Jesse James isn't just a despicable idiot because he cheated on his wildly popular wife Sandra Bullock. He's a despicable idiot because, in doing so, he basically offered himself up to America's lynch mob.
This week's tabloidian news cycle has been dominated by the news that James allegedly cheated on Bullock with Michelle McGee, a woman who uses "Bombshell" as her middle name and who, it seems, is a smart (if not scrupulous) businesswoman, waiting until the moment Bullock won her Oscar to sell the story of her trysts with James to In Touch for a rumored $30,000. Sandra reportedly found out that her husband was a jerk via her publicist, who was notified on Monday that In Touch had the tell-all scoop. Ugh. And now, for God knows how long, more lurid details will spill out, making the public side of this drama all the more painful.
It's the timing, really, that has held our attention (and what netted McGee such a nice payout), and it's not because of the "Oscar Curse" bullshit blather, or the obvious analysis and immediate "proof" that some men simply can't handle strong, successful women. No, we're captivated because Sandy, America's Sweetheart, a genuinely likable mega-star, didn't even get to enjoy her Oscar for 8 days. A highlight of her career — a lucrative career that, as Barbara Walters noted, pulls in the audiences but not the recognition — and her celebration was cut ridiculously short. Seriously, that's not fair.
And sure, Bullock will recover, at least professionally. But James is a woman's worst nightmare: the lying, the cheating, the hairline. But what truly makes him the sort of man who haunts the darker corners of the mind is the effect he had on Sandra: You'd be hard pressed not to believe that she truly loved this man. The most recent indication — which came immediately to mind as the news broke — was when Bullock explained to Walters the effect James had on her, after years of being a powerful women going it alone.
I'm a sap, but how can this not break your heart a little? "I never knew what it was like to have someone have my back… I never allowed myself to be cared for or protected that way in a relationship…" But when she did, good things followed! Oh, God. And she reiterated this fact during her Oscar acceptance speech:
Except James was totally fucking her over. I repeat: He is a woman's worst nightmare.
And really, who is Jesse James anyhow? Sure, he has a lucrative and successful career with his hogs and his tattoos and his reality show and whatever else he does — but he was still niche, a basic-cable cult figure. His romance with Bullock was what catapulted him into A-list level fame (or at least the glow of hers — but that's good enough, isn't it?). My mom doesn't necessarily know what Monster Garage is, but if she does, it's because she knows Sandra Bullock is married to the guy from it.
The power James has had on our collective national disgust is best measured against yesterday's reveal that Tiger Woods sent some seriously hardcore sexts (Ass-fucking! Choking! Golden showers!) to his porn-star paramour Joslyn James, who had the good taste to post the text messages on her website. Did this even upset anyone? Other than the shock factor of the language itself (assuming you're even shocked by that stuff anymore), no. We barely raised an eyebrow, and not because it was Tiger's umpteenth transgression. We're far more invested in the fact that Sandra Bullock was wronged. Yes, Elin Nordgren has been excruciatingly wronged as well, but America isn't attached to Elin. We barely know her. The truth is, we just care more about Bullock (sorry, Elin). Maybe we'd taken more note of the sexting story if James hadn't been so busy dicking over our girl.
How Sandra Bullock Found Out About Jesse's Affair [PopEater]
Tattoo Model Knew Jesse James Was Wed to Bullock During Alleged Fling [Us Weekly]
Jesse James and Michelle "Bombshell" McGee Had Sex on The Queen Mary [E!]
Michelle 'Bombshell' McGee Tweets: 'Thanks For The Support'... 'Suck It!!' [Radar]
Sandra Bullock Still Poised for Successful Future [AP]