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Crush of the Week
There are only two things capable of getting us home before ten on a Tuesday night: sex, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. We’ve certainly missed the latter for the former, but when the former isn’t an option, no one makes us feel better about temporary sexual repression than Mariska Hargitay, a.k.a. Detective Olivia Benson on SVU. She’s a ball-busting sleuth with the tracking skills of a bloodhound, the tough empathy of a seasoned veterinarian (she gets teary in nearly every episode, but very rarely sheds a tear), the brawn of a bodybuilder (Hargitay’s father, Mickey, is a former Mr. Universe) and the sex appeal of a ’50s icon (her mother was Jayne Mansfield).

Yet Benson has had approximately two potential bedmates in five seasons. One
was
a corpse. (She went to the crime scene, pulled down the sheet, got teary-eyed
but shed no tears, the coroner said, “Did you know him?” she said, “a long time
ago,” and then spent the next fifty-five minutes tracking down his killer, silently
mourning the sex-with-an-ex that she would never have). The other wanted to play “let’s
re-enact a crime scene” before doing the deed. Turns out, he was a reporter using
her to get a scoop. She ended up kicking him out of her apartment and taking
a cold shower. Poor beautiful, improbably repressed Benson. Such a paucity of
paramours!

But then there is Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni), a perfect specimen of a man (if you’ve ever watched Oz, you’ve seen him naked, so you know this). The sexual tension between the two is primal, palpable and heartwrenching. He’s moral and married, and she may have had a girl-crush on the beautiful prosecutor Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March), whose “death” was staged at the end of last season so she could go into protective services (i.e., March’s contract was up, and she wanted to try her hand at the big screen but return if all else failed).

Either way, addictive, unrequited lust between genetically blessed people abounds.
Yet there’s something more human — a bad dye job, unflattering wardrobe —
and less Hollywood about Benson. She’s a “real” fictional person struggling with “real” fictional
repression and sexual tension that comes from having a hot, married colleague
and secretly pining for a bodacious blonde in the witness protection program.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences agrees. Last week, Hargitay was nominated for an Emmy as Best Actress in a Drama Series. The recognition is long overdue. Not only has Hargitay chosen illustrious roles — Ghoulies, Falcon Crest, Lake Placid — she’s also quite the writer. Just go to her website, www.mariska.com, and peruse her notes of appreciation to fans (all women) — “Tiphany for the beautiful Crystal piano,” “Maribel for the collages, video slideshow and bracelet. You are so creative,” and “Brittney for the green Care Bear.” Then, she signs off: “Speak the truth, seek the truth, be the truth. Let us all be the change we wish to see in the world. God bless. ­ Mariska.” And for that, she is our crush of the week. — Tobin Levy

Quote of the Week
“I have to say that John Edwards is very beautiful, and my husband is very
smart.” — Teresa Heinz Kerry
Political Sex Scandal of the Week
Urgent Public
Service Announcement to Middle-Aged Men in New Jersey! If you’re
married and a trashy woman randomly propositions you, think for
a second. Ask yourself: "Do I really want to do this to my
family? Didn’t I make a commitment to be faithful to my wife?" But
most importantly,"Am I cooperating with federal investigators
who are trying to nail my brother-in-law for illegal campaign contributions?" If
the answer to this final question is yes, you might want to spring
for your own prostitute rather than have sex with the one who your
brother-in-law may have secretly paid for. Beware! He will videotape
the encounter and send it to his sister in an effort to buy your
silence!
That’s what happened to the lusty, unwitting brother-in-law
of the world’s most vindictive philantropist, Charles Kushner,
a top contributor to Governor McGreevey’s’ campaign. But the real
story isn’t being told: There was a second prostitute and a second
would-have-been
blackmail victim: an accountant who knew too much. But this noble
word cruncher, according to the Times, “did
not take the bait.” Can’t you just see that poor second prostitute’s
self-esteem plummet as she desperately tries to ensnare some nerdy
guy who, “repeatedly refused the woman’s advances?” Isn’t she the
real victim in all of this?
In the News
Newsweek blows the whistle on "The New Infidelity." Apparently, women are cheating on men! Instead of the other way around! Damn the internet!

Ever-classy Governor Schwarzeneger calls Democrats “girlie men.”

Gay couples are taking the competitive ballroom dancing world by storm.
Tom Wolfe’s new novel I Am Charlotte Simmons reportedly follows an innocent girl from North Carolina to a sports-obsessed university “closer in spirit to Sodom than to Athens,” a school where “sex, crank, and kegs trump academic achievement every time."
Gawker reports the launch of the website, Break Up News, a cynical companion to the Times‘ Wedding Pages.
Pedestrians are traumatized by the ubiquity of "Cyclysm" billboards. Although many suspect it has something to do with bike-induced orgasms; one blog claims it is, "A blend of the words cycling and cataclysm, most often used to denote upheaval, or a meeting of great forces, in the world of bicycle racing … From Herodotus: The sun ring foretold the imminent arrival of the cyclism, portending the beasts would re-visit Phillipila with renewed strength and the vigor of a thousand bulls …" Of course, biker orgasms sound even more exciting.
Peter
Carlson looks at nudist magazines, is horrified by the look of
naked normal people, makes fun of them in The
Washington Post
. "The
best thing about nudist magazines is that they give you a newfound
appreciation for clothing," he writes, while simultaneously
chuckling, patting himself on the back, and winking at himself
in the mirror.
Paris Hilton has settled her
suit against ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, who videotaped and marketed
a sexual encounter — in return for a cut of the profits. Hilton’s friend argues, “Paris is certainly not capitalizing on the tape. She has insisted that an ample portion of the proceeds are donated to charity.”
Violence
against women in Spain is on the rise. According to the New
York Times
, conservative commentators are claiming that “men
are also the victims, since they sometimes kill themselves after
they murder their women.”
According
to sick people who pay attention to such things (i.e., definitely
not us), Lindsay Lohan’s boobs were in
hiding
for a week but then made a triumphal return.
Liberals
sound the call to Fuck
the Vote
("Because Liberals are Hotter"). They hope
to swing the election by having sex with Republicans who promise
to vote
for
Kerry. Now, via a bus tour!
An Israeli design student has invented a “sex couch,” a stylish piece of orange furniture intended to encourage
lovers to try out new positions.
Today’s Architectural
Triumph
Public toilets allow you to people-watch while you pee.
Weird
Magazine Watch

Nespresso, “a Magazine for Life’s Precious Moments.” (It came with a case of coffee we ordered. We drink a lot of coffee.)

Best headline: “Only Sugar, Honey! Did you ever Consider Sugar to be a Marxist’s Nightmare?”

Best directive: Touch your breast to relax (left).

Found Poem of the Week
From an Interview magazine discussion between Sharon Stone and Jeanne Moreau:

SS: I think we have to be now so afraid of scarcity. We have to be willing
to give away all things. I mean, what’s the big deal?

JM: Well, these are questions that were inspired by the questionnaire Proust answered when he was very young, before he began writing what became those marvelous books [In Search of Lost Time]. Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the film you made, Catwoman.

Product
Placement

Is it just us, or does the fireman on the cover of the new FDNY calendar look kind of like a whiner?

“Go Fuck Yourself” Dick
Cheney T-shirts for
you and your dog.
Kleenex for men.
Weekend
Craft Project
Knit your own edible thong. Instructions here.
Medical
Condition Alert
Are you an incel ("involuntary celibate")? This website says incels are often “sexually inexperienced people, sometimes completely inexperienced, and often face irrational levels of fear in potentially sexual and romantic situations.
Tabloid Fodder

People

Cover: "Marc and Jennifer: Inside Their Marriage"

Sexiest quote: "It’s normal to f— when you love so much." — Vili
Fualaau, who had an affair with his teacher Mary Kay Letourneau,
who’s about to go free.

Sexiest headline: "Thigh Wattage"

Sexiest bit of gossip: Three weeks before he died, Marlon Brando dressed in full drag to get into character for a voiceover. He voices Mrs. Sour, the matriarch of a corrupt candy company, in the upcoming animated feature Big Bug Man.

Sex promised/delivered: 4/6. People really steps up to the plate this
month, with an upbeat item on Paris Hilton’s sex tape-for-charity arrangement.

In Touch

Cover: "Who’s Really Pregnant?"

Sexiest quote: "Her breasts and legs are not insured!” — Kirsten Dunst’s rep

Sexiest headline: "Studded!"

Sexiest bit of gossip: Spike Lee’s wife doesn’t mind her husband’s strip club visits. "He loves lesbians, as most men do!" she says.

Sex promised/delivered: 5/3. We like the fights, we like the break-ups and decadence,
but the general EPT-test bent is disheartening. Can’t we wait until they have
kids
and
buy them million dollar diamond-studded birthday cakes and read about that?

Us Weekly

Cover: "Justin & Cameron: On the Rocks?"

Sexiest quote: “It’s why fans call me the Big Willie!” — Will Smith on his shower scene in I, Robot

Sexiest headline: "They Strip Off When It’s Hot!"

Sexiest bit of gossip: Dennis Rodman liked having sex with Madonna but hated
her music.

Sex promised/delivered: 8/9. Wow, come-from-behind victory for Us! Salacious
details on Cameron and Justin’s relationship, with bonus info on her S&M
video.

Star

Cover: "It’s More Serious!"

Sexiest quote: "I am tasting the boys." — Kate Hudson’s newbie rocker cousin Sarah.

Sexiest headline: "Harrison and Calista’s Love Canal!"

Sexiest bit of gossip: The Wilson brothers and their girlfriends
are living together and going on lots of "romantic double dates."

Sex promised/delivered: 7/4. We are so disappointed in the usually magnificent Star.
Not only did they lazily reprise their glorious cover of two weeks back, but
they
also insist upon using the most odious word in the tabloid lexicon: “bump;” as in “Exclusive First Look! Julia’s Baby Bump!” For shame, Star. For shame.

Sign of the Apocalypse

Permanent makeup.

Scanner appears Tuesdays.

Research assistant:
Gwynne Watkins.

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