Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has received almost universal public support in his on-going divorce battle with Heather Mills. Clearly, McCartney has built up a lot of goodwill over the years. Enough that, when Mills comes out with accusations of abuse, and claims she has tapes to back up said accusations, most people are quick to defend Paul, and to hurl terrible insults at Mills, and make incredibly tasteless, though hilarious, jokes about her one-leggedness.
There are a few who have taken Mills' side in the affair however. Who knows what their reasons are. Maybe they have something personal against McCartney, or have consciously decided to swim against the tide, or maybe they just have a thing for stumps. Or, perhaps, they've just concluded that the McCartney-is-a-jerk angle is better for business.
Such would seem the case with The National Enquirer, which lately has taken a decidedly anti-Paul tack. In fact, one could almost accuse the Enquirer of attempting to smear McCartney. Witness this piece on their website, which hypes certain "bombshell tapes" they've acquired. And what is on these earth-shattering recordings? Evidence of Paul beating Heather? Testimony as to his general cruelty? Or proof that Paul has been a bit of an obnoxious jerk at various times in his life, especially when he was young?
The tapes, "exclusively" obtained by the Enquirer (perhaps because no one else thought they were worth anything), feature Paul's stepmother Angie and stepsister Ruth talking about certain incidents where Paul demonstrated himself to be not the most thoughtful or classy fellow in the world. In fact, the behavior they recount can only be characterized as boorish. In the first offered clip, Angie talks about a time when her husband, Paul's father, was suffering from crippling arthritis, and Paul, in a moment of apparent meanness, threw open a window and caused a cold gale to blow on the poor old man. When Angie told Paul to close the window, Paul replied by saying the old man wasn't really sick, and Angie and the doctors were trying to make a cripple of him. In the second clip, the stepsister Ruth talks about how she became large-breasted at a young age, and Paul made lewd remarks to her once when she was wrapped in a towel after having a bath. And in the third Ruth tells about a conversation she had with Paul when she was 20 where Paul suggested she overcome her financial troubles by becoming a prostitute.
Maybe there are some out there who will buy the Enquirer's angle, and see these recordings as stark evidence of McCartney's low character. Surely, his stepmother and stepsister see him as tyrannical, and maybe he was. But does any of this represent proof that he beat Heather, or beat Linda as Heather also claimed? And does it do anything to ameliorate Heather's gold-digger image? It all seems a bit desperate to me. An attempt at blowing certain instances of callous and perhaps even rotten behavior up into something larger. All right, so McCartney was a little dictatorial. But there's still no proof of real abuse, just a couple of bitter old women looking for pity, and a crass magazine trying to make stunning revelations out of material that barely qualifies as interesting.
Saturday, January 13, 2007