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Jewish World Review March 21, 2002 / 8 Nisan, 5762

Mark Goldblatt

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Consumer Reports

Last week, in case you missed it, was a banner week for cheese | I don't mention this very often, but in between writing wickedly perceptive opinion columns and lecturing on the religious traditions of the Western world, I'm kind of a cheese head. I produce the stuff: I co-wrote a book called First Lady of Wrestling, the no-holds-barred memoir of Missy Hyatt, late '80's prototype for today's scantily clad, surgically enhanced, professional-wrestling valets. More to the point, cheese-wise, I'm an aficionado. And last week, in case you missed it, was a banner week for cheese.

Last Wednesday brought Fox Network's Celebrity Boxing. For openers, there was Danny Bonaduce of The Partridge Family versus Barry Williams of The Brady Bunch. I was sold the moment Bonaduce predicted (correctly, as it turned out) the fight would be a Very Brady Beating. The main event was originally supposed to be Tanya Harding versus Amy Fisher — two gals who tried to K.O. the competition. But Fisher's parole officer nixed the idea, so into the breach leapt Bill Clinton accuser Paula Jones — whose keen eye for detail failed to note that Harding, even with her trailer-park baggage, was nevertheless once a world-class athlete. Jones spent the three rounds doing more dancing and back-pedaling that Clinton's feminist defenders.

The entire hour was pure cheese, right down to the dot-com tattoos on the fighters' torsos — though in reality it was probably no more lowbrow than an average episode of Politically Incorrect. Huge ratings, in any event, promise future celebrity fisticuffs; the names Darva Conger and Joey Buttofuocco are already being mentioned.

Oh, the humanity!

The Big Cheese, however, came over the weekend with the invasion, five blocks from my midtown apartment, of Liza's Wedding. The fourth Mr. Minelli, a rather chinless refugee from the Pre-Nuptial Agreement Farm named David Gest, started off the festivities on the wrong foot Friday night by dissing a gaggle of Liza-with-a-Z drag queens who showed up outside his bachelor's party and begged for a photo op. He declined; it was an unpardonably uppity moment from a fellow who, in an alternate sexual universe, might pass for the love child of Truman Capote and Rosie O'Donnell.

Rosie herself, having established the previous week that no closet could hold her, represented the token mortal among a guest list of living dead that included Gene Simmons (still of KISS), Phyllis Diller, Jill St. John, Debra Paget, Ben Vereen, Mia Farrow, Joan Collins, Gina Lollobrigida, Janet Leigh, and Carroll Baker. Or, as my undergraduate students would call them collectively: "Who"? Performing at the ceremony were Robert Goulet, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Doobie Brothers, and Natalie Cole. So many has-beens were crowded into that church that the entire neighborhood seemed to slide into the present-perfect tense.

Last but not least came the wedding party. Liza's first maid of honor was Liz Taylor — who has lived long enough, married often enough, detoxed, and relapsed conspicuously enough to pass through the stage of Doddering Old Bat into a kind of sublime absurdity of flesh hitherto known only to ancient Roman emperors. Liza's second maid of honor was Marisa Berenson who must have done something notable once though no one seems to know what. And moonwalking the bride down the aisle, to the lactose-rich strains of "The Greatest Love of All," was the King of Pop himself, the Sultan of Sleepovers, the Major of Minors, Michael Jackson.

The bride, I'm told, wore white.

I'm guessing a lukewarm and slightly runny Brie.

JWR contributor Mark Goldblatt's novel, Africa Speaks , will be published this month. Comment by clicking here.

03/01/02: Black History Month distorts accomplishments

© 2002, Mark Goldblatt