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June 7, 2006 4:28 PM   Subscribe

I was Russell Crowe's Stooge! Oh dear, famous actor tries to manipulate journalist. Journalist turns whistleblower. Looks like trouble down under again for everyone's favourite Gladiator.
posted by Duug (83 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
since i read the article this morning i was thinking
surely it's gonna pop on here today.. pretty interesting and devastating..
posted by zenzizi at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2006


One time, I entered his home to find him sitting amongst scripts, stacked as a metropolis on the table around him. This was the fraction his agent let through to him, and precious few of these would seize Russell's attention. Some would become films anyway, as had happened with The Matrix, a script on which he had chosen to pass. Russell "didn't get it", he said, the theme of a beautiful falsehood hiding the ugly truth. It was not a subject that interested him.

Woah, now that would be weird. Will Smith apperantly also passed.
posted by delmoi at 4:39 PM on June 7, 2006


Wow, what a strange story. That said in this country we make a big deal about keeping "sources secret", so it seems almost like the whole article is just as journalistically unethical as stuff Crowe was asking that guy to do.

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 4:53 PM on June 7, 2006


While a part of me was thinking "I don't need to read another article about X celebrity," I do have to admit that this was a really fine read, although the notion of R. Crowe as a manipulative jackass was about as surprising to me as finding out that Tom Cruise's relationship with Katie Holmes was fake. That is to say, it wasn't surprising at all.
posted by Juggermatt at 4:54 PM on June 7, 2006


He hoped I didn't mind, but he'd called ahead and ordered food for both of us. He was sure it would be to my liking.

Is there a secret rich asshole class where they teach you to do this? Not the first time I've heard of it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:56 PM on June 7, 2006


That was a fantastic read, and I never would've seen it otherwise. Thank you.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 4:59 PM on June 7, 2006


That was a great read. Thanks for the link!
posted by obeetaybee at 5:09 PM on June 7, 2006


Is there a secret rich asshole class where they teach you to do this? Not the first time I've heard of it.

It's typical Alpha Male behavior, and these big time stars (as well as high powered business types, fighter pilots, etc.) are really good at it. It's a big part of what makes them successful, in fact, these alpha instincts (women too).

Good read.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:09 PM on June 7, 2006


I'm sure a lot of people think that the journalist himself comes out of this looking pretty unlikeable and unethical, and he does, but it's worth it to read celebrity journalism that's this compelling.
posted by transona5 at 5:22 PM on June 7, 2006


Fantastic writing.
posted by BobsterLobster at 5:40 PM on June 7, 2006


Marx seems frank about his own neediness, ethical malleability, etc. It's not flattering, but it lends credibility to the article.
posted by everichon at 5:42 PM on June 7, 2006


Wow, what a starnge and well-written tale.
posted by kosher_jenny at 5:55 PM on June 7, 2006


strange, even *facepalm*

Also, I'm not surprised at Crowe trying to manipulate the press, but the extent of it is fascinating. So much effort crafting a faux-friendship with someone when you literally have the money to have them killed. If I had Crowe's money the thought of that alone would make it easy to ignore the rumor mill.
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:00 PM on June 7, 2006


Good read, thanks. One knows about this kind of manipulation in general, but it's fascinating to see how it works in detail.
posted by languagehat at 6:05 PM on June 7, 2006


Indeed, that was a fun read.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:28 PM on June 7, 2006


This was Google's first relevant result in my search for information the book he refers to about his time with his childhood rock idol. It's interesting to compare the comments here about this article with the reviewer's take on the book; there seem to be some common themes in this fellow's working life, and not altogether pretty ones.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:49 PM on June 7, 2006


Also, it makes total sense that celebrities, while certainly mostly rich and professionally successful enough to ignore this stuff, are haunted by bad press and rumor mills. After all, it's a hollow conceit hiding core feelings of inferiority that makes an alpha personality just so--so no matter how much success one has, it's still frightfully important what people say/think about you.

Strange and interesting. And I found the article brutally honest, as mentioned already.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:56 PM on June 7, 2006


And more Jack Marx, this time on Lennon. I think it would be good for the gnawing in this guy's guts if he were to take about ten years off from writing about celebrities. Or maybe the rest of his life.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:17 PM on June 7, 2006


Great post - thanks.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2006


This was a fascinating article. Thanks for the post. I don't think Marx revealed anything most people don't already suspect but it's fascinating nonetheless.

Marx seems frank about his own neediness, ethical malleability, etc. It's not flattering, but it lends credibility to the article.

Exactly what I was thinking. Although I think this bit from the piece:

"These cheeky shadows of intrigue and doubt assuaged my own feelings of self-betrayal, but they acted in the service of their subject, too, investing the fonder passages with a far more credible sheen."

And this just a few paragraphs down:

"I explained that by mentioning our argument I had perhaps rendered charges of manipulation impotent. I had wanted people, I wrote him, to know that "you are a clever, funny, warm-hearted guy" and that "I wanted to tell them in a way that didn't smell like publicity - to let them almost learn it for themselves".

puts a bit of a spin on it. Is Marx really being honest about his discomfort with his own neediness and unethical behavior? Or is he expecting his readers to "fail to appreciate such elementary psychology"? I tend to think he IS being honest but seeing as the piece reveals as much about Marx's own ability to manipulate as it does of Crowe's, who can say for sure?
posted by LeeJay at 8:48 PM on June 7, 2006


Am I the only one who thought the author was far more pathetic and disturbed than his subject?
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:22 PM on June 7, 2006


great story... I hope he writes that book (not the one about Michael Castellano).
posted by pruner at 10:08 PM on June 7, 2006



Fascinating reading. Never would have read it unless you posted it here. Thanks.

This journalist is one Professional Victim. ugh. Crowe the Narcissist and journalist the Martyr Narcissist-Codependent.

From the moment he did not refuse to have his lunch force-picked for him, I felt he was a passive-aggressive skeeve. So, ok, he let himself be bullied. First mistake. He went to hear the music thinking he would lie. This man is used to lying. He planned on lying. He listened to the music and fake nodded his head. A white lie. Ok no biggie. He went home and ridiculed Crowe's music with his wife after faking that he liked it. I liked him less and less.

But then he took on the job for Crowe, who he was then covertly despising but longing for attention from, to promote something he definitely disliked. By then I can see he's really a person with limited ethics and he's preening himself while playing Victim all through this story. He's an unpaid employee/publicist acting all crestfallen that he's not having an authentic friendship with an overt telephone throwing, no-remorse for hurting others narcissist, who he loathes it seems but pedestalises at the same time.

He didn't title his article "I chose to be a deceitful, two-faced, backstabbing, cowardly fraud of a psuedo-friend" but poor widdle Victim, Russell's stooge. He didn't go into this an innocent, he went into this deceitful, covetous and conniving.

Strictly speaking, all he'd offered me was a job. It was I who had refused payment, transforming my task into a labour of love.

Warm fake love. ugh.
posted by nickyskye at 10:20 PM on June 7, 2006


I've spent little bits of my life in thrall to awful-but-fascinating people and have discovered, to my great relief, that it's much better being around people who are straightforward and decent.
posted by argybarg at 10:27 PM on June 7, 2006


I think its wierd how many people are jumping on Marx. He doesnt paint himslef in a very positive light, its refreshing.

nickyskye- are you telling me you would of refused Russel Crows lunch choice to avoid being passive aggresive? You would of told him his music sucked? I dont understand.

I dont know, I probably wouldve acted the same way Marx did in the face of such a celebrity. Its alright if you reckon you have higher ethics than the author, I just think its a bit harsh to jump on him when hes so open about it.
posted by phyle at 10:36 PM on June 7, 2006


Thanks for the read. I'll admit I wouldn't have read the article if not for the MeFi post.

And about dear old Russell, never liked his movies, never liked his acting. Always mystifies me how he ever got so dang famous. :P
posted by slf at 10:43 PM on June 7, 2006


Am I the only one who thought the author was far more pathetic and disturbed than his subject?

This journalist is one Professional Victim.


He's neither pathetic and disturbed nor a victim. He's a human being who had a moment of clarity about his own failings - the same failings we almost all have. Alain de Botton, contrasting his own behaviour with that of Socrates, who chose death over compromise, puts it well:

"In conversations, my priority was to be liked, rather than to speak the truth. A desire to please led me to laugh at modest jokes like a parent on the opening night of a school play. With strangers, I adopted the servile manner of a concierge greeting wealthy clients in a hotel - salival enthusiasm born of a morbid, indiscriminate desire for affection. I did not publically doubt ideas to which the majority was committed. I sought the approval of figures of authority and after encounters with them, worried at length whether they had thought me acceptable. When passing through customs or driving alongside police cars, I harboured a confused wish for the uniformed officials to think well of me."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:03 PM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


They're both pretty creepy.
posted by zarah at 11:17 PM on June 7, 2006


I've spent little bits of my life in thrall to awful-but-fascinating people and have discovered, to my great relief, that it's much better being around people who are straightforward and decent.

So nicely said. I agree.

phyle, Yes, I would have refused to have my lunch choice forcibly made for me. That may not have been the case years ago. Once upon a time I let myself be bullied.
Not now.

But it's before the lunch started the lies began:

He had read an article I had written -something about how the celebrity magazines make up lies

Russell Crowe turned to him because Marx was supposedly capable of seeing the lies. Crowe was for all intents and purposes looking for honesty.

He wanted to meet over lunch. He asked me if I could be trusted.

Crowe was looking for a person he could trust. And Marx KNEW this.

The last thing he wanted to see in the papers, he said, was some story about my lunch with Russell Crowe.

So Marx set out immediately to make everything he said a complete lie, from the get-go. Just because he admits he's a treacherous snake of a spineless creep doesn't make him more ethical.

It's one thing to be starstruck and want to people-please momentarily. But he didn't play nice to please, to be considerate or polite. He despised Crowe, felt contempt for his music and sniggered over his music with his wife and got his wife to also lie. This wasn't a one time fake smile, it was a mask of smiles disguising loathing, while whimpering for more attention.

It's one thing to authentically want affection and approval, it's quite another to camouflage the sneers, methodically set out to publicly betray every trust, then ask to be perceived as the victim. To me Marx is a bald-faced skeeve.
posted by nickyskye at 11:20 PM on June 7, 2006


A few years back, a friend of mine was commissioned to write a celebrity biography of Russell Crowe. Instead of spewing out the standard kind of schlock, she decided to write the book as a psychological novel narrated from Crowe's perspective and managed to make it an absolutely hilarious pseudo-satire. Scenes include seven-year old Russell watching a man and woman kiss in a bar and feeling uncomfortable about grown-up sexuality, or Russell forlornly musing on his relationship with his father. The caption to a picture of Russell drinking a beer: "Russell enjoying a manly beverage." Amazon reviews indicate reader confusion. Whenever I hear about Russell Crowe doing something stupid, I always imagine it as a new chapter in this book, and it always makes me laugh.
posted by painquale at 11:49 PM on June 7, 2006


nicky-
I really dont think the "moral" choices in all the situations in the article are as cut and dry as your perceiving them. As a general rule if a can at least acknowlege that the situation is a difficult one, I tend not to think to poorly of choices other people make - even if they choose to act differently than I would of. When people are put in difficult positions, I try not to be so judgemental of them if they make the wrong decision.

You state that Crowe was looking for someone he could trust. Marx was trustworthy for most of the article, he says he thought they were freinds. I dont see in the article where Marx blatantly breaks Crowes trust, at least not until the very end.

I wouldve just went with the food, I cant really see how you wouldve refused the order without coming off like a bitch/asshole. I know you seem to think that Crowe was was bullying Marx with the lunch order. It was an obvious power play- or thats how it is played in the article. I think most normal people would of just went with it, you dont need to express your toughness in every minor incident. Sometimes its freindlier to just let things slide.
posted by phyle at 11:51 PM on June 7, 2006


Marx was trustworthy? No way.
posted by nickyskye at 12:25 AM on June 8, 2006


Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
posted by bwg at 12:48 AM on June 8, 2006



posted by brautigan at 2:00 AM on June 8, 2006


Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Damn it, bwg stole my sardonic comment!

How 'bout a tangentially-appropriate Fight Club reference, instead (those never go stale!):

I am Jack's bruised ego.

Anyway, good read. Thanks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:48 AM on June 8, 2006


...sniggered over his music with his wife...
"Russell's music filled the room as we writhed on the floor in hysterics at the Faustian pathos of my latest dilemma."
The way I read this, he and his wife are laughing at himself - Marx - for being in such an odd predicament. They're not laughing at Crowe at all.

I would have refused to have my lunch choice forcibly made for me.

Okay, I believe you. Obviously having someone order your meal without consulting you pushes your buttons. Fair enough. Not everyone is the same. Quite often, if the restaurant is a nice one, I'll ask to be served whatever the chef recommends that night. I don't think this is all that different. I understand it might rub some the wrong way.

Crowe was looking for a person he could trust. And Marx KNEW this.

Yes he did, of that I have no doubt. Which explains why Marx gave Crowe a copy of his book which, had Crowe read it as asked, would have told him that Marx was not the man for the job he had in mind.

I don't really want to defend everything that Marx did in this situation - I think it's quite amazing that of all the possible people that Crowe might have employed he picked Marx, who seems to be exactly the wrong person in every way.
"...the theme of a beautiful falsehood hiding the ugly truth. It was not a subject that interested him."
Yes, that was a really nice detail at the start of the piece.
posted by Ritchie at 3:54 AM on June 8, 2006


So Marx set out immediately to make everything he said a complete lie, from the get-go. Just because he admits he's a treacherous snake of a spineless creep doesn't make him more ethical.

Did we read the same article?! I saw it much more as Marx playing a wait-and-see game at the beginning, creepily sucking up to Crowe for the potential benefit of his career, getting drawn in by Crowe's charm, then coming to his senses, and remembering what his bloody job was. The only unethical part of the relationship on Marx's part was his willingness to write the puff piece on Crowe and Cinderalla Man when he knew it was dishonest to do so - this is effectively the piece he should've written then, so it's more a case of 'better late than never' than treachery. Marx can't betray a trust that never existed.

Is Marx really being honest about his discomfort with his own neediness and unethical behavior? Or is he expecting his readers to "fail to appreciate such elementary psychology"? I tend to think he IS being honest but seeing as the piece reveals as much about Marx's own ability to manipulate as it does of Crowe's, who can say for sure?

That question is what makes this a good piece, I think - flagging up that little journalistic trick in the middle of a piece employing that selfsame trick throughout is just fabulous. And a redoubling of the trick itself, of course; though he's hoist by his own petard, since so many here are taking it at face value and therefore taking Marx for a creep, when his self-identification as a creep is only there to confirm that he is not. Lovely little ouroboros. Or is it a Moebius strip?
posted by jack_mo at 4:11 AM on June 8, 2006


So long as he throws money at Souths, the guy can do no wrong. No wrong at all.
posted by vbfg at 4:39 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think its weird how many people are jumping on Marx. He doesn't paint himself in a very positive light, it's refreshing.

Damn right. Some people are so used to the standard, hypocritical "I'm just a journalist doing my job," with all the hidden agendas carefully swept under the rug, they can't handle a more honest piece. Sure, if you were a journalist you'd be forthright and open and true to yourself and would never accept a commission from somebody you didn't respect! Some people need to read the masters of New Journalism (Mailer, Wolfe, HST) and get a little perspective. Hint: if the writer provides clues to his own ignoble motives throughout, you don't win any prizes for grabbing them and saying "Look, his motives are impure! He's a bad person!"
posted by languagehat at 6:41 AM on June 8, 2006


Telling someone you like and care about that their music sucks is just about the hardest thing a friend can do. I don't blame this guy at all for lying and saying he liked Russel Crowe's crappy music. You expose yourself to a great vulnerability when you put your artistic work out there, celebrity or not, and honest criticism can really hurt a person. Even a sociopath like Russel Crowe.
posted by illuminatus at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2006


"That said in this country we make a big deal about keeping "sources secret", so it seems almost like the whole article is just as journalistically unethical as stuff Crowe was asking that guy to do."

Uh... No. The vast, vast, vast majority of sources are public. Y'know how newspapers often feature quotes from people? Those people are sources.

And to Nickyskye— You don't seem to have any idea how journalism actually works. Do I rail loudly against the anti-poor policies of the fire chief when he "confides" in me because I seem polite? Nope, I write 'em down and publish 'em. There's a great art in being congenial to people you loathe in order to do the greater good in exposing their loathsome activities. This isn't necessarily what Marx was doing (and he's honest about it), but the bright line you see is total bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 8:47 AM on June 8, 2006


I was really struck my the sexuality of the article. I don't have the direct quotes but when the author says that if he were a woman he would have fallen for him and there was another one later on. I'll find it in a bit.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:00 AM on June 8, 2006


to Nickyskye— You don't seem to have any idea how journalism actually works. Do I rail loudly against the anti-poor policies of the fire chief when he "confides" in me because I seem polite?

Yeah, but so you suck up to the chief for months while dreaming of wealth and fame and privately trashing him, and then publish a whiny, wounded "expose" when the chief turns out to be using you more than you were using him?

Just because he admits some of his more unsavory, creepy thoughts doesn't get him off the hook of being an unsavory creep. The honorable thing to do in this case would have been to admit you were a shallow starfucker who got taken and keep quiet. Writing a petulant hit piece is cheesy in the extreme.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:18 AM on June 8, 2006


so = do, sorry
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:18 AM on June 8, 2006


judging from the number of listeners on last.fm - i think his music does suck.
i mean decent new artists or great local acts usually reach a thousand easy.
posted by zenzizi at 10:24 AM on June 8, 2006


Nicely said CunningLinguist. My thoughts exactly.
posted by nickyskye at 11:33 AM on June 8, 2006


klangklangston: There's a great art in being congenial to people you loathe in order to do the greater good in exposing their loathsome activities.

This is the subject of Janet Malcolm's great book, The Journlaist and the Murderer.
posted by painquale at 12:49 PM on June 8, 2006


I saw it much more as Marx playing a wait-and-see game at the beginning, creepily sucking up to Crowe for the potential benefit of his career, getting drawn in by Crowe's charm, then coming to his senses, and remembering what his bloody job was.

Mark titles the article "I was Russell Crowe's stooge", so he plays victim from the beginning. Stooge = "One who allows oneself to be used for another's profit or advantage; a puppet."

He's starstruck at the start, allows himself to be "interrogated" by Crowe after the lunch he didn't choose. He had choices but he makes out like he's such a scared bunny that he is subjected to Crowe's great power over him. Then goes to the match in spite of not wanting to go. Again, he had a choice but makes out like he had none. Instead of sensibly asking what to wear to the match/dinner he and his wife go in wrong clothes and decide, even though "Russell was charming and everyone friendly" that they are so ashamed of their mistake, poor widdle "dolled-up commoners in the rich man's shed", that he decides to disconnect.

But the calls continued." And his greed kicked in. "I began to foresee a new life for me and mine - clothes for Kellie and a bounty of new toys for my little boy, all to be enjoyed in a house we actually owned. After all, next to the Prime Minister and the odd media magnate, there was nobody more powerful in Australia than Mr Russell Crowe, and any crumb that might spill from his table would tumble as a banquet to my world." Looking out for those little Golden Crumbs and then refusing the salary.

In spite of his feeling "My gut fell down an elevator shaft. " "With foreboding" he 'trudges', oh pulease!, to meeting Crowe, knowing he would lie...and on and etc.

He's going in to USE Crowe, knowingly. He presumes he's being used, knowingly. But he refuses a wage. So he didn't want to HONESTLY make a wage in relation to his actual work. He began to connive his way into Crowe's good graces as a pseudo-friend, all while obsessing about the emails fearful that somebody else was getting to Crowe's money first.

when his self-identification as a creep is only there to confirm that he is not

That's his transparent ruse. But what comes through is that he IS, genuinely, a skeeve and not only that, he wants to be pitied as a victim of Crowe's, which he isn't. He is, however, a victim of his own greed, dishonesty and lack of character.
posted by nickyskye at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2006


The original puff piece from 2005 culled from the comments section in the SMH website.
posted by Sparx at 3:38 PM on June 8, 2006


illuminatus: Even a sociopath like Russel Crowe.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. There are actually a lot of sociopaths; something like one out of twenty, I believe.

People would do well to keep that in mind. Sometimes a sociopath will do you a favor and come right out and tell you (or say something that directly implies) that he is a sociopath. If someone does that, here's what you do: believe him (or her) and get the hell away.

In particular, don't imagine that they must be joking, or that their breath-taking self-honesty means that they really must not be a sociopath. It might just mean that they truly don't care what you think. Which, for a sociopath, would not be that surprising.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2006


Mark titles the article "I was Russell Crowe's stooge"

I think Marx is a bit of creep (and have since his book about Little Stevie Wright) but for what it's worth, I don't think SMH journalists get to title their own pieces. They submit with a title but the sub often gives it a new one before publication.

I have a couple of actor friends who knew Russell before his glory days and describe him as dangerous, manipulative and extremely vain. So he's not been corrupted by power; these are pre-existing traits.

Okay, I'm done talking about celebrity gossip. Let's talk about protoplasmic slime moulds!
posted by hot soup girl at 5:19 PM on June 8, 2006


Oh, that first line should have been italicised. It's a quote from nickyskye's post.
posted by hot soup girl at 5:21 PM on June 8, 2006


Sparx, Thanks for the puff piece link.

hot soup girl, You're right, the article could have well been given a title by somebody else but throughout the article what comes across to me is that Marx wants to be perceived as a victim, as somebody who has been imposed up, when that is not true. He consistently and consciously betrayed Crowe, while faking friendship and still wants to be perceived as a victim. I find that deeply repulsive.

Crowe may be pathologically charming. From his articles it sounds like Marx has passive aggressive personality disorder.
posted by nickyskye at 5:48 PM on June 8, 2006


nickyskye & cunninglinguist nailed it.
posted by creeptick at 9:19 PM on June 8, 2006


imposed up. ack, meant imposed upon.
posted by nickyskye at 10:02 PM on June 8, 2006


Crowe's distorted idea of his own magnificence is mesmerizingly horrible.

I suspect the biggest PR crime for a Hollywood "idol" is - ironically -for the idol to be invulnerably in love with himself.

I think the we - the Great Unwashed - are fairly forgiving of the less endearing star peccadilloes - arrogance, bitchiness, neediness, sex 'n drugs, pretentiousness, fibs about lifestyle and surgery. We like our idols to have well manicured feet of clay.

But there should still be a small inner voice telling the idol "I am, in fact, mortal". Crowe lacks that.

Crowe violated all the subtle rules of the relationship that often exists between a semi-serious journalist and a star in search of a Big Interview.

I found it fascinating - and as truthful as the writer could possibly make it.

I also agree strongly with George Spigott way upthread who said Marx should probably lay off this line of work from now on. This should stand as a brilliant obituary for his misplaced energies.

I've written too many myself ("Screen idol X's eyes narrowed darkly as he leaned forward and tapped my knee. "One thing I've never told anyone before - and I don't know why I'm admitting it now...he began softly"[cue: self-serving, cute candid statement which you present as the "truth"...]).

Yes, they stick in your craw in the end. To admit it - to torpedo the whole process - ends your access. And when the fun goes out of it - and it's huge fun for a while - means it's time to stop and let the next generation of celebrity writers take over.

They'll be lining up for the privilege. And so it goes ever on.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:12 AM on June 9, 2006


We like our idols to have well manicured feet of clay.

Nicely nasty zinger.

Yes, that is the role between idols and tabloid press. The idols show just enough clay and the press play at exposing it, while also doing the polishing. No idols, no tabloids.

But there should still be a small inner voice telling the idol 'I am, in fact, mortal'. Crowe lacks that.

This is where a good number of the idols really cannot make that leap. It's their pathology as narcissists, not merely vain, but not knowing the truth, that they are simply -or complexly for that matter- human. In their minds they ARE idols and in many fans minds too; symbiotic.

Discussing this thread with a friend, the point I should have made yesterday was that Marx takes no accountability for his actions, only playing helpless when he wasn't.

cue: self-serving, cute candid statement which you present as the "truth".

The idol is mortal, whatever their pretensions or delusions. You're also no lily. It's a job. You're in the infotainment biz. But you don't pretend this is an actual friendship in which you are being victimised.
posted by nickyskye at 10:19 AM on June 9, 2006


"Discussing this thread with a friend, the point I should have made yesterday was that Marx takes no accountability for his actions, only playing helpless when he wasn't."

Nickyskye,
I honestly hear you. Except that Marx does refer to himself as a needy creep.

The relationship STARTS with Crowe blurring the lines - and he is enormously experienced as an interviewee at this stage in his career.

We are, of course, talking about a Hollywood-hack relationship that pretty much stinks in the first place and has a long history of doing so.

I suppose it IS pretty pathetic to say "well, Crowe violated the rules first" as any sort of defence of the writer. But Crowe brought formidable knowledge of the game to this "experiment", he can't be judged as an ingenue - quite the opposite - and the extent of his revealed sociopathy is way beyond the usual suspects.

In an odd way, my empathy for Marx is the type I might bring to the cruelly disappointed abandoned mistress of a married serial adulterer. Sure, she was fooling herself, but he set out to fool her - knowing her silly hopes gave him all the power.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2006


In an odd way, my empathy for Marx is the type I might bring to the cruelly disappointed abandoned mistress of a married serial adulterer.

I see that and in others' posts here too. It's fascinating. Marx was playing a Valmont character, as in Dangerous Liasons. He played at being the naive optimist but he isn't, he's a conniver and from the look of his previous work, this is what he does.

Except that Marx does refer to himself as a needy creep.

Saying he is a needy creep is NOT taking accountability for his ACTIONS. It's a cover: "I'm a dumb, greedy shit, so I'm innocent". He's not innocent! Saying one is a lousy person doesn't make one free of accountability.

Marx is a professional, he's no virgin to the game of idol/clay feet polishing.

Crowe did not trash Marx, just the opposite, Marx trashed Crowe and while he is trashing Crowe, Marx is playing at being a victim of Crowe's, when he's not.

Crowe may have lousy boundaries, narcissists are like that, it's their entitlement stuff, they feel entitled to assume you will like the dinner they chose. That said, Crowe asked Marx to do a JOB, offered money, gave ample opportunities to say no. Marx bit the bait and then played pseudo friend, didn't accept the salary and played victim.

"Marx writes a two-page diatribe about the uselessness of popstars near the beginning of the story, signalling that he is letting one accompany him on a journey of discovery of a person he has no empathy with or sympathy for."

Hmmm, signalling that he has no sympathy or empathy for his subject, sounds familiar. And elsewhere, unethical.
posted by nickyskye at 12:47 PM on June 9, 2006


"Saying he is a needy creep is NOT taking accountability for his ACTIONS."Again, I follow exactly what you mean, NickySkye.

I would argue, very firmly however, that Marx renders himself fully accountable with both articles he wrote. The one that selectively depicted Crowe in the fan-friendly light, and the "stooge" one, which tells a vastly different truth.

He comes clean with the fascinating details of exactly how he backed into this mess.

You are perfectly right. Marx is a professional - so is Crowe. And my point is that Crowe trashed the whole miserable yet hugely entertaining genre of celebrity journalism with the insane conviction that he could control the very thought processes of a journalist with his divine charm.

The "stooge" article is about the process of Marx's journey of discovery.

Marx makes it clear he wasn't even really sure what the job (for which he refused payment) was - so I give him points for that for a start. Crowe seemed to assume that making himself available to Marx - strictly on Crowe's terms - was a reward in itself, with another clipping in Marx's file, the cherry on top.

If I was straining to be boringly even-handed, I could judge this as the story of one needy creep meeting another needy creep and call it a draw.

Except that Crowe had the real power. (And I'm sure in my own tiny mind that he's been drenched in sympathy by his sycophants for this terrible betrayal).

And I can see Marx almost turning himself inside out in an effort to be as transparent after the fact as possible.

Also, I saw "Cinderella Man".
(For which I will never forgive Crowe).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2006


He comes clean with the fascinating details of exactly how he backed into this mess.

He plays victim, that's not clean. He wasn't a victim of Crowe's. He didn't back in, he went in eyes open.

Crowe trashed the whole miserable yet hugely entertaining genre of celebrity journalism with the insane conviction that he could control the very thought processes of a journalist with his divine charm.

Crowe wanted to overcontrol the nail polish on his clay feet pedicure, lol. Others didn't have to be controlled by his demands, the journalists have choices, so does Crowe. Neither is trashing, it's a job, on the sly up and up.

Nobody in the regular idol-tabloid journalism relationship is a victim, nobody is pretending to be anybody's victim. It's a sleazy biz, infotainment and being an idol.

But Marx plays victim and he's not.

The "stooge" article is about the process of Marx's journey of discovery.

What "discovery"? That he takes no responsibility for his deceitful, greedy, conniving actions?

He doesn't make that discovery, however it is revealed.
posted by nickyskye at 2:39 PM on June 9, 2006


"He plays victim, that's not clean. He wasn't a victim of Crowe's. He didn't back in, he went in eyes open."

Just repeating that doesn't make it true.

He was Crowe's stooge, his lackey, his henchman. He's open about that, and about how he betrayed his journalistic principles in the hope of a greater reward. This is him coming clean. Yes, he shouldn't have done it in the first place, but the high dudgeon you have on over this is the rank bullshit of someone who doesn't know what they're talking about presuming to take a whole profession to task.
posted by klangklangston at 3:11 PM on June 9, 2006


he betrayed his journalistic principles in the hope of a greater reward. This is him coming clean.

Apparently this louse has pulled the wool over your eyes too.

Since he starts out planning on lying to Crowe in the first place about his music, I'd like to know what principles he's betraying? I didn't see examples of principles anywhere in that article, nor in fact, from what I read about Marx's other book.

presuming to take a whole profession to task

Not all journalists are skeevy liars, out to betray the person they are faking friendship with over six months.

Tabloid journalists generally have no illusions about the idols whose clay feet they are giving the pedicure. There is something fair and square in that exchange. It's a job, not warm fake love.
posted by nickyskye at 3:49 PM on June 9, 2006


And as for high dudgeon, break out the lace hankie for what Marx cranks out: "I may have a book to write after all. A little fable that tells how these people are fakers, their pretence on film just the tip of the iceberg. How publicity is a lifestyle to he who seeks it, his lies indiscernible from our daily prayers, his conscience forgiven by his movie star dreams. How success can make a good man swollen with lust for praise, needlessly bluffing his way into good books and buying his way out of bad. About how this egotist's plaything called Motion Pictures is out of control, the characters jumping from the screens and swinging their dicks in ordinary lives. All the world's a stage, it seems, and an elite few are aware of the plot. We clueless extras are there to be deceived, abused and bullied into playing our parts, for the show that celebrates the stars must go on."

What a crock of martyred bs.
posted by nickyskye at 4:09 PM on June 9, 2006


"Nobody in the regular idol-tabloid journalism relationship is a victim, nobody is pretending to be anybody's victim."

Here, I agree, with the emphasis on "regular".

That, I think, is the crucial difference.
There is nothing "regular" at all in what Marx describes. It is deeply peculiar and the "stooge" article shows us Marx trying to figure it out.

The important "irregularity" here is Crowe's offer of meaningless friendship. It mimics friendship, but it lacks a single, unselfish component on Crowe's part. He's not even normally vaguely curious about the guy - except insofar as some information might relate to him.

And that's truly bizarre in the already very bizarre world of journalists and movie stars.

It's not "buddies for a wild night together to give the writer rocking copy". Or a couple of faux chummy phone calls after an interview to "touch base"/"make sure you have all you need"/"thought of someone else you might like to speak to." It's not "let's do lunch - you feel like my new best friend!!" which can happen - and may even be true for two seconds!

Nobody "owns" another's opinion of themselves. And most celebrities - with exceptions like Crowe - know better than to try.
Or at least satisfy themselves with the regular toadies - and a few close mates from the "old days" if they are lucky, and who they usually wisely warn not to speak to the press at all, in case they get compromised.

I keep coming back to the point that it is Crowe who forces himself on Marx.

What's one of the first hard lessons you have to occasionally teach your kids? "You can't make people like you, sweetheart".

Somehow Crowe has missed this lesson.

All Marx has betrayed is a complete hollow relationship -in which he admits he was complicit in continuing at times. But more as a baffled partner, never as an equal in any respect whatsoever. Since the relationship was worth nothing in the first place, he betrayed nothing in the end.

Or, maybe, you could say he betrayed Crowe's absurd sense of self worth? Again - there's not much value there either.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:12 PM on June 9, 2006


"Since he starts out planning on lying to Crowe in the first place about his music, I'd like to know what principles he's betraying? "

Nickyskye - now you really are being a little naive!

Crowe's blind spot IS his flipping music!

Say you are interviewing a star about their new fabulous film - and you completely loathed, as it happens, some bit of cruddy twaddle they starred in the year before that remains so very dear to their heart?

You don't force your opinion of their cruddy twaddle on them! Yes, you may even agree that it was pretty special to keep the peace!

I don't even tell genuine friends that I happen to loathe their living room carpet, if they happen to be terribly proud of it.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2006


Of course most decent, kind, considerate, polite human beings tell white lies and so do professionals. Professionals routinely get paid for telling white lies.

Crowe's blind spot IS his flipping music!

Marx presumed this would be true and he readied the lies he was going to say BEFORE he went to hear Crowe's music.

With foreboding I trudged up the Woolloomooloo pier a few nights later, rehearsing those valueless critics' platitudes that had extracted me from hot spots in my days as a music reviewer: "Interesting"; "Not at all what I expected"; "'Amazing' is not the word."

Marx went into the appointment to listen to Crowe's music, having been a music reviewer who had already lied on demand, expecting to lie. Eyes wide open.

And he lied.

Crowe asked him straight up to work for him telling regular public relations' lies:

Russell said he needed "a champion", someone who could change people's minds and make them see that his music was not awful. In essence, he needed a guerrilla publicist - a plumber, of sorts, plugging up leaks in media goodwill, pressing his music into the ears of journalists whose opinions were hamstrung by prejudice. The rest of the world, then, would follow. He wondered if I could be such a champion.

Having ALREADY played the pseudo friend idol worship game with Wright, Marx shows Crowe his book:
I fashioned the experience into something of a modern-day fable, a cautionary tale about the perils of getting too close to one's idols.

I felt a duty to admit to him who I really was, like a new lover disclosing a history of herpes.

Marx warns Crowe that he's a betrayer, he's been too close to his ex-idol, Little Stevie Wright, and trashed his idol before.

Then Marx, after due consideration: I thought hard upon things over the next few days, until finally deciding that the content of Russell's music mattered little.

He decides, in spite of despising Crowe's music, that the "music matters little". He's not going to focus on the job Crowe offered him. He's not going for the honest wage, nor simply sneak up on the guy, get close and then shit on him, like any ruthless gossip in the tabloids, to make a buck in the infotainment biz. Oh no, he's going to play like he's falling in love with Crowe, going to go for the warm fake idol worship love: whether I could care for him enough to want what he did. And I have to admit he was taking charge of my heart - the rich boy's smile and the beggar's eyes and the volumes of man and boy in between. I found him clever and engaging, not at all the buffoon of modern legend. I was charmed for sure and, if I were a woman, I thought, I would fall for him madly. As a grown man, I felt I could trust him. Unless he was a very good actor.

So now Marx, who is lying to Crowe about how lousy his music is, is asking himself whether Crowe is trustworthy?!

I called to say I had decided to be his champion. He offered me a generous wage, which I declined.

So he declined the wage, after a GENEROUS one had been offered. Instead of playing clean, within the limits of the game of pr, Marx chose to play dirty. He declined the wage and then wanted get revenge on Crowe for his own screw-up, play like Crowe was the Bad Guy and he was an innocent. That's what is so skeevy, not that Marx lies professionally, or that he was asked to lie or that he was willing to be paid for lying, all of which he was used to but that he lied/betrayed, wants to act like he wasn't accountable for his actions and that he's been let down somehow by Crowe.
posted by nickyskye at 6:12 PM on June 9, 2006


Nickyskye,

We seem to be so far apart on this one, there seems no room for agreement.

All your quotes above support my reading of a semi-serious celebrity hack describing a relationship that has gone off the rails - and struggling to even define what it is that's required of him.

That's what makes it a fascinating read.

I also see a movie star practically unhinged by his ego, his risible certainty of his vast musical talents and devoid of any reasonable notions of what constitutes a genuine relationship.

The reason the piece is written at such length is because it's not black and white, Marx is harsh on himself, often generous about Crowe, and tries to make us understand how he has become unfit for the game.

The bit I largely see missing in your analysis is any sense of the reality of this ghastly, artificial , mutually manipulative if enormously entertaining, area of journalism.

I think such hacks - I was certainly one of them - regard immersion in the celebrity world, if it happens, as a bizarre tour of duty. Marx is a foot soldier who cracked in the middle of his tour of duty - and decided to publish an account of it. Maybe I tend to judge his account from a less purist point of view because it has a total ring of truth, his frankness is truly unusual, and it goes a little way to redressing the power imbalance between celeb and hack (and I found it funny).
I've enjoyed the debate, though!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:17 AM on June 10, 2006


"Since he starts out planning on lying to Crowe in the first place about his music, I'd like to know what principles he's betraying? I didn't see examples of principles anywhere in that article, nor in fact, from what I read about Marx's other book."

Uh... Not lying in print? That's the journalist credo, not assuaging your sanctimony over whether he offered platitudes about the quality of music (and you'll note, or would have if you were astute rather than angry, that those platitudes are not lies. "Amazing isn't the word" is accurate).

"Not all journalists are skeevy liars, out to betray the person they are faking friendship with over six months."

Both sides were faking friendship, something you seem to have missed while working yourself up into a frenzy of morality, with Crowe faking more than Marx (who genuinely hoped for a
friendship, at least on a sycophantic level).

"Marx went into the appointment to listen to Crowe's music, having been a music reviewer who had already lied on demand, expecting to lie. Eyes wide open.

And he lied."

No, he didn't. He evaded. Again, had you any fucking clue about the work of interviewing, you'd recognize that. Instead it's another rant from someone who has neither sense nor knowledge on another profession after seeing some of the sausage made. Half of journalism is diplomacy. But say it again, chief, and maybe I'll believe you.

"Instead of playing clean, within the limits of the game of pr, Marx chose to play dirty. He declined the wage and then wanted get revenge on Crowe for his own screw-up, play like Crowe was the Bad Guy and he was an innocent."

That's simply not supported by the text. Were I you, Nick, I'd call you a liar.
posted by klangklangston at 7:07 AM on June 10, 2006


those platitudes are not lies

Guess you want to tell yourself that. I see it it differently. To me Marx set out to lie and he did that professionally, as many writers do. And he admitted that he was ready to lie.

Fair enough, he thought he was getting a job. So he was going to do the expedient thing, white lie. It's par for the course for most journalists, part of the job.

But it's when he tried to blur the edges and make out like he and Crowe were going to buddy-buddy when Marx had his eye keenly on big money to come, if he could fake the friendship thing well enough.

Of course, Russell had never explicitly offered his companionship, nor asked me for mine.

He sees that but he STILL wants to play as if Crowe abused him, which he didn't.

"Amazing isn't the word" is accurate

ugh. Slippery ethics.

Both sides were faking friendship

Exactly! So then if Marx is faking it why does Crowe have to be the Bad Guy? Marx went in faking it, as did Crowe. Even ground. No Bad Guy. No victim. It's Marx' Professional Victim bs that is skeevy And he did that to Little Stevie Wright too.

who genuinely hoped for a friendship, at least on a sycophantic level

LOL! That's hilarious. Genuine friendship is sycophantic? Not.
Maybe in your world it is? Maybe that's why you don't get what Marx did was skeevy.

He evaded

He lied. Call a spade a spade. He thought Crowe's music sucked and then he went out to flog Crowe's crap to music critics.

Marx's words declining the wage: He offered me a generous wage, which I declined.

and again: Strictly speaking, all he'd offered me was a job. It was I who had refused payment, transforming my task into a labour of love.

Marx's words playing Crowe as the Bad Guy: I may have a book to write after all. A little fable that tells how these people are fakers, their pretence on film just the tip of the iceberg. How publicity is a lifestyle to he who seeks it, his lies indiscernible from our daily prayers, his conscience forgiven by his movie star dreams. How success can make a good man swollen with lust for praise, needlessly bluffing his way into good books and buying his way out of bad. About how this egotist's plaything called Motion Pictures is out of control, the characters jumping from the screens and swinging their dicks in ordinary lives.

Marx's own words about him playing the Victim: All the world's a stage, it seems, and an elite few are aware of the plot. We clueless extras are there to be deceived, abused and bullied into playing our parts

I substantiated my points with text. What I am aware of is that when you lose an argument you get nasty.
posted by nickyskye at 8:20 PM on June 10, 2006


"Guess you want to tell yourself that. I see it it differently. To me Marx set out to lie and he did that professionally, as many writers do. And he admitted that he was ready to lie."

For your talk of substantiation, you've failed here at your central point. And, in doing so, you again reveal your lack of knowledge regarding the field. Would I give a non-value opinion in order to get a story? In a second. Would you? Apparently not, with quite a bit of grandstanding to go along with it. As such, I must imagine that your stories would be hobbled by a complete lack of sources.
Flatly, he did not lie, and the statement that he did is bullshit. As I noted, to hold you to your standard, by hewing to this statement you are a liar.
"
Exactly! So then if Marx is faking it why does Crowe have to be the Bad Guy? Marx went in faking it, as did Crowe. Even ground. No Bad Guy. No victim. It's Marx' Professional Victim bs that is skeevy And he did that to Little Stevie Wright too."

Wrong, and this is what makes you foolish. Instead of the conclusion that you've come to, that because they both acted unethically, neither were acting poorly (which is convoluted, to say the least), the clear statement of the article is that BOTH ACTED POORLY.

Again, and where I find you both distressingly naive and pointedly profuse in your own pretensions, you have misunderstood the story. This is a story of a con, with Marx as mark. You cannot con an honest man, and Marx is not an honest man. And yet, the tale of the con is still valid, despite the wild ride that your high horse takes you on. This is the first-person account of a dupe, a stooge if you will. And that both parties acted poorly does not obviate the responsibility of either party, despite your barristry for Crowe.

"I substantiated my points with text. What I am aware of is that when you lose an argument you get nasty."

First off, you have not substantiated your points with your quotes any more than Gene Ray has substantiated the Time Cube with his quotes. Second, so long as what Marx writes in his book is true, he has done nothing wrong past the publishing of his flattering article on Crowe, and that's easily understood.

As for "getting nasty," pointing out your complete inability to comprehend or argue is not nasty (rather you should be gleeful to recieve criticism from my smirking Mount Parnasus), and when you have come close to winning this argument, I'll let you know. You can look to conversations I've had with Carbolic and Loquax for gracious loses from my corner. Perhaps there's a slight difference when I deal with someone who isn't handwaiving a topic on which he has no leg to stand?
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 PM on June 10, 2006


Would I give a non-value opinion in order to get a story? In a second. Would you? Apparently not

ah, so now your latest euphemism for lie is "non-value opinion"?

Professionals can and do lie as part of their living, it may be white lies or not. Marx knew the turf. But then he pulled some sort of martyr crap and he obviously pulled one over you.

No the conclusion of the article isn't they both acted poorly. That would be honest, straightforward and respectworthy.
Marx, weaves his ultimate conclusion into the article: We clueless extras are there to be deceived, abused and bullied into playing our parts, as if he's been "deceived" and "abused". Oh pulease!

As for "getting nasty"
Apparently you cannot hold yourself accountable either. I see now why you sympathize with this author.
posted by nickyskye at 10:58 PM on June 10, 2006


"ah, so now your latest euphemism for lie is "non-value opinion"?"

Only if you're an idiot. Which, to be fair, you seem to be. "Interesting," "Amazing isn't the word," etc. Do those say "It's great"? No. That would be a lie.

"Marx knew the turf. But then he pulled some sort of martyr crap and he obviously pulled one over you. "

How, exactly? Where have I portrayed him as a martyr? This is the sort of thing that leads me to call you an idiot, Nick, because you're alleging things that simply have no basis in fact. Though, to belabor the point, I suppose I could call you simply a liar.

But then, in protesting my "nasty tone," you're making yourself the martyr, aren't you, Nick? Poor, victimized Nick. Lying and crucified, this has been a hell of a thread for you. As for whether pointing out your deplorable behavior counts as being "nasty," well, I suppose on that reasonable people can differ. On the points of your ignorance and prevarication, I suppose you shall show yourself as unreasonable by disagreeing.
(And the tone is "needlessly smug," Nick, not "nasty." Should I ever get nasty, you'll know it.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:34 PM on June 10, 2006


Apparently you don't know the definition of the word, martyr: One who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy.

Calling you out on being nasty is declaring a fact. It seems you are unable to have a disagreement without descending into diplaying a lack of character.
posted by nickyskye at 11:59 PM on June 10, 2006


(And the tone is "needlessly smug," Nick, not "nasty." Should I ever get nasty, you'll know it.)

Ok, I'm heading off to find my rubber ducky and squeeze it really hard and pretend it's KlangityKlangKlangBangityBang (bangbang).
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:09 AM on June 11, 2006


Nickyskye,

You need to read klang with less heat - you keep speeding past some spot on points.

There are also 3 things that torpedo your analysis:

1) You keep accusing marx-the-creepy-celebrity-writer of deficiencies and equivocations he takes pains to make explicit about himself, as if these were hard-won insights of your own.

2) Marx initially fulfills the dubious obligations of the fake friendship by writing a substantial, superficially persuasive article, full of Crowe-friendly omissions, which burnishes Crowe's public image as a rough diamond. This, of course, wasn't enough to satisfy Crowe's monstrous appetite.

3) Crowe's sustained wooing of Marx is extremely unusual: it's a sociopathic travesty of the usual cringe-making bargain that is the secret basis of most movie star-hack relationships and which enables "good copy". Marx takes time to figure out what the hell is going on - and takes us on that journey with him.

Nowhere do you acknowledge that if Marx is Dr Faustus, then Crowe is Mephistopheles. You seem to think Crowe is blameless?

And I can't imagine HOW you think these unpalatable truths should ever be revealed about idols? What on earth would satisfy your scruples? How would that work?

My own cheerful admiration for Marx is not only that he portrayed his own full creepiness (as Klang says, you can't con an honest man - to which I'd add there are NO honest folk working fulltime with full access in Hollywood celebrity journalism) but that he also made some cracking points about Crowe as an actor. No, Crowe isn't too keen on roles in which he exemplifies the "beautiful falsehood that hides the truth" is he? One wonders why (said sarcastically)?

Are there any genuinely good egg movie idols, people with the usual common flaws AND tons of talent? Sure! Crowe, however, is not one of them.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:28 AM on June 11, 2006


overanxious ducksqueezer, ROFL! Thanks.

Jody Tresidder, Unpalatable truths is not my problem with Marx or Crowe at all. It's Marx playing victim martyr.

Apparently Marx has been 'conned' by another idol before and written a whole other book about it, years before meeting Crowe, The Wretched Tale Of Little Stevie Wright, in which he ALSO played victim martyr. Marx has a history of playing Professional Victim.

he takes pains to make explicit about himself, as if these were hard-won insights of your own

No, Jody. I get it loud and clear -and have all along- that Marx talks about himself as a fink, lol. He talks about being a flawed person as a ruse to cover for playing victim. Playing victim is his game. His victim racket is what's skeevy.

I'd add there are NO honest folk working fulltime with full access in Hollywood celebrity journalism

We're on the same page about that.

This, of course, wasn't enough to satisfy Crowe's monstrous appetite.

No, Marx pulled away from Crowe after Crowe's "sudden fart of bad attitude" and after Marx responded to Crowe, commendably straightforwardly, "never tell me to fuck off again".

Crowe responded to Marx, "He said that if I didn't want to do the story, I needn't."

It was Marx who was afraid of ending the connection with Crowe, NOT Crowe's "monstrous appetite", "I feared this little arm wrestle might spell curtains for my relationship with Crowe".

And here's where Marx goes off on his Victim Role, yet again, "I had neither the temper nor the inclination to become Russell's whipping boy, his 'yes man', the dependable Robot to his cursing Doctor Smith." Oh puleez, Crowe's whipping and beck and callboy. Who does Marx think he is, Pretty Woman?

Marx has already been through some kind of jealous lover role, now he's got Battered Woman's Syndrome too?

Crowe's sustained wooing of Marx is extremely unusual

No, it isn't. Many movie stars or celebs court friends who are journalists who write about those same stars. That bs goes both ways in the celeb-journalist world.

cringe-making bargain that is the secret basis of most movie star-hack relationships

Nicely said.

The mutual 'wooing' or buttering up may go on any number of styles. Sometimes it's gifts offered, invites to parties, promises of press. The media and celebs go to the same parties, lunch together, etc, etc. It's common. It's par for the course for celebs and the media to mingle closely with each other, especially gossip columnists and interviewers, such as Barbara Walters, Cindy Adams, Liz Smith et al. and numerous authors, which range from Dominique Dunne on. I recently heard of one celeb being referred to as a "blurb whore", for offering their praise too frequently for dust jackets.

Nowhere do you acknowledge that if Marx is Dr Faustus, then Crowe is Mephistopheles.

No, I did, in my first post.
"Crowe the Narcissist and journalist the Martyr Narcissist-Codependent."

I can't imagine HOW you think these unpalatable truths should ever be revealed about idols?

You must be imagining that I'm objecting to idols having their clay feet exposed. Quite the opposite. I think it's important not to be blind to clay feet, in fact essential for idols of any ilk to be de-pedestalised and seen as a human being, warts and all.

Crowe sure sounds sociopathic to me.

Crowe isn't one of the nice guys. I've certainly said that from the get-go. Marx isn't either.

But it's Marx who wants to be perceived as victim, when he's not.
posted by nickyskye at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2006


Nickyskye: "But it's Marx who wants to be perceived as victim, when he's not."

But Marx brutally refers to himself - as a self-style victim most certainly would not - as being "propelled by my own ego and greed." So, on the contrary, he takes active responsibility for his dismal part in the mess.

"Who does Marx think he is, Pretty Woman? Marx has already been through some kind of jealous lover role, now he's got Battered Woman's Syndrome too?"

Interesting that you refer to "Pretty Woman" Where Julia Roberts, in fact, plays a whore - not a battered wife - who is hired as a discreet callgirl for a week to masquerade as a girlfriend to make the client look good. (Roberts played the battered wife in "Sleeping With The Enemy")).

"Pretty Woman" owes its plot to the usual boundaries between john and whore getting confused. There's a similar confusion here - except that Crowe (powerful client) and Marx (uncertain whore) don't fall neatly in love at the end of the movie like the movie characters.

I think you're wildly wrong trying to draw analogies between Walters, Cindy Adams, Dominick Dunne, Liz Smith, their celebrity relationships - and Crowe's sociopathic pursuit of Marx.

Dunne is self-servingly loyal to famous chums when it suits him, uses a fictional alter ego ("Gus Bailey") when he wants to aim for unpalatble truths (as he did in his memoir about the OJ trial and books like The Two Mrs Granvilles) and much of his Vanity Fair writing concerns fallen celebrities or big shots on the wrong side of the law - not merely out of favor with him personally - while dishing image-polishing titbits about people he genuinely likes. Adams and Smith are gossip writers, who frankly admit they know more than they write but are also paid-up cogs in the machine and they don't attempt psychological exposes. Walters' longevity is a product of her kid glove interviews, not despite it. (I really won't be holding my breath for her mega buck advance earning autobiography, nor should you.)

You mention that Crowe gave Marx permission to drop his planned story about Crowe as if this was in Crowe's favor. To hell with that! It wasn't remotely Crowe's decision.

So what if Marx found himself "conned" by another victim, and also wrote about it? You interpret this as some dark flaw. Which is missing a more complete interpretation - that it confirms for him how Crowe's A list nonsense, this "little fable", is part of a celebrity pattern (hence his OTT Shakespeare quoting howl "all the world's a stage"! etc).

I just think your high dudgeon is hugely misplaced.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:56 PM on June 11, 2006


Crowe's sociopathic pursuit of Marx

If you use a word like sociopath, you might want to know what it means. When sociopaths pusue, they stalk, harass, intimidate, act out of violence. Crowe did none of those things to Marx. Crowe courted Marx as a possible pr person and when it didn't work out Crowe left Marx room to exit peacefully. Crowe backed away from the relationship, he didn't pursue it once the gig was mutually not working.

I just think your high dudgeon is hugely misplaced.

What high dudgeon? That I find it skeevy that a dishonest, unethical, untrustworthy person, who cannot hold himself accountable for his actions, tries to weasel out of accountability by playing victim?

Is detecting bs high dudgeon?

It would seem that if a person plays victim, no matter how unethical they are, they have you duped into "cheerful admiration".

Interesting that you refer to "Pretty Woman" Where Julia Roberts, in fact, plays a whore

ai ai ai, I know that Jody. It was an allusion to where Julia Roberts says to Gere, "I'll be your beck and callgirl", like Marx (the whore) was playing Crowe's (the john's) beck and callboy.

And that Marx was moving from playing whore, which is par for the tabloid biz...to then playing battered wife victim, when all he's ever been is simply a whore. Not a battered wife.

(LOL, mutters to self, this is getting surrealistic!)

I think you're wildly wrong trying to draw analogies between Walters, Cindy Adams, Dominick Dunne, Liz Smith, their celebrity relationships

Why? They all do exactly what Crowe and Marx did: dine together, go to sports events together, email each other, go to each others' parties, call each other, gossip together. What's the diff?

But even if you do not gree that Crowe and Marx is a workably analogy, none of those tabloid/gossip biz people play victim of the celebs they suck up to.

In fact everything you said about them validates what I said.

as if this was in Crowe's favor. To hell with that! It wasn't remotely Crowe's decision.

The point was that Marx had options, he was not Crowe's victim.

So what if Marx found himself "conned" by another victim

Marx made himself out to be a person who got conned, when he wasn't conned at all, his eyes were open the whole way.

Marx has a history of playing Professional Victim.

But Marx brutally refers to himself - as a self-style victim most certainly would not - as being "propelled by my own ego and greed." So, on the contrary, he takes active responsibility for his dismal part in the mess.

No, he doesn't take responsibility. He just says he's a schmuck and asks for the reader to cut him slack and by pitying him for being a schmuck let him off the hook for being responsible. If a person has been a schmuck, then accept the blame for acting badly.

Examples of skeevy snakes who play victim, while using a mask of self-deprecation: Smeagol in Lord of the Rings, Iago in Othello, Christopher in the Sopranos or sometimes, Tony when he's at the therapist's office, Truman Capote.
posted by nickyskye at 10:06 PM on June 11, 2006


I think Marx comes off very poorly in his article. I already expected Russell Crowe to be repellent. This is an interesting short review of Marx's previous book:

'I hate every pop star's guts' he says, noting that he was once a pop musician himself but didn't make it because 'I was ahead of my time.'

Then we're offered a 233-page treatise on the life of Stevie Wright as it relates to Jack Marx.


This is how I viewed the Crowe piece as well. He's an accomplished writer, and I appreciate asshole v. asshole action in fiction and non-fiction (truly fascinates me). But he doesn't inspire any admiration in me; I don't think it took any courage to publish this article, and I wouldn't be surprised if he profits from a great book deal on Russell Crowe.

So what if Marx found himself "conned" by another victim, and also wrote about it? You interpret this as some dark flaw. Which is missing a more complete interpretation - that it confirms for him how Crowe's A list nonsense, this "little fable", is part of a celebrity pattern (hence his OTT Shakespeare quoting howl "all the world's a stage"! etc).

But this is something we all already know. And Marx knew it going in to his pseudo-friendship with Crowe at the beginning of the article. It is not news.

I just think your high dudgeon is hugely misplaced.

It doesn't look like high dudgeon to me. It just looks like an "Ick, he gets no sympathy from me." That's my own reaction as well. So what? He got his revenge, he doesn't need my sympathy.

Here, maybe this will boil it down... Marx was prepared to and did behave unethically with his eyes wide open and fully aware, but when Crowe slagged him off, Marx changed the rules of the game drastically. Going from sychophantic humility, "Oh don't pay me for my work, I wouldnt want to disappoint you" to the same sort of injured self-righteousness that Crowe displayed in their email spat. Yet self-righteousness doesn't sit well on an asshole. Either one.

Oh and this comment made me laugh:

And I couldn’t stop reading that article, as self-fellating as it was.....I kept expecting Marx to do something stupid (like hanging himself) to get more of Crowe’s attention.


That is all.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 10:21 PM on June 11, 2006


Thank you overanxious ducksqueezer. I really appreciate your excellent articulation. That book review was spot on. Also enjoyed reading other blunt takes on this Marx character.

"Read the whole thing without my perception of Mr. Crowe changing a bit, while at the same time, my view of journalists as slimy back-stabbing social climbers, was only enhanced.

Just what the hell did Marx want from this performer?

Would Russell someday sweep him off of his feet and read poetry to him in a grassy field?"


"Marx’s article reminded me of those long, pretentious stories in Rolling Stone (back when I ever read it), in which the real subject is not the actor or musician, but the--ta da--writer."

"I’m with Crowe on this. “Media manipulation” is the smart play and the expected play. Jack Marx is a self-righteous douchebag in dire need of a life."

And that's all for me too.
posted by nickyskye at 12:43 AM on June 12, 2006


Nickyskye,

If you're going to gild your argument with a desperate reference to Iago, not to mention a Lifetime movie definition of a sociopath, that's all from me too.

You must have really enjoyed Cinderella Man.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:44 AM on June 12, 2006


Jody Tresidder, For whatever it's worth, I am not a Russell Crowe fan. And I'll be ready to label Crowe a sociopath when signs start appearing that he has undertaken a vindictive vendetta against Marx for this article.

Nickyskye, I just remembered a ridiculously good book about this kind of victimhood: "Before the Fact," by Francis Iles aka Anthony Berkeley. It is also the book that the Hitchcock movie "Suspicion" is based on. (It's sadly out of print, but probably in a lot of libraries.)
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 3:40 PM on June 12, 2006


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