Mhairi McFarlane has bangs like a mofo and you can glean more of her awesomeness on Twitter.
It’s confident indeed to say the Talking The Most Marvellous Shit 2012 trophy has been taken already, but by jove, it’s January – and I think Mark Wahlberg might have done it. I didn’t mean to become Sarah’s sometime-correspondent on thespian hubris, but they say write what you know and I know I can’t get over how thrillingly mental this is: he’s claimed that he would’ve landed hijacked planes safely on 9/11.
That’s right. Shit wouldn’t have gone down, it would’ve gone down very differently. (Note to marketing dept: tagline needs work.) Somewhere there may be remnants of an Al Qaeda cell mopping their brows that the whole plan wasn’t shagged by one of the executive producers of Entourage. “Next time, check the passenger manifest for former male underwear models, leave nothing to chance.”
Wahlberg was booked on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center but didn’t use his ticket. Knowing you narrowly escaped certain death in a world-changing act of terrorism that claimed the lives of thousands would be a cause for pause for most mortals. You might react in all sorts of weird ways: taking risks, becoming very risk averse, finally trying to make your own puff pastry. There’s surely an arty film in it. Or was it Final Destination? No matter. Profoundly affecting stuff.
So follow the psychological process, if you will, if you dare, of Mark Wahlberg – who instead of considering himself lucky not to have been on the doomed flight, thinks that those onboard were unlucky he wasn’t with them. Yes. Go for a think, have a snack, you’ll still be thinking about that one. “If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.'” Nice touches to A) remind us he’d be flying first and B) he’d be straight on the Tannoy to reassure everyone / claim the credit. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your new captain speaking, we’re now cruising at an altitude of kiss my skill.”
“Life is not a Hollywood film, Mark!” commentators have said, in reaction to the thundering ballsackery. But the weird part is, you’d think no one would know that onscreen heroics are smoke and mirrors better than the people paid to play pretend. When I was little I saw Superman IV being filmed. Christopher Reeve had to have his armpits dried with a hairdryer between takes, blue Lycra onesies not mixing with man-sweat. When he flew, he dangled about uselessly on wires like the punchline in panto season. In real life, the cheering from the crowd of extras seemed distinctly satirical. You half expected the Man of Steel to make the hey go fuck your momma arm thump gesture instead of the HEY NO PROBLEM, AMERICA wave. Aged nine, I could see that he looked – and I’m pleased to say even my nine-year-old self wouldn’t have framed it in such terms – a right twat.
Ewan McGregor has described how dickish he felt galloping in front of green screen in the Star Wars prequels, pretending to be awed by non-existent spectacles, but really he should stop complaining because the end result more than made up for it and those films live on in all our hearts. So it’s extraordinary that despite Mark Wahlberg being well aware that he didn’t save the world from evil trees in The Happening and spent most of his time playing Xbox in his trailer, or arguing with M Night Shyster about the wisdom of a script where the villains are evil trees, he still can’t make his peace with Physics Of Plane Crashing – Him Being Only A Human Man.
But, cut Mark some slack. It’s not as if there was an example of another flight that day where passengers stormed the cockpit and the plane still crashed. Oh. OK, it’s not as if there’s been an example of the tremendous experience and not inconsiderable luck needed to ditch a plane in New York in an emergency. Oh. Of course, you don’t need a degree in anything to intuit that Wahlbergian-style fantasies are the product of unnaturally inflated celebrity self-esteem. And I suppose, how sane would any of us be if we were constantly told we were right? Sooner or later the thought-gremlin would creep in: I’m not told I’m right because I’m successful. I’m successful because I’m always right.
Whereas the average ego is lumpy with scar tissue from the knocks and wounds it receives daily (last month, going about my business as a private individual, I got “YOU FUCKING WENCH!” screamed at me. Feedback always welcome) the A list equivalent has morphed beyond all normal proportions, nurtured to giganticism like a prize-winning mega-marrow. Hot-housed, heavily fertilised with dung, brushed lightly with olive oil, this analogy is now ending because I have no idea how you grow big marrows.
Yet the howl of derision that greets the most crackpot outbursts denies us properly exploring their idiosyncratic worldview. Remember Tom Cruise said a Scientologist was the only person who could help, when first on the scene of an automotive accident? I for one am genuinely fascinated to hear how an Operating Thetan (Level Seven) can drain blood from the chest cavity after major thoracic blunt force trauma more efficiently than a paramedic team. But I fear Cruise may have clammed up. You all did this.
Anyway. It’s Wahlberg’s world, we just live in it, and have to hope to hell he shows up if shit gets hairy. It can only be a matter of time until you’re halfway through your Virgin Atlantic in-flight gluey Chicken Misery With Bits when you’re interrupted by: “Is Marky Mark on board? Or his Funky Bunch? Do we have a Hector The Booty Inspector? We need anyone who can finger frame a crotch thrust and break it down like, mm-hhmm yeah, like that, to make themselves known to a member of our cabin staff immediately.”
Text © Mhairi McFarlane, 2012