Monday, April 28, 2014

Listening to LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling on the tape...

is exactly, for me, like watching the scene in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives," where newly separated Sydney Pollack's character loses it and physically drags his much-younger aerobics-instructor girlfriend out of a party because she's been so utterly inane. It's a highly uncomfortable thing to watch because it's so real. You feel bad for the young woman because she's just being her dumb self, but you also feel bad for the man because he's just been embarrassed in front of all of his friends. (Though, of course, it's ultimately his fault -- he shouldn't have invited her there, or even been seeing her, in the first place.)

Donald Sterling is 80 years old and separated from his equally ancient wife. Desperate for sex, he hooked up with Vanessa Stiviano (aka "Maria Vanessa Perez," "Monica Gallegos," "Maria Valdez" -- aka a girl on the make). He bought her stuff and took her out in public; in return, he got sex.

So far so good. All's fair...  Until the girl tapes a completely dumb-shit argument with him -- AFTER Stiviano's been hit with a lawsuit brought by Sterling's wife, who's pissed because her estranged husband has been giving his money away to a, basically, hooker.
I don't blame Stiviano for reacting to the lawsuit. Although the focus on racism is completely schewed. I don't really blame Sterling's wife for being pissed at the family-fortune giveaway, though it's an extremely odd thing to bring a suit against a husband's girlfriend on the basis of getting gifts from the straying husband.
The whole Sterling tape is so obviously petty and personal, between an ageing mogul and the hussy he's trying to sleep with and control, yet not control... Anyone who's ever been in a stupid lover's spat can hear that he's not racist, yet is most concerned with what his friends/minions think -- They've obviously been reporting to him that his girlfriend is "hanging out with black guys." For an 80-year-old white man, that makes him look bad. Why? Because in the Olden Days, it actually was true that only the lowest-class of white women would sleep with black men, ostensibly because they couldn't "find anybody else." That's not usually true today, and it hasn't been true for decades. But, as I learned upon reading his Wikipedia page, Donald Sterling was born in 1934. For a man born in 1934, yes, seeing "your woman" with a black man might indeed be discomfiting. (Note that Sterling specifically told Stiviano RE Magic Johnson that he admires the man and also that she could "feed him, fuck him, whatever..." -- Sterling just didn't want the IMAGE going out on Instagram. In 2014, that seems ludicrous. But, again, for a man born in 1934, it goes back to his not wanting to seem less-than in front of his friends, who had been notifying him about his girlfriend's doings.)


Erik Bartlam said...

I'm glad there's somebody else out there who sees this not as very troubling statement on race relations in this country and how far we have to go and etc, etc, deeply saddening etc and baaaaaaaah...but sees it for the demented episode it was.

When I heard the tape it wasn't the racism that struck me but the grotesqueness of the scene...80 year old billionaire pleading with his brown purchase not to be seen with black men but to be with them everyday and sleep with them...then it sounds like he's almost in tears begging her to stop talking about it.

Just bizarre and indicative of nothing except maybe the fact that money can cause as many problems as it fixes.

Beth Austin said...

Sterling was/is apparently a scumbag in life and business dealings, but I'm kind of weird like THIS: I want to see people get their comeuppance for the RIGHT reason! Al Capone for ordering murders and not tax evasion. OJ for murder and not whatever that "stealing his Heisman trophy in a Las Vegas hotel" charge was. Sterling for slumlord practices and not for being illegally recorded by his skanky mistress. What cracks me up about Sterling is that he was set to get his 2nd--2nd!--"Lifetime Achievement Award" from the NAACP, of all entities, before this story broke. The utter hypocrisy.