FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Tits Make the Activist

by Michael Colby

 

I started to count the number of references to Erin Brockovich1s breasts in Austin Bunn’s biographical essay on her work in the New York Times1 Sunday Magazine (“Erin Brockovich, The Brand,” April 28, 2002). Unfortunately, I got distracted and lost count after about a dozen. Brockovich, of course, is the paralegal who helped fight Pacific Power & Gas (PG&E) in the late 1990s and was immortalized by the movie that bears her name and starred the chirpy Julia Roberts.

But if you picked up the article to learn about Brockovich’s methodology and activist philosophy, you were shit out of luck. This was about tits. And Brockovich was all-too-willing to play along. How many activists, for example, would take a journalist on a clothes-shopping spree while being followed for a feature story? Brockovich, for one. In fact, the shopping spree come about after a trip to a bar for a “cranberry and vodka” (their first stop) and well before they got around to visiting “victims.”

The smitten Bunn, even donning a name fit for the piece, couldn’t keep his mind of Brockovich’s breasts, bellybutton, and waistline long enough to provide much else about her life. Brockovich, after finding wealth and fame from her successful case against PG&E, is apparently still out there fighting the “bad guys,” but Bunn could care a less about such trivial matters.

Here’s Bunn’s third paragraph of his essay, describing their trip to the clothing store:

“When she glides in, nearly an hour late, she heads immediately to the dressing room. She throws on a pair of blatantly age-inappropriate, low-slung denim pants and models them in the mirror. For most, this would be a private moment, but not for Brockovich. She pulls up her shirt and suspiciously eyes her miraculous waistline. She wants to know if the jeans reveal too much skin. ‘I don’t like my bellybutton showing,’ she says. ‘I really don’t.’ She looks magnificent in everything here, which makes choosing hard. ‘When I have vodkas-and-cranberries, I come home with all kinds of stuff,’ she says, twisting her hair into curlers that have been warmed for her. ‘I tell my husband, ‘Don’t let me shop when I’ve been drinking.'”

But then Bunn lets it all hang out when he springs this bit of verbiage on his readers: “We’re used to our crusaders rejecting style and sexuality for high seriousness, as if they were mutually exclusive. But Brockovich demands to be taken seriously with her Armani suits and her breast implants (and in some cases, yes, her bellybutton showing).”

Brockovich, of course, loves it. She even jumps at the chance to describe herself as “Ralph Nader with cleavage.”

Welcome to the world of celebrity activists, where we’re all just a tit job away from victory.

Michael Colby is the editor of Wild Matters and welcomes comments at mcolby@wildmatters.org

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
Charles R. Larson
A Review of Mary Roach’s “Grunt”
David Yearsley
Stuck in Houston on the Cusp of the Apocalypse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail