Cintra Wilson is a beloved, scathing columnist and the author of one of the books I'm constantly recommending to people (the hilarious Brix Pick Colors Insulting to Nature). In A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease, she aims her acerbic wit at the insane world of famous people circa 2000; the book would span multiple volumes to cover all the head shaving and beaver flashing that's happened since.
It's not too often that a book will have me chucking aloud while waiting for food or a subway, but there's little use in resisting the perfectly formulated paragraphs of incredible metaphor and insult. Of Celine Dion she says:
“…the most freakishly mutated creatures the Streisand Machine has coughed out onto society”.
She writes that Sigfried and Roy are:
“…completely freaked out on a vision of themselves as beautiful New Age twin alien butterfly Emperors… they look like wealthy, oversexed soap opera matriarchs… clad in exclusively triangular shoulder pad outfits from Star Trek the Next Generation, midriff safari ensembles or leather pants with giant codpieces and ruffly chemises”
Her's the kind of wit prose that I wish I could concoct without needing years to formulate the prefect wording; I'd love to be able to write with such a great combination of clever humor, pop culture savvy, genuine social commentary, and intelligence… or at least become really good friends with her so I could constantly be entertained.
It's a quick read, and so what if her points can become a tad repetitive and almost just border on preachy? These accounts (that were mostly originally published in Salon) of plastic surgery, divas, the world of ice skating and gymnastics, and New Kids on the Block fan mail are priceless and often ingenius.