Arianna's List, 2009: The Things I Want to Forget makes us shudder at the most embarrassing moments of 2009. Before you forget, hopefully you won't mind taking a closer look at the 31% of her list that had something to do with sex. That's 22 of the 71 items.
While the list doesn't seem to be in any particular order, right out of the shoot, items 5-9 lament that we know as much as we do about the sex life of four men (a TV personality, a sports superstar, and two politicians) and a female body part of a superstar reproducer. Arianna is definitely right. Let's just forget items 5-9.
Bristol Palin, a winner as abstinence ambassador, item 12, is the only one who also has a parent on the list. Her mom, Sarah, made it for a speech and a book tour and for being herself, but there was also that feud with David Letterman (a winner at number 5 on the list himself, see TV personality above) over a joke about her daughter getting knocked up at a baseball game that Sarah turned into the rape of a minor issue when it turned out that Bristol was the butt of the joke when it was really her younger sister, the minor, who attended the game. This truly detracted from Bristol's role as abstinence ambassador after she became a teen mother out of wedlock. Once again, Arianna is right. Let's just forget all items related to anyone named Palin.
Item 24 has to do with the inadequate circumference and length of Bernie Madoff's male organ. Even I couldn't have imagined that one of the biggest financial rip-off schemes in history would ultimately come down to sex. We could get into whether his crime and his alleged sexual shortcomings are related, but let's follow Arianna's lead and just forget it.
Item 27, about John Edwards promising his lover a "post-Elizabeth" rooftop wedding starring Dave Matthews, seems about as emotionally cruel as sex can get. This one is harder to forget, but I'm with Arianna. We should make every effort.
Item 32, Ryan O'Neal hitting on daughter Tatum at Farrah's funeral, is a stunner that is astonishing for not only what it is but that we know about it because Ryan told us. Thanks, Arianna, for reminding us to forget this one. Hopefully Ryan won't and will go straight to his therapist before he gives any more candid interviews.
Item 36 is Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, a reality show about sex addiction. Forget, forget, forget.
Moving on to Part Two of the list, some would argue that Item 1, "Tom DeLay's rump-shaking to 'Wild Thing' on Dancing With the Stars," does not fit into the sex category. But that's just because we really, really don't want to think of him that way. But he wants us to. And that is exactly why we will follow Arianna's advice and forget we ever saw it, or for those who didn't, that you ever even heard about it.
Item 6 winners are a list of the women who came forward, reluctantly enthusiastically, to claim their allegedly rightful place in the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Each had a little something different to offer but there's a good reason these women are on Arianna's list. Forget times 11.
I wasn't familiar with Item 16, another reality show winner, Jersey Shore, but all I had to do was Google it to quickly discover that it belongs on the sex list. Never mind the controversy over whether "guido" is a derogatory term. This show made the list because one cast member nicknamed his abs, another had his penis pierced, and JWOWW announces when her "tits are coming out." After airing a promo of a cast member, Snooki, getting clobbered by a drunk in a bar, MTV backed off and sloppily blacked out the actual punch when the episode aired, only adding to its already phenomenal internet coverage where Snooki can be seen taking the punch over and over again in slow motion. As fast as is humanly possible, FORGET.
Adam Lambert is a double winner in Item 21 because he was beat by mild mannered Kris on American Idol but also for his performance at the AMA's. An incredible talent, it seems that Adam cannot resist using his fast-tracked, well-earned fame from the show to school the world on the joys of gay sex. In this case, let's forget that performance, try to remember how amazing he was on American Idol and hope that he realizes that his best chance to create awareness is to be great at what he does and not go for the cheap shot right out of the gate.
Heidi Montag has the special distinction of winning items 30 and 31 back to back. If ever there was a good thing to forget, it would be for Heidi's performance of "Body Language," Arianna's nominee for one of the worst records of the year, at the Miss Universe pageant. Stunningly amateurish and pathetic, at least Heidi could have found a decent costumer. And choreographer. And record producer. And as for Heidi as an author, well, that simply cannot be processed for this blog or otherwise. In fact, it seems almost dangerous for us to be reminded to forget Heidi Montag. Most likely, we already had.
And now for my own list of Arianna's winners that despite making the list of things she wants to forget, I hope we don't.
Miley Cyrus, pole dancer. At the Teen Choice Awards, Miley Cyrus took a big step towards changing her image from Disney star Hannah Montana to just another young, scantily clad music star. In a clumsy performance of an awful song, Miley was hauled around on an ice cream cart that inexplicably had a pole sticking straight up out of it. She made a half-hearted attempt at pole dancing but her obvious youth and inexperience made it downright creepy. Remember those controversial photographs of Miley and her father in Vanity Fair? Those were creepy, too. Miley's behavior and the message it sends to young girls is disturbing enough, but her parents' message to other parents is even more disturbing. So if you ever wonder just how these things evolve, how we got where we are today, have a look back at Miley in 2009. And please, don't forget it. We can't afford to.
James Inhofe calling Al Franken the "clown from Minnesota." We have that clown to thank for the Franken Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that stood up for rape victims working for defense contractors who were unable to take advantage of their rights under the legal system due to fine print in their employment contracts. Let's not forget what Al Franken did by putting the power behind the victim rather than the powerful.
The Jaycee Lee Dugard story of kidnapping, years of imprisonment and sexual slavery is hard to hear. And the missed opportunities to rescue her even harder. If we forget that, we might not remember to learn our lessons for the next time because there will be a next time, and a next and a next. And who can forget how gracefully Jaycee handled herself, refusing to cash in on her story with the media, and instead privately walking straight into the arms of her loving family to heal.
And finally two stories that I blogged about in 2009. Rihanna was humiliated when she became a victim of domestic violence and even more humiliated by the public viewing of the photograph of her bruised and battered face. It is not as easy as it looks to break up with your abuser immediately following such an event. It was appropriate for Ellen and Oprah to encourage her to exit the relationship but it was not inappropriate for Rihanna to do what so many abuse victims do at first. They want to believe that their abuser isn't that person, they want to believe they are loved, they want to believe that it was an isolated incident and they want to prove to themselves that they are right. It takes a while to figure out they aren't. Rihanna did that faster than most and gave a smart and empowering interview to Diane Sawyer that probably positively impacted millions of young women going through the same thing privately. I hope we won't forget that. Such moments are very hard to come by.
The story of the incestuous relationship between Mackenzie Phillips and her father could probably win a prize for the story we most wish hadn't broken in 2009. The harsh reality is that literally millions of women and children in this country, let alone the world, have been sexually abused by their fathers. They don't choose to be defined by that experience, but without question it defines who they become. They are forgotten, lost in the secret and confusing world of incest. As unpleasant as the story was, as inappropriately as I believe Oprah handled the interview, and as forgotten as it now is, I hope we will never forget that fathers indeed have sex with their daughters and as a society, it is high time we admit it, face it, and deal with it. Mackenzie did not make a good role model but it was her story and she had a right to tell it. When we say we want to forget it, we are saying to millions of women that we don't acknowledge their enormous pain and isolation. Telling is an important component of healing, but listening when told is even more important.
Happy New Year, everyone. May there be fewer sex stories we want to forget in 2010.