Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lies we tell ourselves

An old story, but a revealing one.

Pamela Anderson, former 'Baywatch' star, made one of the original sex tapes. This was when she was married to Tommy Lee, the drummer for the band Motley Crue. The tape was apparently stolen from their home. Bear in mind this was back in 1997, when the internet was much less developed and it was harder for these things to go viral. A second tape that she'd made with Bret Michaels of the band 'Poison' also surfaced in 1998.

She and Lee got divorced. Since that time, she got engaged to Kid Rick, and then broke up with him, before finally marrying him in July 2006. The marriage only lasted a few months, with them filing for divorce in November 2006. It was announced that Anderson had miscarried a few weeks earlier. The fact that the marriage was premised on a pregnancy and terminated on the conclusion of such is entirely plausible, and sufficient to explain all the actions involved. Additionally, one does not need to reach for conspiracy theories to describe the marital breakdown of a woman who married her first husband after knowing him for 96 hours. All this is given. But it's not what I want to talk about.

What is far more interesting is the rumor that the divorce was triggered at least in part by the movie 'Borat'. In the film, Pamela Anderson is the love interest of Borat, and the movie features a couple of non-explicit clips from Anderson's sex tape with Tommy Lee. But Anderson is playing herself, with the plot being that she gets kidnapped by Borat by being put in his 'marriage sack'. In other words, she comes across as pretty normal. The sex tape scene is mainly a joke to show that Anderson is not the virgin that Borat thinks she is. The joke, in other words, is about Borat, and Pamela Anderson is just being Pamela Anderson.

So goes the story, there was a private showing of the movie at the Anderson/Rock home held by Universal chief Ron Meyer. Kid Rock (Robert Ritchie) apparently was furious after the screening:
"Bob started screaming at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, 'You're nothing but a whore! You're a slut! How could you do that movie?' — in front of everyone. It was very embarrassing," the source said.
Now, it bears repeating that this movie actually made Pamela Anderson appear in a better light than her actual actions in real life did. In the movie, she didn't appear naked (which she's done dozens of times, in Playboy and elsewhere). She didn't sleep with anyone. She didn't even pretend to sleep with anyone. She wasn't even shown as being a slut.

And bear in mind, all of Pamela Anderson's horrible relationship choices were known to Kid Rock long before they got married. She's made sex tapes with two separate men, both of which are readily available on the internet. Her naked body can be seen just by googling her name.  If you're marrying this woman, let's just say, "caveat emptor".

No, what the movie actually did was publicly draw attention to and make light of the fact that she had been boned by her ex-husband. It is incredibly difficult for any man to maintain an even temperament watch himself being cuckolded on camera by another man. Even if it was in the past. Even if it was before she knew him. It is virtually impossible for a man to maintain an even temperament while jokes are publicly made for the whole world to see about his wife's past escapades.

As far as I can tell, the screening did two things, both of which made the marriage terminal.

The first was that it forced Kid Rock to publicly witness an acknowledgement that his wife had been boned by another man in the past, and that this was on film. You don't need a PhD in psychology to hypothesise that Kid Rock probably spent a good deal of his time avoiding thinking about this question. You don't have to be a marriage counselor to imagine that this issue may have been a source of friction beneath the surface of their marriage (or indeed above the surface). Having this comforting amnesia ripped off in a public setting was likely a major source of discomfort.

But that alone I don't think would have done it. Kid Rock must have been fairly tough-skinned at dealing with these kind of jokes.  He had to be. How can you marry a woman who was famous for appearing on TV in a tight bathing suit, then appearing in Playboy, then appearing in multiple sex tapes, without acknowledging her past actions?

But there was something else this time.

This time, Pamela Anderson herself was in on the joke. She was happy to be part of a movie that made joking references to his cuckolding. The jokes were mild, no doubt. But not to him. In the eyes of Kid Rock, she had joined the chorus of laughter at him about the fact that he married a woman famous for being boned by someone else.

And that was what he couldn't abide.

But you can't admit that. You can't say 'How could you publicly acknowledge your past marital relations and be a part of a comedy scene vaguely about that?'. You can't say 'How can you force me to publicly endure recognition of the existence of your sex tape by watching small, inexplicit segments of it'. Because both of those are ridiculous-sounding complaints, even though they're the actual problem. So what accusation does he reach for? In his desperation to hurt her in return, what does he say? Let's rewind:
"Bob started screaming at Pam, saying she had humiliated herself and telling her, 'You're nothing but a whore! You're a slut! How could you do that movie?' — in front of everyone. It was very embarrassing," the source said.
Let's examine the three complaints in reverse order.
3. "You're a slut"
Yes. But that's old news. Why did you marry her then?
2.  "You're nothing but a whore"
Yes. But that's old news. Why did you marry her then?
1. She had humiliated herself
Wrong. She humiliated you.

Or more specifically, Tommy Lee humiliated you. She just reminded you publicly of the fact, and was in on the joke.

And that has to end in divorce.

Hell hath no fury like a person exposed to truths they've known but tried to ignore.

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