The bad news bears
Today’s additions to the category of No Good Can Ever Come of This: “Mel Gibson is on the phone.” “The Bachelorette is close to selecting the man of her dreams.”
“Bristol and Levi are back together.” Let me go out on a limb and say that Sarah Palin was probably not happy to learn about her oldest daughter’s re-engagement to her baby-daddy via an eight-page cover spread in Us Weekly.
“It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be,” Bristol confided. “Hopefully, she will jump on board.”
Not right this very moment. Continuing the family tradition of communicating via press release, Sarah and Todd icily noted that at 19, Bristol is an adult. And, in this case, an adult who “believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”
The story of how Bristol went from suing her exsqueeze for child support to accepting a new engagement ring is, like everything about this couple, stupendously unremarkable. They met to discuss custody arrangements. They took baby Tripp out for a walk. Bristol made fun of Levi’s hair. “It was nice,” he recalled. Levi went home. And texted words of love. “The next day we started hanging out and, literally, we have hung out every day since,” Bristol concluded.
Not exactly “Wuthering Heights” or “Jane Eyre.” (“Reader, I hung out with him.”) Not even “Twilight,” although, like Levi, the perpetually teenaged Edward Cullen never managed to get through 12th grade.
Johnston has proved to be the only person in the world who can make me feel sympathy for Sarah Palin. He told Us Weekly that he broached the subject of marrying Bristol at the same family meeting where he apologized to Sarah for telling the national news media that she was money-hungry, insensitive, a bad housekeeper, an indifferent mother and a bad shot. Astonishingly, the Palins didn’t immediately welcome him back into the clan.
“They want me to get a career and an education and prove I can take care of Bristol before we can even think about getting back together,” he recounted.
Finally, an issue on which the entire nation can unite. We can’t agree on how to fix the economy, but we are as one when it comes to fixing Levi. Get thee to a GED tutor.
Bristol, who followed up her Us Weekly appearance with a People interview, agreed that before her mother will come around Levi would “have to get his education and a job and be willing to support Tripp the right way.” The wrong way was presumably Levi’s previous attempts to earn a living by posing for Playgirl.
This cannot be a welcome change of subject for the former Republican vice presidential nominee. She’s been on a political roll — raising money, making some prescient picks in the Republican primaries. She’s got a hot “mama grizzlies” video out, in which she touts a new wave of conservative women, rising up to protest ... the bad thing. Palin is really, really vague about exactly what the threat is. (The closest she gets is “the fundamental transformation of America.”) But there’s really no need to be specific because, as she says in the video, “Moms kinda just know when something’s wrong.”
The Bristol-Levi debacle, which might be a minor sideshow for another politician, looms larger for a Mama Grizzly.
Inquiring minds might want to know why she didn’t sniff trouble, rise up on her hind legs and eviscerate that hockey-playing thug the first time he followed her daughter through the kitchen door.
Since Sarah Palin’s own fame seems grounded on little but a look and an attitude, you can’t blame the kids for thinking the same kind of thing would work for them. Bristol tried to become a celebrity unwed mother, the anti-teenpregnancy spokeswoman for a sexy clothing line. Levi tried to make a name for himself as the celebrity unwed mother’s ex-boyfriend. It might have worked out, except that as a spokeswoman, Bristol turned out to have nothing to say. And Levi, who kept showing up on TV promising to tell “my side of the story,” was close to sub-verbal.
But the conviction that celebrity is transferable, like chicken pox, is still going strong in Wasilla. Levi has broken relations with his sister, Mercede, over her insistence on telling “my side of the story” on The Official Blog of Mercede Johnston. The home page includes a request for donations and a list of recent posts, including, “Time to set the record straight,” and “No I will NOT sit down and shut up!” Her grievances seem to center on Bristol, who she claims got pregnant on purpose and then tried to turn her brother against his family.
Tune in tomorrow when ... What next? My money’s on an all-Palin-Johnston edition of “Dancing with the Stars.”