The Big Hurt: Jacko solvent! Boyle swelling! Lupus dissed!

MJ's ranch, Hoppus and Wentz on Twitter, and Susan Boyle
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 28, 2009

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If you had your heart set on picking up a gently used chimp tuxedo or a suspicious child skeleton, you're outta luck: the auction house that planned to liquidate the contents of MICHAEL JACKSON's Neverland Ranch has canceled the sale thanks to a last-minute settlement. I'm guessing Jackson's recent non-brokeness has something to do with his sold-out London O2 Arena residency, or the fact that Thriller 25 was the best-selling catalogue album of 2008. We all thought he'd be wasting away penniless and disgraced in the heat of some far-off sultanate, but, alas, like Britney Spears, he warmed our hearts by sinking disastrously close to total ruin only to dash our hopes with a tragic resurgence.

The other day I was remembering this kid I went to college with, a fellow named Blake from Wisconsin who was really into rap. I had a class called "Hip-Hop and the Black Experience" with him, and he was the perfect avatar of embarrassing backpack whiteboyism — desperate to be accepted by the black kids, he'd always be saying shit like "Yeah, back in Wisconsin we'd see lots of sick graf on the trains, cats would come down from the Boogiedown Bronx and bomb 'em wildstyle," and we'd all groan and roll our eyes, and this dude who sat next to me would lean over and say, "I'ma beat that guy up, I swear." He'd sidle up to the amateur rappers in the class and say, "Yo, some friends and I were gonna have a cipher later if you wanna come bust a dope freestyle," and they'd look at him as if he'd asked them down to the crypts to hunt mummies with the queen. So, anyway, I was reminiscing about the bittersweet comedy of Blake's existence and wondering what had happened to him, and then it hit me: he's ASHER ROTH.

MARK HOPPUS and PETE WENTZ have been getting into some kind of weird little circle jerk on Twitter involving cryptic octopus imagery and remixing each other's songs or something. I dare not venture too deep into this story, lest my eyebrows be singed off by the horror, but the thought of a Wentz/Hoppus axis has me tonguing my false spy tooth to ready the cyanide capsule.

If you think I'm too hardened a cynic to have my heart warmed by the whole SUSAN BOYLE thing, you underestimate what a colossal fairy I am. In case you hadn't heard about this: an adorably portly Scottish spinster who'd been mocked all her life for learning disabilities and general cat-ladyism showed up on the UK reality show Britain's Got Talent and knocked everyone's socks off by belting out a song from Les Misérables. I guess it doesn't make sense if you try to state it in words — "She's funny-looking, but it's heartwarming because she can sing!" — but when you combine it with all the fancy editing and stirring music and Simon Cowell, the part of you that doesn't know reality TV is fake seizes control.

But if you want to look at it from the cynical angle, that works too: maybe it'll inspire a lot of other funny-looking people who've been mocked all their lives to put it all on the line and attempt something beautiful, and then we'll get to laugh at them.

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