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In Spring, Thoughts Turn to Squalor

Do you, Jennifer Willbanks, take Corey Clark......... Hey, Corey, she's younger than Paula......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 11, 2005.

May and October are the two best months in Boulder. In October, schools are in, the grand Winnebago Festival is off the road, and the weather is, generally, great. Things are under control and, while full, Boulder is quiet.

In May, Boulder is empty and quiet as well. Students are gone, and the weather is……okay, wet, but wet is good in a high desert. And we need it.

Actual news slows, and I find myself concerned with ethical garbage of no import. Having lived a life of decadent squalor myself, as I age I find the attraction – need, really – to condemn the lives of others rising easily to the surface and May provides both time and opportunity. In fact, there are many in need of guidance, advice, and bruising pivot kicks.

I hate people who commit weddings, and so I have immensely enjoyed the tale of runaway bride Jennifer Willbanks, who has checked herself into an inpatient medical treatment program to deal with "physical and mental issues" that we’re to believe drove her to bail days before her wedding. This, from a spokesman of her family's church.

Does your church have a spokesman who outsources their services to do PR for you? A spokesman who seems to elbow others aside in the rush to the mike? Huh. Well, a few observations. The Willbanks entourage intones the word “family” as if their surname was “Plantagenet” and they expect a hushed murmur of awe from the media and public. They present this wedding as a melding of dynasties between themselves and Mr. Mason’s gene pool. Both groom and bride are seen to be elderly, as their peers go. The bride was 34. So, it’s sort of odd that they and participants would brag about the size of the wedding, the huge number of bridesmaids, the expense, the importance to the social scene in Atlanta, since they’re clearly adults who should be above social climbing and such stupid wastes of time and money.

Further, Ms. Willbanks in every photograph wears the same smile of compressed hysteria and apparent insanity in her right eye, and at a wattage of sincerity shared by realtors and former Nigerian Health Ministers in need of your account and pin number to transfer large sums for which they are willing to share a few million. The bride is also a petty thief, and because she’s white and supposedly wealthy and previously entered programs and - we just know it - struggled to understand what had happened to her to make her do those things. These were not juvenile crimes. She was in her mid-twenties when she was sentenced. The current crisis of her soul, explained the church spokesman, required procedure that "Ms. Willbanks entered a highly regarded, inpatient treatment program on her own volition to address physical and mental issues which, she believes, played a major role in her 'running from herself' as she described in a public statement last week." Aren’t they amazing? They have to imply the cost and social superiority of the institution to which their grifter daughter has run in hopes she won’t have to pay for what she’s cost everyone. Nearly as much as the wedding.

Let’s review, she bought her bus ticket a week before she ran. She had no money or ID with her and no apparent plan, so she libeled Hispanics by claiming they’d kidnapped her, and then claimed cold feet for the wedding. She was happy with a stuffed animal in police custody. Equally believable, her fiancé is still thrilled to be marrying her. Someday. Hard to say when.

Meanwhile. Corey Clark, a petty punk who is material for mediocre lead singer in a lounge band, maybe, is trying to extort his way into the nation’s heart by revealing that Paula Abdul might be a lonely, middle-aged has-been not quite ready to call it a night or do dinner theater. Good on her. Clark was a loser on American Idol, which is a talent contest in the way Miss America was a scholarship program. In the age of redial, Idol purports to respond to America’s heart beat and allow the most popular singer per season become a manipulated cipher, an instant joke.

After telling ABC, a rival network of American Idol, that he’d had a sexual affair with judge Abdul, and implying that the whole show is corrupt, Clark claims today that he has evidence that there was actually an affair between himself and Abdul, as if the 45k phone calls she made to him on record fail to convince. Abdul has declined to admit it one way or the other, and since it’s not anyone’s business, fine. But because she hasn’t claimed him as a conquest, Clark isn’t going gracefully into that long descent into oblivion.

Even more heroic and selfless, other failed contestants on the program are complaining that Clark’s ministrations to the aged somehow cost them, although he himself was an early departure inspiring no slapped foreheads. He'd lied about a criminal past. And at least one female loser reluctantly admitted that she, herself, had an affair with Clark during this same period. It’s all about the music, you see. Can’t you feel the damaged souls here? Is it June, yet?