The standing contract that America has with celebrities at all levels is this: "You get to have money, fame, and indulge your perversions at will. We get to watch you whenever we want."
That said, we have so many tools and fools stewing and bobbing about in the vat of our "Celebritariat" that you can't know them all. Strange names sometimes rocket to the top of Google Trends and you can't help but be curious about them. This morning it was "Elizabeth Dewberry" shooting into the number two position right below "Mata Hari."
I have to admit that I had no idea who this sweetly named "Dewberry" was, but a quick click brought me to: " Elizabeth Dewberry Left Robert Olen Butler To Join Ted Turner's Collection"
Ah, now this has a bit of juice to it, I thought. And with no little surprise since it was news to me that Ted Turner has enough juice left to collect anything, much less Dewberrys. But then, like all things involving the outlandishly rich and the over-the-top narcissistic, it quickly got strange still.
It seems that the cuckolded husband, Robert Olen Butler, a Florida Professor, Pulitzer Prize winning writer, had taken it upon himself to write an "email of explanation" to "those concerned." Of course, in these days of email forwarding, "those concerned" turned out to be the entire Internet.
And what an email it is. It is a doozy. The short form is that Elizabeth is leaving Robert for Ted not because of his money, but because Ted seems to be the spitting image of her grandfather whose attentions to Elizabeth as a child were of the fiddle-about variety. (Approved by the Evangelical parents, too!)
"[Elizabeth] has spoken openly in her work and in her public life of the fact that she was molested by her grandfather from an early age, a molestation that was known and tacitly condoned by her radically Evangelical Christian parents."
(Of course one must at this point ask if there is anyone among our "cultural savants and celebrities" that was not molested as a child? Probably not. Ever since Oprah outed herself there's been no stopping it.)
What follows is a quick reprise of Bob and Elizabeth's "miracle" marriage, following her first "abusive" one:
"I met her when she was in a terminally desperate state from this lifetime of abuse, and we married and we truly loved each other."
And what a "healing" love it was:
"I was able to help her a great deal. She says I saved her life. But de facto therapy as the initial foundation of a marriage eventually sucks the life out of a relationship."Say rather, Bob, as the song notes, "sometimes love just ain't enough" and a woman needs..... her molesting grandfather back!
"And it is very common for a woman to be drawn to men who remind them of their childhood abusers. Ted is such a man, though fortunately, he is far from being abusive. From all that I can tell, he is kind to her, loyal, considerate, and devoted to his family, and perhaps, therefore, he can redeem some things for her."
I shudder to think what those "redemption" sessions are going to be like in "Grandpa Ted's bedroom," but it will probably involve a lot of "primal screaming" of one sort or another. Indeed, I shudder to think of any life form above the level of intestinal bacteria spending extended erotic time with Ted Turner. Still "The World According to Robert Olen" must be believed even though it is one where the frothing insanity of everyone involved could drop a charging rhino at 50 yards.
In a very real sense, this farce is but a microcosm of what passes for life among the monied/feted/awarded/celebated elite in America today -- overpaid, over-sexed, forever over here, and constantly in quest of the cover of Vanity Fair.
The dramatis personae are the stuff of buffo classic Jacobean drama/comedy.
First you have the molested, troubled, and hot blonde babe looking for "redemption" through an "art" that, although published, has little chance of being read or remembered 10 years out. She knows that, but that doesn't stop her from working it.
Next you have the balding "Pulitzer-Prize" winning writer/professor who saves her from a life of "abuse" with "therapeutic" love, but can't keep it up. She was the best thing to happen to his vanity since the Pulitzer and he can't forgive her.
Then you have the serial-lecher -- who is also a billionaire, so he can afford it -- stepping in like some syphilitic Rhett Butler to haul hot writer-babe up the sweeping staircase and straight into the molesting den. ("Come in and meet my little friend....)
And finally you have the Pulitzer-anointed cuckold working out his "therapeutic love" by blowing the whole sordid mess across the internet with the email phrase that pays,
"You can feel free to use any part or all of this email to do so. I really appreciate your help."And "help" they do by forwarding in on to gossip central at Gawker, where no celebrity is too slight to be unworthy of comment.
What we're really seeing here is the modern variant of the Cuckold as
"a consummate voyeur... who derives great pleasure from seeing his "hot wife" or partner being pleasured and serviced by another male (or males...or a female). Although he assumes a submissive role and will often assist during the course of the sex act, the "cuckold husband" may actually be the controlling, dominant party in the relationship. He may invite, encourage, and initiate consideration of the practice with his partner, and may be the one to make arrangements and approve how, when and with whom his wife may have the intended encounter. In street parlance, he may "pimp" his wife for the encounters he wishes."And in the rest of his email Olen does that job in a superlative fashion. I wouldn't be surprised if his subject line read, "Pimp my wife, please."
Of course, Olen is careful to state his perfect innocence in the matter, along with his ultimate mea culpa:
"Further, Elizabeth has never been able to step out of the shadow of the Pulitzer. As you know -- and she knows -- I have been an avid admirer and supporter of her work. Everyone has heard me proclaim my sincere high regard for her as an artist. I often did this publicly. But she has published two brilliant novels since she's been with me and neither has gotten anywhere near the recognition that they richly deserve. That made it harder and harder for her to live with the ongoing praise and opportunity that flows to a Pulitzer winner. Not because of jealousy. She has always been very happy for me. But the multitude of small reflections of regard that came my way inevitably threw a spotlight on the absence of those expressions of regard for her. She felt as if she was failing as a writer." [Emphasis added to make sure you understand just what a caring person Butler is.]
Short form: "Who put the 'pass' in the 'passive aggressive?' Who put the 'slam' in the 'slam-a-whamma email?' "
But wait. There's more! Including the time and place of what may well have been Butler's first cuckolding:
"Then, in March, she nearly died from an intestinal blockage in Argentina while on a trip with Ted. The trauma of that led her further to profoundly question her own identity. It became clear to her that the only way she can truly find herself is by making this change in her life."
I shall leave it to braver hearts than mind to speculate on the nature of the "intestinal blockage" that lead to Elizabeth's profound questioning of her identity. I merely suggest modern psycho-pharmacology has many potions which can both alleviate fundamental pain and palliate the compulsive bullshitting of the self.
Still, when in the course of elite American events, individuals "find" themselves through "change," we can at least hope that they will discover themselves magically transported into a better life, a better place, a healthier headland from which they can view the new landscape of their lives laid out in front of them limned with the shimmer garlands of sanity, sanctity and a higher morality.
Well, not so fast, as Butler is at pains to explain:
"She will not be Ted's only girlfriend. Ted is permanently and avowedly non-monogamous. But though he has several girlfriends, it is a very small number, and he does not take them up lightly and he gives them his absolute support when he does."
Okay, I guess that means she will be both "special" and "not-so-special." But whatever she may be, it is thoughtful for the husband to inform the world that she will be, at the very least, a well-supported whore. That Ted Turner's some guy, don't you think? After all, a man who can slip a billion dollars to the UN can certainly make sure one of his sex-toys is well cared for. I'm sure this goes a long way to alleviating Butler's concerns.
Indeed, Butler may well think he might be getting a bit of a grant from one of Turner's many charitable foundations out of the whole deal. Or maybe a retirement home somewhere on Turner's two million acres where he can tend his garden in his declining years. It would be, after all, only fair.
And being "fair" is what Butler is all about in this whole business. Except when he is about whipping out the crying towel for himself and shedding those crocodile tears made with the age-old recipe of "regret" and "understanding:"
And Elizabeth's leaving me is as much about the three weeks a month she is alone as it is about the week a month she is with Ted. [Herewith a brief insight into Turner's harem schedule.]She will find her own space and her own light in which to create the great works of art she is destined to create."
Elizabeth has so far written, in ironic order, Many Things Have Happened Since He Died, His Lovely Wife, and Sacrament of Lies. All of which failed to clutter a surfeit of America's night stands since the incest-recoverers' niche is pretty well full at this time.
Still one can imagine that the world's readers wait with bated breath for the great works of Elizabeth Dewberry, even though most probably think bagging Ted Turner is her great work. After all, it's not everyday you get your molesting grandfather back as a billionaire.
And finally, things are not all bad for Butler. There's a win in this for him too:
"I will keep my house. I will keep my dogs and cats. I will keep virtually everything. She is being characteristically generous about that. [Bagging a billionaire will make a woman generous when it comes to those tatty old dogs, cats, and houses.] But I will lose Elizabeth. And that is very sad. But the loss has been happening through many years of our shared struggle to make her whole. In that, I've done all I can do, as has she. I wish her the best. I ask you not to think ill of her in any way."
Of course not, Robert. Why would we think "ill of her in any way" given the immense load of information you've blown out across the planet in the indelible ink of the Internet?
Neither will we think ill of you, nor of the man whose mustache must reek of Dewberry and many others, that caring cad Ted Turner.
Robert, you might think this is a small tragedy, but it really is just another example of American/Jacobean farce that passes for American culture in this era of ultimate decline. It's not the real world, it's a play: "The Whore, the Cuckold, and the Lecher." All we ask is that you not write us out of the next act.
Remember, "You get to have money, fame, and indulge your perversions at will. We get to watch you whenever we want."
Power couple Dewberry and Turner: "So happy together..."
UPDATE -- The Voice of the Neutered Cuckold:: Bobbi Butler talks with Alex Chadwick about the e-mail while Chadwick administers a slow, loving caress to Butler's swollen ego at NPR : E-Mail Chronicles Love Triangle with Ted Turner. Much more here than meets the email eye. And, arrgh, that voice. If I were a woman I'd leave him for any man with an half an octave lower that didn't sound like a val-gal on crack.Posted by Vanderleun at August 1, 2007 11:56 AM | TrackBack