Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kiss Unpantsed


Every once in awhile you strike pop cultural gold - the media version of finding a $20 bill left in a neglected pocket. The nugget I lucked into last week was the Paul Lynde Halloween Special, with guest stars Pinky Tuscadero and KISS! There was even an uncredited cameo by Donny and Marie. It was as a 70’s fan’s wet dream.
Shoving aside the chance to muse on Paul Lynde’s fabulousness and WTF ever happened to Pinky Tuscadero, we, like any cool kids would, skipped ahead to KISS. You know how sometimes you go on YouTube, find a favorite childhood show and discover that whatever you loved actually sucked? Not so here. The historical documents bare out the KISS charisma in this, their first prime time appearance, with Gene Simmons leading the pack.
Not in my wildest fancies would I ever have thought I’d be allegedly seeing the Max Factor demon a few days later...or 32 years later...in a sex tape. By now it’s been all over the web that there’s a tape of Simmons caught in the act with a model.
Okay....when presented with the opportunity to view the thing, I thought “Hell, yes. This is the equivalent of Helen Thomas going to a White House Press conference, right?” This is the kind of stuff I write about. It’s important for me to watch it." So I watched it.
And then I felt like a bit of an idiot. Not because I was spending my short life watching strangers have sex...nothing wrong with that. Not because to other people my age, “important” means, say, buying a house or getting tenure and to me it means Gene Simmons without pants. And not because it all happened to the tune of “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” by Foreigner.
The reason I felt like an idiot was because, if this alleged encounter of Simmons was taped and distributed without his knowledge or consent - and TMZ says “...the tape was shot without Simmons' permission or knowledge -- and may well be illegal.....” - it was meant to be private. And if it was me - if it was my moment of no-pants intimacy people were suddenly goggling at, I would be pi-ii-iii-ii-iiised, pissed with at least five syllables. It’s one thing if a celeb...or a nobody, for that matter... means to be in a sex tape. It’s another if the thing is leaked. Then it gets the same vibe as everything else you could term “leakage.”
On 2/21/-8 TMZ wrote that Simmons’ lawyers are ordering a cease and desist on the video from webmastercentral.com citing copyright infringement: “Apparently, Gene got wind of the tape a few years back and bought the rights.” We always knew he was the smartest person in the world who ever wore bat wings.
So, yeah, I saw it, but I’m not judging it. It doesn’t seem fair. And it’s too easy to be snarky about something like this. It’s not like taking candy from a baby...it’s like taking candy from a statue. There’s no game in it.
And besides....this is Gene Simmons. From Kiss. He is a pop cultural legend without whose contributions we’d have had to listen to a helluva lot more Donny and Marie than most of you could stomach. I know it’s out of fashion, but how about a little respect?

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