-then-why-are-you-still-checkin’-me-out-in-my-bikini-and-platform heels” type of confidence.  In short, they are the ying and yang of that entire L.A. Ink milieu that has somehow been able to embrace Meth culture without all the meth, that can ride Harleys while still maintaining a good health plan, that can eat gourmet Mac ‘n’ Cheese casseroles prepared on a $10,000 Viking stove by that Guy Fieri dude and still call it "down home" cooking (Fieri, of course, shares their vision of capitalizing on the cultural legacy of the nation’s hardscrabbled white underclass).

Bombshell even once posed in Nazi gear, hitting the libidinal panic button buried in the deepest recesses of the very race/class formation she and Jesse now “quote” with such marketable success.  Many believe the Sex Pistols and assorted other punks were the first to take up the Swastika as a signifier of unassimilated class resentment, but in fact American biker gangs adopted Hitler-wear much, much earlier (all the way back to the founding of the first biker clubs right after WWII, embracing the symbols of the enemy they had just helped defeat in the European theater).  But unlike those idiots in MSNBC prison who carve swastikas in their foreheads and thus render themselves pariahs for life among the non-insane, Bombshell simply took up the sartorial trappings of the Gestapo for a day, allowing her to move on and indulge other degenerate male fantasies later on (in another photo, she can be seen sexin' up a coffin).  That’s a smart business model, one I’m sure the James clan can appreciate.  Not only has she found a way into Jesse’s heart and possibly his corporate portfolio, she’s earned that reality show wherein she drives around L.A. in some custom hot-rod to appear at media events promoting the reality show wherein she drives around L.A. in a hot-rod promoting her show.  At the very least, she deserves a cameo officiating a good round of hair-pullin’ and bitch slappin’ on The Bad Girls Club.

You have to wonder how this story would play if Bullock had dumped James for a more tastefully appropriate partner, perhaps a relatively respected novelist or an international furniture designer of some kind. Sure, there would have been some sympathy for Jesse as the poor uncouth lout who couldn’t hold on to America’s middle-class sweetheart, but for the most part, I bet people would have understood…She had to move on because Jesse, bless his heart, just didn’t quite belong in her world.  But when destiny brings basic cable's "Wild One" and this aspiring “Trophy Girl” together (it’s true, look at her mid-section, just above the crown), a nation is scandalized.  But what happened to romance?  To destiny? To the heart wanting what the skeezy heart wants? 

No doubt about it--cheating on Sandra  Bullock and getting a divorce is very likely a stupid move on James' part.  He and Bombshell could well become the King and Queen of E!--or they might instead have a future shooting up in dirty bathrooms as they make a series of humiliating personal appearances at auto-detailing shops across the country.  But the important thing is they're going to roll the dice and double-down on their shared love of quotational lifestyling.

Me, I wish them only the best.  I think with enough love, support, and encouragement, they stand an excellent chance of being the first couple ever to give birth to a tattooed baby.  And I would watch that show—probably with much keener interest than any past or future Sandra Bullock movie. 

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