Disgusted by Washington? Appalled at the posturing of politicians? Sickened by the shenanigans of those who claim to protect the nation’s interests?
You may find respite in the most unlikely of places: Playboy.
The September issue of the men’s magazine, expected to hit newsstands in the next few days, features the latest installment of a modern-day Hatfield-and-McCoy feud. It promises to be a good skirmish — if you can overcome the nausea.
Mercede Johnston is taking it all off for the camera. And as a little extra, she’s quoted in a controversial article in the very same issue, according to Us magazine and other published reports.
About now, you’re probably asking: Mercede who?
Silly you. Mercede is the 18-year-old sister of the young man who impregnated one of the daughters of a former vice presidential candidate from Alaska. Does that ring a bell?
If not, let me name names. Sarah Palin (former governor, former candidate, current celebrity). Levi Johnston (baby daddy, ne’er do well). Bristol Palin (author, teen mother, Dancing with the Stars contestant).
Mercede’s claim to fame is as flimsy as a fraying thread on a loose button, but in the age of reality TV, anything, including tenuous familial connections, is enough to bestow celebrity status. She probably figured she might as well cash in while she can. Her four-page, nude pictorial reportedly earned her less than $25,000.
Playboy, on the other hand, is probably laughing all the way to the bank. When older brother Levi posed for Playgirl about two years ago, the issue broke sales records.
Several months ago, Mercede told E! that she had “a ton of offers” to be photographed in the buff but promised she wouldn’t do it just for money. Heavens no! That would be pathetically commercial. She would strip only “because I think it is a good choice for me at that time.” And, with Sarah Palin still mulling a presidential run, she may have realized her opportunities were fading as quickly as the Alaska sun in winter.
But better than money, better than the opportunity for international exposure, Playboy offered a forum for sweet revenge. Mercede Johnston supposedly disses the famous family in an in-depth feature on the Palins by George Gurley. Take that, Sarah. In your face, Bristol. Disrobing and talking was payback for the tales told about her brother in the Bristol book, Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far. (Missed that memoir? No big loss.)
The two-fer in Playboy is, by no means, the last time we’ll hear from these dysfunctional clans. Sooner or later, one of the Palins will fire off a reprisal. I can’t wait. Even the most imaginative writer couldn’t come up with these characters.
If all this gratuitous nakedness and vitriol send you into a state of glassy-eyed confusion, as it does for most of us, that may not be such a bad thing. At least the Bristol-Levi-Sarah-Mercede fight won’t force any rating company to downgrade our debt. And the diversion is certainly less revolting than watching frumpy people with paunches and graying hair snarl at each other while the country slips perilously close to economic ruin.
In comparison to the debt ceiling nightmare, which was a root canal and wisdom teeth extraction rolled into one, the Johnston-Palin fight is as harmless as a teeth cleaning by an eccentric dental hygienist.
What’s a little back-biting among relatives?