It Takes All Kinds

a Few Stories and Profiles by Erik Hedegaard
mainly from inside the pages of Rolling Stone
(with additional commentary and folderol provided by the author aka Charlie, sometimes)

letters to the editor and more

Posted on | December 30, 2018 | No Comments

a collection of letters to the editor about stories i’ve done, along with ramblings from various internet others.  some love, along with a good bit of hate.

The Funny Lady

THANK YOU TO ERIK HEDEgaard for the hilarious Melissa McCarthy cover story [“Riot Girl,” RS 1212/1213]. McCarthy did her time as the klutz and the bighearted gal in G-rated family TV and was rewarded with roles that showcase how savagely funny she is. For once, justice for the talented.

Jayson Moore, via the Internet

A FAITHFUL READER FOR more than 20 years writing to say the Melissa McCarthy story was amazing. She is charismatic, fearless, big and beautiful. We need role models for today’s challenged teen girls. I’m honored to live in Illinois and to be able to lay bragging rights to such an intelligent woman.

Priscilia Castillo, Chicago

MCCARTHY IS SO RAW AND real, she makes me want to be her best friend. I’ve never had a woman crush, but I definitely do now.

Lauren Robb, San Diego

Ricky’s Sermon

AFTER READING THE FIRST sentence of “Is Ricky Gervais Bigger Than God?” [RS 1128], Erik Hedegaard’s unmistakable disdain for his subject became obvious. He should let the readers decide for themselves — unless Hedegaard wants to continue writing articles that make him sound like, oh, what do they say in England? A total cunt.

Tim Curns, Los Angeles

BRAVO, ERIK HEDEGAARD. An honestly hilarious article about a hilariously honest guy.

Theresa Schroeder, Garner, NC
Matthew Nathe, via the Internet


Sorry Glenn Beck glenn beck says he regrets some of the stupid things he’s said [“Glenn Beck’s Regrets,” RS 1273]. But then he justifies it because “you’re doing four hours of live, unscripted talk every day and you throw a lot of crap against the wall.” Here’s a thought: How about actually preparing for your show? o, via the Internet erik hedegaard wrote a very entertaining story, but I’m not buying Glenn Beck’s about-face. The guy has spent far too many years gleefully bashing everybody and everything for this regret to be anything but opportunism.

, via the Internet

Howard Revealed

I’VE FOLLOWED TERRENCE Howard’s career since his amazing performance in Hustle & Flow [“Terrence Howard’s Dangerous Mind,” RS 1244]. Now that I’ve read his unfathomably sad back story, I realize what strength of will it took for him to survive. He’s a bit mad, but also a true artist.

Kimberly Dennis Via the Internet

SUCH A POWERFUL inter-view, riddled with mystery and questions. Howard’s an amazing actor who lights the screen on fire. Now it seems his personal life is just as lit. Thanks for the insight into greatness.

Laycee Bradbury Marquette, MI

THE HOWARD PIECE WAS fascinating. He thinks one times one is two and will unveil the new math – he’s certifiably insane. Who better than Erik Hedegaard to have interviewed him?

Dave Steinfeld, New York

Shock Master

marilyn manson is a bullshitter [“The Vampire of the Hollywood Hills,” RS 1226]. As soon as Erik Hedegaard went home, you know MM turned on the lights, made some nachos in the microwave and tuned in to SportsCenter.

Heather Westenhofer, Orange, CAletters to the editor and more

Manson’s World

REALLY GREAT WRITING BY Erik Hedegaard [“Manson Today,” RS 1197]. This story was as much about his own journey into Charles Manson‘s world as it was a peek inside the mind of a killer. At the end, I was left with one question: Did Hedegaard change his number?

Michael Epstein, via the Internet

HOW CAN YOU GIVE MANSON the time of day? He should have had a stake through his heart 40 years ago. Those sounds you hear are his victims spinning in their graves.

James B. Doris Washington Township, NJ

IT’S OBVIOUS “STAR” NEEDS a crash course in history. Without Sharon Tate, no one would know or care about Manson or his wacko would-be concubine.

Donna Di Giacomo, Philadelphia

THERE ARE SEVERAL RISKS inherent in participatory journalism, especially when you get touchy-feely with a nut job like Manson. If I was Hedegaard, I’d proceed directly to counseling, or call a priest or an exorcist — the devil has no doubt penetrated your soul, brother.

Scott Marshutz, Dana Point, CA

IN HEDEGAARD’S FINE ARTIcle on Manson, he wrote that I am “battling cancer.” I’m sure this was an innocent mistake on his part. I had successful surgery in May 2012 and no longer have cancer.

Vincent Bugliosi, Los Angeles

A letter from Quentin Tarantino‘s publicist:

After the story came out, QT’s publicist wrote my editor, the great Peter Travers, to express her disgust. Here’s what she had to say:

Very rarely have I felt so strongly that a client’s time, goodwill and trust was completely squandered by a writer. Erik Hedegaard’s story on Quentin and Uma, is trashy, tabloid-style journalism and I’m absolutely amazed that a magazine with such a history of groundbreaking journalism would allow such a piece. Look at it this way — Erik spent at least four hours, if not more, with one of the most unique, creative and precedent setting voices in cinema and what he reported, after his time spent with Quentin, was that he was a long chinned, motormouthed dork with a big fat unrequited crush on Viking goddess Uma Thurman. The films were hardly mentioned. What an opportunity Erik wasted! He could’ve written the definitive piece — a cover story in Rolling Stone for God’s sake — about a unique collaboration…. but he chose to fall glibly for the caricature of QT and chose to ask Uma whether she named penises. Brilliant indeed. I wasn’t looking for pandering. Quentin is way more complex and interesting than that. I was merely looking to see a story with some kind of unique insight instead of a story that hashed up every trashy tabloid story that we’ve seen about the two of them. I find it deeply depressing.

Had it not been for the beautiful cover shot and your brilliant review, I think I may have shot myself yesterday.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Very best wishes,

Chuck Amok

GREAT ARTICLE ON HOLLY-wood madman Charlie Sheen [“Still Crazy After All These Years,” RS 1159]. Erik Hede-gaard weaved together all the lines of this monumental story into an enlightening and highly entertaining piece. Also, give credit to Charlie’s long-suffering father, Martin Sheen, for the insight of a loving parent.

Zoo Cain, Portland, ME

THE COVER OF CHARLIE Sheen? Fucking fabulous.

Randi Nicolau, Placerville, CA

MOST OF US KNOW SOMEONE like Sheen. Good guy, good heart, but like the friend who needs a ride on Saturday morning to find his car. I always pulled for Charlie, his spoiled-Hollywood-brat persona notwithstanding. That was until I realized he’s a Yankees fan. He’s dead to me now.

Al Carlton, via the Internet

EXCELLENT CHARLIE SHEEN cover story. I think it understood Sheen better than he understands himself! It amazes me that even when defending his sanity, he still sounds insane.

Kyle Driscoll, via the Internet

SHEEN ON THE COVER -really? He represents the worst of our wacko celebrity culture. I feel bad for his family, but mostly I’m tired of seeing his atrocious behavior validated.

Charlie Ridgell, via the Internet

I’M A HAPPILY MARRIED 55-year-old man. I know it’s bad: Like a blind moth being pulled toward the light, I want to be Charlie Sheen for just one weekend. God forgive me, because my wife never would.

Pete Martin, Montreal

Clooney’s Cool

NEVER HAVE I READ AN ARTICle and felt so totally pulled in by not only the subject but the spectacular writing as well. Erik Hedegaard’s piece on George Clooney [“Confessions of a Dirty Mind,” RS 1144] was outstanding. I felt like I was in that living room listening to Clooney’s soulful ruminations.

Alicia Tharp, Fort Wayne, IN

DID HEDEGAARD GET GLAMoured by Clooney? What an exercise in fluff journalism. I’m more curious about what Clooney brings to the table as a director and actor than his dating, farting or alpha qualities.

Christopher Ramsey DeLand, FL

I WAS GAZING LONGINGLY AT the Clooney cover, and I saw it: the nose hair. Really, RS? Don’t some of your folks airbrush for a living? I guess that’s what makes George Clooney perfectly human after all.

Lydia Priest-Ferraro Fort Wayne, IN

GREAT STORY ON CLOONEY. I played a cameraman in The Ides of March. During the shoot, George was a lot of fun, cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. After we wrapped, he made a point of shaking hands with everybody. I could really relate to you referring to Clooney as being the same guy you see in the movies. Here’s to the coolest guy in Hollywood.

Seth Doherty Via the Internet

Snooki Attacks!

THANKS FOR “THE LONEly Days and Crazy Nights of America’s No. 1 Party Girl” [RS 1126]. Snooki has the spot-on timing of a natural-born comic. The big-hearted Princess of Poughkeepsie will soon outgrow her party-hearty persona and will find a better vehicle for her lively personality.

Susanna Swan, Cornish, NH


House” was wrong. Apparently, fat, drunk and stupid is the way to go through life.

Aaron Goldberg, Plainville, MA

AT FIRST I WAS LIKE, “WTF is Snooki doing on the cover?” But after reading Erik Hedegaard’s article, I discovered that there is more to the girl than booze and “smushing.” She’s got angles. I like that.

Rachel Moore, Granville, OH

WITH YOUR SNOOKI COVER, we now know that pigs do indeed fly.

Michael Lisi, Youngstown, OH


Finally, someone was able to photograph Snooki in a way that makes her look attractive.

Jim L. Windsor, CT

I JUST WANTED TO SAY HOW much I enjoyed Snooki’s cover. I didn’t think it was possible for her to look that good. It is perhaps the best that a Hobbit has looked since Frodo was bathed in the light of Galadriel.

David Lawrence Dawsonville, GA

WHAT IS A SNOOKI, AND WHY is it on the cover of RS?

‘Glee,’ Clubbed

HOLY ERIK HEDEGAARD! You’ve gone and done it again: another article I just couldn’t put down [“Glee Gone Wild,” RS 1102]. Totally compassionate, completely honest and all wrapped up in a perfect flow of exposition. Thanks for a great read. The “boy shorts” on the cover plus the “boy shorts” in the interview: priceless.
Rebecca Goodman
Via the Internet

RS 1, “GLEE” 0. HEDEGAARD’S interviews with the Glee cast were a victory for everyone who ever suffered the psychic vampirism of the high school thespian crowd. It is funny, if sad, that any of them thought that the same personae they cultivated in school would work in the setting of an RS interview.
Jared Hammad, Sacramento

MARK SELIGER’S PHOTOS OF the cast of Glee were truly inspired. But who really cares if Lea Michele pees in the shower? I wish Hedegaard had done a better job of entertaining me.
Laura Morgan, Dallas

IF HEDEGAARD IS GOING TO be a douche, he can’t be upset when the cast doesn’t want to talk to him in the end.
Mary Maxwell, via the Internet

HEDEGAARD’S PIECE ON THE cast of Glee was some of the most self-absorbed, adolescent twaddle I’ve ever read. His puerile, confrontational questions, snide asides and bored posturing suggest he is either too burned out to do his job, or he sabotaged the piece out of spite.
John Eiler, Sierra Madre, CA

HEDEGAARD DESERVES credit for making it through the treacherous terrain of his Glee interviews. The story framed his experiences compellingly and candidly. Not an easy task.

Tim Schultz, Castalia, OH

Making ‘Avatar’

“THE IMPOSSIBLE REALITY of James Cameron” [RS 1094/ 1095], by Erik Hedegaard, was amazing. Cameron is single-handedly carrying Hollywood into the 21st century. Between Avatar, “various far-flung business ventures” and getting revenge on high school bullies, Cameron is the most interesting man in the world!

Hulks Last Fight

FROM DYLAN TO OBAMA, your magazine has covered many iconic figures. But I never would have guessed that one of the most intimate, heartbreaking and painfully honest portraits I’d read in RS would be about Hulk Hogan [“Hulk at Twilight,” RS 1077]- Thanks for the great article.
Jon LaFollette Indianapolis

I AM IN TEARS AFTER FINishing Erik Hedegaard’s article on Hulk Hogan. While I was growing up, Hulk was so beloved to every kid on my block and gave us hope that good would ultimately triumph over evil. Reading the article, I could viscerally feel the tug of war he experiences daily between the pain in his body and his quest to regain joy in his life.
Lori Childs, Rockland, MA

HULK IS WORLD-FAMOUS and in the prime of his life. He has a hot young girlfriend, lives in a beach house, drives a truck that moves like a ‘Vette, projects a great attitude and sports biceps that could crack Hedegaard’s skull like a walnut. If this looks like a man “at twilight,” you’re living in the wrong universe.
D. Scott Wilson, Grants Pass, O

HOW PATHETIC CAN THIS man get? To say he “totally understands O.J.” is offensive to those of us who have been or know victims of violent crimes. Hulk Hogan complains about how battered his body is, but at least he can walk, unlike the young man hurt in his son’s car crash. It ain’t easy for him either, brother.
Barry Simon

Schlubby Segel

I LOVED THE FEATURE ON Jason Segel [“The Anxiety-Ridden Joy Ride of Jason Segel,” RS 1074]. I could relate on so many levels — this story made my day.
Steven Holsey

ONLY ERIK HEDEGAARD would ask Segel when was the last time he masturbated. Now that’s good journalism — not only classy, but definitely relevant to Segel’s film experience and to the piece.

Love for Leary

AS USUAL, ERIK HEDEGAARD makes art of an interview with his piece on Denis Leary [“The Upside of Anger,” RS 1035]. One note from somebody else who grew up there: Worcester is south of Boston like California is south of Georgia.
Jon Roberts, Kaysville, UT

DID IT HURT TO FINALLY INterview someone who’s interesting?
Josh Hampton, Glasgow, KY
Big Apple

The Sexpot
BRAVO TO ERIK HEDEGAARD FOR his penetrating analysis of Eva Longoria [RS 973]! I was particularly captivated by his wonderfully detailed description of her taking a morning pee. For a moment it almost seemed as if I was actually sitting right there on the edge of the tub beside her as she dabbed herself with several squares of Charmin. What a journey he takes us all on. Thank you, Erik, for finally setting the record straight! This is the kind of journalism that keeps me coming back month after month.

Rhonda Rousey
AppropriatorOfGoodCommentsAtRS • 2 days ago
Can’t tell if story real or RS trying to troll me – like with the terrorist cover and the UVA scandal. Is this Part 3 of the trilogy? Only time will tell. Read the entire first paragraph and tell me that she was a) completely OK with the male writer watching her asleep whilst naked or b) that the male writer was looking through a window when he shouldn’t have been.
1 • Reply•Share ›
Amanda De AppropriatorOfGoodCommentsAtRS • 7 hours ago
lol The writers is just that: a writer. He doesn’t have to be there to write a paragraph like that. She probably told him that A. she sleeps naked B. her foot twitches in her sleep C. she wakes up a minute before her alarm goes off. That’s all he needs to know to describe that whole scene. It’s what writers do.

Jonah Hill, from an Elle magazine story
The writer of a Rolling Stone cover story about Hill’s apocalyptic comedy This Is the End in June apparently did not feel the love. Hill’s reputation hit the Internet skids thanks to the article, which had the actor responding superseriously to supersilly questions. (When the interviewer posed a question about his bodily functions, for instance, Hill went off: “Being in a funny movie doesn’t make me have to answer dumb questions.”) “I read that interview and was mortified,” says Hill. “Not to make an excuse, but I had been going through some stuff that was hard on me. And I would say that the gentleman who did the interview was not a nice person. But I acted like not a nice person in return.”

Being nice is a sort of ethos for Hill. At Comedy Central’s James Franco roast this summer, “I remember sitting with James, Seth [Rogen], Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg afterward and thinking how crazy it was that we had all been so horrible to each other,” says Hill. “All of those guys are really honest, and we share the same outlook, of treating people nicely.” And yet, he adds, with a laugh, “There was something cathartic about that.”

‘Glee’ Rolling Stone Article: Stop Hatin’
In Rants on April 9, 2010 at 3:37 am
Rant: Glee-Hards

Erik Hedegaard wrote a piece on Glee for the April issue of Rolling Stone. In it, he asks some offside questions of the cast (“Do you pee in the shower?” etc.).
Photo by Mark Seliger
Not surprisingly, Glee-hards everywhere are accusing Hedegaard of being an asshole and a pervert.

I expected this reaction from them. Glee-hard, like Twi-hard, is just a euphemism for psycho fan, and psycho fans are incapable of being objective. That’s what makes them psycho.

What I didn’t expect, however, was for journalists and bloggers to jump on the psycho fan bandwagon. Even my best friend, an anti-Gleeist, told me she “didn’t like” the writer. “He’s an asshole who thinks he can act like a stupid jackass and ask stupid jackass questions just ’cause he’s a Rolling Stone writer,” she said.

But isn’t that the point? It’s Rolling Stone Magazine, not Martha Stewart living. They aren’t supposed to be polite, or politically correct, or sensitive, or nice.

They are supposed to be rock & roll. They are supposed to be bad ass mother fuckers. They are supposed to make celebrities look like the douche bags they are.

That’s why we buy their magazine.

Which brings me to poor old Erik Hedegaard, the Glee-writer villified by psycho fans and journalists alike.

Hedegaard is notorious for getting dirt on celebrities–he’s the one that wrote the Tara Reid “Fuck me after a cheeseburger” article. He’s not as asshole or pervert, however. It’s his job to write stories that sell magazines. If he didn’t push boundaries, he would be a writer for some obscure weekly in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere. Instead, he writes for Rolling Stone Magazine, a gig that most journalists would shit their pants for.

So stop hatin’, ya smug bitches

For someone who enjoys throwing around his A-list affiliations as much as he enjoys throwing around the word “Oscar-nominated,” Jonah Hill certainly doesn’t seem to enjoy being alongside his famous pals. Ahead of the June 12 release of the comedy This Is the End, Rolling Stone reporter Erik Hedegaard spoke to the cast for the magazine’s special weed issue, and Hill was quite a bit more, well, blunt than his beloved cohorts.

And by blunt, I mean completely insufferable. At least, that’s how Hedegaard portrayed it, thanks to some pretty damning quotes from the (ugh) Oscar-nominated actor. Admittedly, it’s easy to feel bad for someone clearly harboring some insecurities and inflated sense of fame, but, then again, I never really liked him in Superbad. Below, see the eight most insufferable quotes from Hill from his Rolling Stone interview, which began with Hedegaard jokingly calling him “Seth.”
“No, I’m Jonah,” Hill says, blankly. “That’s a great way to start.”

The reporter would have started with a simple “Hi,” but knew better after Don Lemon made the mistake.
We ask if he does pushups and stuff like that or what? He stiffens and says, “My workout routine is of little relevance.”

Said the man who made sure to talk to press at length about his weight loss.
“I don’t even smoke weed,” he says, in such a pre-emptive, aggressive way that we figure he has heard about our little e-joint, so we decide to keep it hidden.

Expecting a reporter to know you don’t smoke weed while hanging out with Seth Rogen is like expecting the world to think Seth Rogen doesn’t smoke weed while talking to a reporter.
“I’m not answering that dumb question! I’m not that kind of person! Being in a funny movie doesn’t make me have to answer dumb questions. It has nothing to do with who I am.”

Said Hill after Hedegaard asked about his farts. Let us note now that fellow Oscar nominee James Franco admits to farting on planes. And that Oscar winner and Hollywood royalty George Clooney told Rolling Stone in 2011 that he bonds with his A-list friends over flatulence. “Saying the word ‘fart’ makes me laugh,” he told the publication. “I have iFart on my phone.”
“I’ve done one of the biggest challenges you can do in Hollywood, which is transition from being a comedic actor to being a serious actor, and I’m really prideful of that,” he says. “I could have made a billion dollars doing every big comedy of the last 10 years and didn’t, in order to form a whole other life for myself. Now I have fulfillment doing both.”

Let us note now that the combined total grosses of the top comedies of the past 10 years equals only $995 million. And Hill starred as a bit part in only one of those top comedies: 2007’s Knocked Up.
For how long has he been single? “Don’t worry about it.”

Sorry, Jonah, we’ll always worry about someone who used to wear a neck beard.
“Yeah, there was probably an angry time for me. But I couldn’t be a less angry person. Judd [Apatow] maybe thinks of himself that way. But I haven’t worked for him in five years. I adore him. But I’m fucking 29 years old and not some angry kid.”

Said Hill about the director, who one called him “angry, nerdy.” And nothing says “I’m not an angry kid” than calling yourself “fucking 29 years old.”
Later, he’ll say, “In This Is the End, I’m overly nice in a really false way and really deep down have a lot of jealousy and nastiness and am really into my fame and success. In real life, I’m the polar opposite.”

Is he high? Oh wait.

I don’t have a Thanksgiving hook to introduce Erik Hedegaard’s profile of Charles Manson in Rolling Stone, apart from an expression of gratitude that Manson doesn’t have my cell number and call me at random times of the day and night, as he apparently does to Hedegaard. The reporter was able to get unprecedented one-on-one access to Manson, and to one of his few remaining followers (a much younger woman named Star who is a pretty fascinating character in her own right) for this late-in-life portrait of one of America’s most notorious criminals—a man who has come to embody the dark undercurrents of the peace-and-love era. Apart from the phone calls, Hedegaard spent time visiting Manson in prison. He captures the magnetic charisma of the man, which is as much a part of his personality as spastic craziness and evil manifest. The profile revisits the Manson murders and trial, but also looks at Manson’s present state: protesting his innocence and eating popcorn in the visiting room of the prison where he’ll spend the rest of his days.
Forty-four years after the Tate-LaBianca murders, Rolling Stone‘s Erik Hedegaard has waded into California’s Corcoran State Prison to spend some time with Charles Manson. The resulting piece is gripping, bizarre, and, yes, totally unsettling. Manson is 79, slowed and wizened — “bad hearing, bad lungs, and chipped-and-fractured, prison-dispensed bad dentures,” writes Hedegaard — but he hasn’t lost the ability to unnerve and repulse. The splashy news from the piece is that Manson has a 25-year-old acolyte named Star, who visits him constantly, tends to his needs, fights for his release, and appears to want to marry him. But the through line is Manson’s denial of the infamous “Helter Skelter” theory, the one propagated by prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi in his ensuing bestselling book of the same name: that the murders were an attempt to jump-start a race war “after which the blacks, who had won the war, would beg him to come be their leader, because they could not lead themselves.” According to Manson, “that doesn’t even make insane sense!” Of course, Manson never quite explains what does. With the caveat that you should definitely read the whole article, here are a few of the stranger moments on hand.
Your Friends and Neighbors

Manson is held in a “protective-housing” unit at Corcoran with roughly 15 other high-profile prisoners. They include: “Juan Corona, who murdered 25 people in 1971; Dana Ewell, who ordered the murder of his own family in 1992; Phillip Garrido, the rapist who kidnapped 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard and held her for 18 years; and Mikhail Markhasev, who was convicted of killing Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis. So far, they seem to all get along just fine.”
Manson vs. Bug

Manson was not present on location of the murders his followers committed, and that allows him a certain level of deniability he repeatedly twists whichever way he sees fit. Writes Hedegaard, “He reserves a goodly amount of venom for [the prosecuting attorney] Bugliosi. ‘He knows I’m too stupid to get involved in something of the magnitude of Helter Skelter. So how could he convince himself of that for all these years? He made the money, he won the case. He’s a winner! He got over! He’s a genius! He took 45 years of a man’s life for his greedy little grubby self. And he’s going to go to his deathbed with that forever on his conscience? Is there no honor in him at all?’” Then he’ll brutally dismiss the murder of Sharon Tate: “It’s a Hollywood movie star. How many people did she murder onscreen? Was she so pretty? She compromised her body for everything she did. And if she was such a beautiful thing, what was she doing in the bed of another man when that thing jumped off? What kind of shit is that?”
Something Like Love

Star tells Hedegaard, “I’ll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married … When that will be, we don’t know. But I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband. Charlie told me to tell you this. We haven’t told anybody about that.” Also: “My parents like Charlie. We were just talking and they said, ‘If Charlie gets out, you guys can come stay here. You could stay in the basement for a while, and you could maybe build your own little house down by the creek.” When Hedegaard asks Manson about it, “He snorts. ‘Oh, that,’ he says. “That’s a bunch of garbage. You know that, man. That’s trash. We’re just playing that for public consumption.’”
The Great Outdoors

At one point, Hedegaard goes out on a forest stroll with Star and another Manson acolyte named Gray Wolf, both of whom have carved X’s into their foreheads in the manner of Manson’s own body modifications (it was an X before it was a swastika). There, “they stood near a cliff and kept beckoning me to come closer, come closer, the view is much better here, and all I could hear in the back of my mind was Charlie saying to me, ‘I’ll take you. Put you in the grave. What’re you going to do about that, jitterbug?’”
Communication Breakdown

Manson is allowed to make as many phone calls as he wants (15 minutes max, all collect), and utilizes his rights often to ring up Hedegaard: “Here’s how he has begun some of his recent conversations: ‘Hello, hello. Are you ready? OK. There’s seven steps from the death chamber of holding to the death chamber of release.’ ‘I forget — was you mad at me or was I mad at you?’ ‘Would you come and swing upon a star? Carry moonbeams home in a jar?’ ‘Why don’t you go ahead and say what’s best for you, and then I’ll go along with it and meet you later over on the beach.’ ‘I’ve got something important I’d like to explain … ’ Once, when he was talking to me about the rightness of killing to get more air, he said, ‘Whoever gets killed, that’s the will of God. Without killing, we got no chance.’ He paused, then went on, ‘You might want to keep that out of your paper and say to yourself, How can that work for me?’ At the time, I didn’t think much of it. It took a while for what he was suggesting to sink in.”

review: Rolling Stone’s ‘Glee’ Article

Rolling Stone’s April 15th, 2010 issue featured a cover story entitled GLEE GONE WILD: Inside TV’s Hottest Show. Get ready, because you can bet this Diva has quite a bit to say about the subject.

Rolling Stone’s Glee Cover

The Cover Photo

I knew I was in for a rough time just from the cover. My first instinct was to ask, are they all supposed to be running/biking/skating away from something? If so, why are they not actually looking in the same direction? Also, whoever on this photo shoot yelled, “Look like there’s a monster chasing you!” completely ruined the shot, as Dianna and Lea are both very beautiful girls who are making some of the stupidest facial expressions I’ve ever seen, making them barely recognizable.

But of course, what makes me the most angry is what they did to my girl Lea Michele (who, if you haven’t caught on by now, plays Rachel Berry). First of all, it is extremely obviously that every other person on the shoot is dressed like their character (Quinn in a cheerleading outfit, Sue in her classic track suit, Finn in a varsity sweater holding a football), but never in a thousand years would Rachel Berry wear that skirt. For God’s sake, even when she’s trying to impress men, her reference for what is sexy is Grease, not naughty schoolgirls. She certainly wouldn’t leave the house in such a short skirt, because that awkward Jewish kid with the red ‘fro would never leave her side if she did.

But more importantly, isn’t Glee a good enough show with a talented and good-looking enough cast that you don’t need to have an up-the-skirt shot in order for it to grace the cover? I know Lea Michele is not actually sixteen, but her character is, and the cover is of their characters. I don’t want to see Rachel Berry’s 16-year-old tush. Also, if you look very closely at her leg that’s in the air, you can see a little line from the yellow shorts that she was wearing under those undies; clearly, that has been airbrushed out from her left leg so that she looks more naked. I have no problem with the fact that sex sells, I just think Rolling Stone really did not have a solid creative vision for this shoot. There should be a theme pulling them together – they should all be in character, or they should all not be, but there shouldn’t be crazed faces and asscheeks flashing and everybody on wheels. That’s not a theme; that’s a hot disaster.

The Centerfold Photo

I unfortunately cannot find a picture online of the centerfold photo, but it is infinitely better than the cover art. Everyone’s beautiful characters shine through: Finn is in his football uniform, looking fully uncomfortable as Kurt, dressed as a Boy Scout (the only part of the photo of which I disapprove, because again, there is only one person not dressed in character), puts his arms around him and smiles up at him with a lovesick look. They still put Lea Michele in an outfit that Rachel would never wear, with an inappropriately short skirt, but at least she’s singing into a microphone, while Mr. Schue’s wife holds him by the tie, Puck mimes punching someone, Quinn lifts her pom-poms and Ms. Pillsbury cleans Puck’s helmet. It has its flaws, but at least this photo manages to capture the magic of Glee: the incredibly neurotic, diverse, and loony characters and how they interact with each other.

Part I: Intro & Lea Michele

I paid $4.99 for this magazine because I thought I was going to be reading about the cast of Glee. Instead, I got to read about the author of the article, Erik Hedegaard, who is not only far less interesting than the Glee cast, but he’s also a complete asshole.

Hedegaard opens the article with his desire to have the Glee cast and creator “entertain” him during their interview. He discusses this as if it were natural to assume that someone who performs for a living should be in performance mode 100% of the time, and entertain others on command. Instead of talking to or about them as if they were people, he treats them like trained monkeys at a circus. Not only is this dehumanizing and disturbing, but it’s not even good journalism! Aren’t interviews so that we can learn more about our favorite performers as human beings – you know, find out about what they do and who they are when they’re not belting out “Don’t Rain on My Parade”? Not so that we can watch a cold-hearted so-called journalist say, “We like [Lea Michele] so much that we can’t wait to ask her to entertain us” … “‘Entertain us!’ we shout… ‘You have to entertain us!’” I understand that Hedegaard is trying to get a rise out of these characters to show the “wild side” of Glee that is so desperate to find, but he’s not only being disrespectful, he’s trying to make these people fit into what he wants them to be instead of just talking about who they really are. Maybe these actors are not wild-child party animals who are dancing on tables with Lindsay Lohan all night – but you should write about who they are, not who you’d like them to be because that would sell more magazines.

“We find ourselves drifting to thoughts of goody-goody Michele in high school, and what a guy in high school might say to her to loosen her up. ‘So… do you pee in the shower?’” This is perfectly teeming with immaturity and sexism, in which a teenage boy thinks that he can “loosen up” the virginal goody-goody with his obviously HILARIOUS sense of humor, which probably consists of an offensive or just plain stupid question regarding bodily fluids. If I were looking for a douchebag teenage boy’s perspective on the world, I’d go to a rush party for a frat instead of buying Rolling Stone.

Hedegaard did get one thing right: “While each of the Glee kids gets lots of numbers inside the halls of McKinley High… when Michele takes the stage, she’s about all you really see.” Well, that is for damn sure. The girl certainly knows how to steal the spotlight.

Part II: Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith has a bit of a dark past, so Hedegaard spends his time wringing all the juicy details out of Cory, who willingly gives it. But Hedegaard’s conclusion to his interview with Cory is not only offensive, but completely illogical. It actually scares me that this man may believe his own bullshit.

Hedegaard points out that Cory’s nickname amongst the cast and crew is Frankenteen, “because I’m huge and awkward… and I’m not a teen, but I’m playing a teen. I’m like the assembled teen.” At the end of the interview, Cory tells Hedegaard, “I’ve always been a chameleon, but I stopped and now I can just be myself.” Hedegaard calls this “a great big load of complete and utter Glee-worthy nonsense. He’s a Frankenteen, a soul assembled, and always will be.”

I have several problems with Hedegaard’s response. First of all, the phrase “Glee-worthy nonsense” offends me. Hedegaard’s disdain for the show is so thinly veiled, it makes me wonder who put a gun to his head and forced him to write this cover story. I understand that you don’t always get to choose what you write about, but for God’s sake, you’re getting paid to interview some sweet, talented kids on a popular show. There’s no need to be so damn condescending, like Glee is far beneath your superior journalistic integrity. These kids are more talented than you could ever dream of being, Hedegaard. Back the fuck off. (Also, don’t get pissed at these kids for not entertaining you when you clearly don’t even like their show to begin with.)

Second of all, who the fuck are you to say whether or not Cory is being his true self? You’ve had coffee with him for a maximum of 30 minutes. Don’t consider yourself such an expert on who he is. You’re not a psychotherapist, you’re a mediocre writer for a music magazine that hasn’t really been about music since before the Clinton administration.

And finally, how the hell is Hedegaard making the leap from Frankenteen to Cory never being his true self? Hedegaard seems to think this nickname means “a soul assembled,” ignore the fact that Cory quite clearly explained that it means he’s a big, doofy 20-something playing a teenager. Hedegaard acts as if this Frankenteen status is the very core of the meaning of Cory’s life. But it’s a fucking nickname, and it doesn’t even have the deep meaning that Hedegaard is trying to force upon. Here he goes again, trying to force these people to fit into what he thinks they should be instead of letting them be who they actually are.

Part III: Dianna Agron, Jane Lynch & Conclusion

Hedegaard treats Dianna Agron, the actress plays Quinn, the same way he treated Lea Michele, describing Dianna as “pretty uptight” and “an A-plus prissy pie.” The writer is clearly bored by Dianna’s sweet demeanor and refusal to drink more than one Bloody Mary during the span of the interview. Because obviously all interesting people should get drunk during an interview about their career for the cover of a major magazine.

Hedegaard asks Jane Lynch, a true comedic genius, to entertain him, and thankfully, she doesn’t fall for his bullshit. “I am not your monkey,” she tells him, and adds that she has a bit of a temper. Hedegaard asks for an example of this, and she spits out, “Why do you ask such stupid question?… Do you get off on that? Do you go home and think about it and jack off?” Hedegaard writes that he laughs, but was truly hurt by her words. “That was a total misreading of our intentions,” he writes. “That was not nice.”

Who gave this child a pen and told him he could be a journalist? He accuses Jane of being “not nice” when he has gone out of his way to basically harass the cast and crew of Glee, and claims innocence and good intentions when he gets called out on his bullshit. Smooth, Hedegaard.

Finally, Hedegaard visits the Glee set, where the entire cast and crew hears about his requests for “entertainment” and insistence upon asking them if they pee in the shower. One exec congratulations him on asking some “pretty out there” questions, but Hedegaard points out to us, “That’s an adult perspective.” Once again, he paints the Glee kids as too uninteresting to fields his demands for entertainment, and chalks it up to immaturity that the rest of us are disgusted by his own behavior.

Hedegaard embraces his inner child and ends the article by bitching about how he gets ignored by the cast. Lea Michele walks by him with no greeting, Dianna Agron looks right through him, and he is not invited to join the chatting, giggling circles of Glee cast and crew members. (Shocking, considered he treated them all like zoo animals during their interviews.) The final paragraph is full of self-pity and metaphors comparing Hedegaard’s current rejection by the cast to the Glee characters’ roles in their mean high school world. He pretends to be the victim of a clique that will not accept him. A perfect analogy, except Hedegaard isn’t the one being thrown into a dumpster by the football team; in fact, if anything, Hedegaard is the one doing the throwing.

So after pages and pages of making a jackass out of himself, Hedegaard concludes, of course, by talking about himself instead of the show, the characters, or the actors. Now it makes sense why no one was capable of entertaining Hedegaard – he is interested in nothing other than himself. Unfortunately for this reader, he is far less interesting than the people he was supposed to have interviewed, and that resulted in a truly disastrous article.
John F.
May 2, 2013

Just came across this article while browsing some TV reviews on the net. I read the Rolling Stone piece a couple of years ago, and I must say, even though I dislike “Glee”, that I agree with this review 100%. Hedegaard is a complete ass and a disgrace to his profession. I found myself annoyed by his approach to the actors, particularly his sexist advances on the girls (Lea Michele and Ms. Agron) who at the time (3 years ago) were clearly not prepared for this kind of sleazy “journalism”. When the “pee in the shower” question comes up in Michele’s interview, I was officially revolted – her defensive response clearly shows she felt intimidated and harassed by this man, but had no other option but to continue. Kudos for Jane Lynch for not allowing Hedegaard to fuck her around. This was a disgusting low point for Rolling Stone.

Anthony DiMaria’s Response to Rolling Stone story on Manson
Below is a letter that Jay Sebring’s nephew, Anthony DiMaria, sent in response to Rolling Stone story on Manson. It is republished with permission from Restless Souls.

On June 15, 1970 Rolling Stone featured Charles Manson on it’s magazine cover. Sadly, the narrative following the massacres on the nights of August 8th and 10th, 1969 holds firm approaching four and a half decades- Manson and his clan are sensationalized, glamorized as anti establishment pop celebrity icons, while their eleven victims remain trivialized and vilified to fit the sexy packaged formula of good old true crime mass murder. The Tate – LaBianca killings have become a massive source of interest and profit for countless news/tabloid organizations, books, TV/film companies, TIME, LIFE and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi.

It is painful and disturbing to see that the Rolling Stone piece by Erik Hedegaard (December 5, 2013) is yet another example of how horribly the victims are disregarded, even slandered ( “Sharon Tate wasn’t a movie star. Even now, nobody’s ever really heard of her, even though she was supposedly killed by Charlie Manson, the most famous guy in the world. And that’s the only reason anybody knows who she is. And still nobody knows who the fuck she is”) while Mr. Hedegaard presents Charles Manson in a reverent, mystical light, “I will never know or understand why when Manson rested his hand on my arm it felt so good, not passively good, but actively… it’s a presence.”

Apparently, Mr. Manson has the same impact on Mr. Hedegaard as he had on Vincent Bugliosi’s wrist watch when it stopped suddenly upon Manson’s telepathic powers as depicted in Bugliosi’s 1974 television version of “Helter Skelter”.

It is curious that Mr. Hedegaard would omit from Manson’s interview what the interviewee said he would do to a random baby (“he says something truly awful about what you could do to that baby, worse than you could imagine”), yet the author printed Manson’s abhorrent slander of one of his victim’s ( Sharon Tate’s) character, ” She compromised her body for everything she did. And if she was such a beautiful thing, what was she doing in the bed of another man [Jay Sebring] when that thing jumped off? What kind of shit is that?”

So the narrative continues and everyone wins. Charles Manson is back in the spotlight as mystical boogeyman, fascinated consumers satiate their appetites- while an author and his employers line their pockets with cash.

But for eleven people who lie in their graves, the blood letting continues… this time at the hands of Erik Hedegaard and Rolling Stone magazine.
tarship said…

It certainly must be some kind of awful life sentence to serve: being the relative of a victim in a sensationalistic crime which has become fodder for so much pop culture type entertainment.

That said, it becomes part of our history, and as such becomes fair game for any number of depictions be it serious or comic or even parody.

So yes, in the midst of all the things about this history that can be so easily mocked and laughed at and made fun of, it’s good to always remember that at least 11 people lost their lives.
Anonymous said…

Minimizing the victims accomplishments and existence was way over the top and wrong of the Author.

But many people know the name Charlie Manson, unfortunately because of his actions, not many know the name Sharon Tate or Rosemary LaBianca, I think this was the idea the Author so poorly and inconsiderately tried to express.
Rolling Stones did a article, suited to THEIR customers base about a crime. They didn’t elect Charlie “man of the year”
It sucks to be a victim
It sucks to be a victims relative
But It would really suck to be kept in the dark about real life events that happen and affect society.

December 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

9 Bizarre Things Terrence Howard Told Rolling Stone
By Dee Lockett
Well this is strange. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Terrence Howard is not unlike his Empire character Lucious Lyon: Both have troubled pasts, exhibit extreme behavior, and make for a great interview. That last one is especially apparent from a new Rolling Stone profile that treats the actor like a ticking time bomb (“You never know what you’re going to get with a guy like Howard,” Erik Hedegaard writes) whom no one can believe still has a job in Hollywood, let alone a starring role on a runaway Fox hit. The piece analyzes Howard’s two-decade career, from his long-reported volatile behavior — both on- and off-screen — to his secret passion for studying logic and mathematics. It also details his troubling recent marriage to Mira Pak. The whole thing’s a doozy to digest, so we’ve broken it down into the nine most bizarre things we learned about Howard.

1. Lucious Lyon may be Howard’s last role.

“I’m just trying to pay my bills,” he says. “I’m looking forward to this show running its course. If I make a decent amount of money from it, I’ll retire.”

2. He’s patented his own theory of logic called Terryology.

“This is the last century that our children will ever have been taught that one times one is one,” he says. “They won’t have to grow up in ignorance. Twenty years from now, they’ll know that one times one equals two. We’re about to show a new truth. The true universal math. And the proof is in these pieces. I have created the pieces that make up the motion of the universe. We work on them about 17 hours a day. She cuts and puts on the crystals. I do the main work of soldering them together. They tell the truth from within.”

3. Howard hasn’t seen any money from Empire, yet.

“You know, all my checks from Fox are being held for garnishment, because of my ex. I’m broke as can be. But my wife, she did well for herself, so she’s covered us. This place, she’s renting it. I’m suffering. There’s nothing worse than being a broke movie star.”

4. He admits to abusing his first wife, Lori McCommas.
“She was talking to me real strong, and I lost my mind and slapped her in front of the kids,” he says. “Her lawyer said it was a closed fist, but even slapping her was wrong.”
5. The Best Man, he believes, permanently tarnished his reputation.

“Well,” he says, “I was difficult, but only because I would not conform. During The Best Man, they kept saying about this one line, ‘This is a joke, so say it as a joke.’ I was like, ‘Y’all do what you want, but I’m not going to mutilate this moment.’ And I said the line like I wanted, pausing before saying, ‘Y’all know there ain’t nothin’ better than pussy, except some new pussy.’ That seals my character, who he was. But after that, they spent the next year talking about how difficult I was. Then the movie comes out, I get all these accolades, and now the producers are like, ‘Oh, you made the movie.’ But now they’ve set it up that Terrence is difficult, and so that has followed me.”

6. He’s discovered why bubbles are round, but won’t elaborate.

Since I was a child of three or four,” he says, “I was always wondering, you know, why does a bubble take the shape of a ball? Why not a triangle or a square? I figured it out. If Pythagoras was here to see it, he would lose his mind. Einstein, too! Tesla!”

7. He maintained an unusual marriage with ex-wife Mira Pak. Pak elaborates:

“We don’t have a normal life. In our two years together, I’ve only gone to restaurants with him two or three times. We’ve never been to the supermarket together. We’ve never been to the movies. I’ve never gotten a gift from him. Never, never … I help him, cutting, drawing and putting things together. I’ve developed a slight form of agoraphobia lately. I never go out. I have no friends here. I feel like Rapunzel, you know, stuck in a penthouse with my baby.”
8. He claims he lost his role in Iron Man 2 because Robert Downey Jr. didn’t help him.
“I called Robby and was like, ‘Look, man?.?.?.’ Leaving messages with his assistants, called him at least 17 times that day and 21 the next and finally left a message saying, ‘Look, man, I need the help that I gave you.’ Never heard from him. And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get? He got the whole franchise, so I’ve actually given him $100 million, which ends up being a $100 million loss for me from me trying to look after somebody, but, you know, to this day I would do the same thing. It’s just my nature.”

9. Both he and Pak kept a recording of his second wife, Michelle Ghent, to use for blackmail in court.
It goes on for almost 13 endless, weird, brain-frying minutes, with Howard keeping his cool throughout, both on the recording and in the present moment. What he wants to demonstrate is that Ghent was the pit bull in their relationship, him the passive pussycat, no matter what she might say in legal documents or court. “I mean, does that sound like somebody afraid of me?” And it’s true: Ghent’s rage and bile are so ocean-deep you could drown in them.

Open letter to Erik Hedegaard, author of Rolling Stone cover article “Glee Goes Wild”
Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 01:59PM

Hi, Erik!

I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment to my post re your now infamous article in the April 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (and I know you’re going to read this letter because Google Alerts will alert you to this post, and, well, you’re a bit of a fame monster like me and like to know 1. that people read your stuff, and 2. what they’re saying about your stuff).

[tweetmeme source=”JanetTrumble” only_single=false]I totally get what you said about people thinking you were trying to be “clever” or “meta” with your line of questioning (although I’m not exactly sure what “meta” means in this context, but that’s my failing, not yours). Anyway, I got to thinking how frustrating it is when you pour yourself into an article and people don’t get it, or totally miss the point, or scan the article (or book) and then stuff the contents into their already preconceived box of prejudices. Because I’ve been there.

A few years ago I wrote an article titled “A Teacher’s Tale,” which the Houston Chronicle published on the front page of their Diversions section under the much sexier title “There Comes a Time When Enough’s Enough: Fed Up with Teaching.” Ahem.

Anyway, I love teaching and I love kids, but I’m not too crazy about all the other junk that comes with the job. At the time, I was newly widowed with two kids (5 and 7) and I was getting up at 3:30 in the morning to grade papers and plan just to try and please an increasingly-demanding system and nearly-impossible-to-please group of parents. I wrote the article in frustration as I prepared to walk away from the profession I loved. The article generated a flurry of letters to the editor, most of which left me scratching my head and wondering if they even read the article. I was called a number of rather unflattering names and told I obviously hated kids. One reader went so far as to say she was glad I didn’t teach her children. (Yeah, me too.) A few applauded me for telling it how it is. It took me two and a half years to get over the trauma of that one school year and the fallout from that one article.

Another article I wrote for the Chronicle questioned the benefits of increasing the speed limit from 55 mph to 70 on the Interstates leading into Houston. Kind of a cost/benefit analysis. I said something like the time it took to order a non-fat double venti latte with a shot of caramel in a double cup and a slice of zucchini bread was roughly equivalent to the amount of time saved driving from the outer suburbs where I live into Houston at the increased speed. Someone called me a latte-drinking idiot, or something like that, which wasn’t very nice, and totally missed the point. (Sir, did you even read the article?)

I can’t even post on my Facebook page without someone twisting my words or my intentions. When a friend posted on my wall and asked about GLBTQ lit for her library, I told her I had purchased some and would send her a list. I was accused of trying to teach “alternative lifestyles” to our students. Really? Gay characters = indoctrination?

This has all got me thinking about the lines to the hit Dixie Chicks song “Not Ready to Make Nice”:

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kinda like it.

So I guess my point is, if we write, we’re gonna piss someone off. I can live with that. And if you want to call me a latte-drinking, Dixie-Chick-loving idiot, well, that’s okay too. Writing is not for the thin-skinned or the feint of heart.So bring it. You won’t hurt my feelings (too much).

Thanks again for the comment, Erik. It’s nice to get emails, but it’s better to get comments so, you know, others know someone’s reading your stuff too!
Rolling Stone contributing editor Erik Hedegaard (Glee Gone Wild) should write a YA novel. Seriously!
Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 09:21AM

I am wild about Erik Hedegaard’s cover article in the April 15, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. I don’t always pay attention to who writes the articles I read, but this time . . .

Hedegaard takes us along on his interviews with Glee cast members Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester), and Chris Colfer (Kurt) as he pleas with them to entertain him. Some do, some don’t. Michele turns her tongue into a bathtub (“baffling”). Monteith bangs out a drum solo on overturned glasses (“disappointing, but we let it go”). Agron roars like a tiger (“It’s all very lame. We feel kind of snookered”). Lynch dismisses his request in true Sue Sylvester style: “I am not your monkey.”

He prods them with sophomoric questions intended, he insists, to “loosen them up”: Do you pee in the shower? Have you ever had a one-night stand? How often do you change your underwear? What do you wear to bed? And then he gets miffed when they refuse to play along. And that is the BEST part of the interview. Erik whines and complains his way through the article. When Monteith insists he’s just being himself now, Erik calls his response “a great big load of complete and utter Glee-worthy nonsense.” He calls Agron “an A-plus prissy pie.” When Lynch asks why he’s asking “such stupid questions.” “Do you get off on that?” Hedegaard is “stung,” calling her response a “total misreading of our intentions.” Right.

Later, on the set, the cast members, miffed at his unwelcomed line of questioning, ignore him. “We are feeling incredibly awkward and uncomfortable,” Hedegaard says, much like the high-schoolers the Glee members portray. “It really sucks.” In the end, Hedegaard regrets his line of questioning. “Right now, all we really want is to be liked.”

I did a little digging. Apparently, this line of questioning is vintage Hedegaard. The Glee kids aren’t the only ones to walk away from a Hedegaard interview with their proverbial feathers ruffled. He’s kinda rude and childish. But oh what fun! Why isn’t this man writing YA?

In his blog It Takes All Kinds, Hedegaard reflects on past interviews for Rolling Stone. Some subjects loved their pieces. Others, not so much (insert giggle here).

rolling stone’s bizarre portrait of glee
Posted on April 6, 2010 | 1 Comment

So, Glee is on the cover of Rolling Stone this month, and there’s all sorts of feedback on the Mark Seliger photo, ranging from disappointment in the flash of panties to debate over the inclusion or exclusion of various actors. None of that bothers me much. Cover selection is a complicated equation, designed more to pique random grocery shoppers’ interest than please devoted fans of either the magazine or whatever star is featured. Not to mention that objectifying Lolita-type figures is pretty standard for RS.

All that said, I was hugely disappointed by the story (which unfortunately isn’t online at the moment). First, it’s the kind of celeb profile that’s far too prevalent — a first-person diary of the reporter’s experience interviewing the subjects. (In this case, writer Erik Hedegaard uses the royal “we” instead of “I,” even though it’s clear the entire staff of Rolling Stone isn’t hanging out at Guitar Center with Cory Monteith.) Occasionally that proves illuminating, as when Britney Spears dodged Allure‘s reporter multiple times in 2007. But more often, I think it’s boring and self-indulgent. Indeed, Hedegaard seems far more interested in his own subversive interview tactics (including demanding each castmember “entertain” him) than actually sharing any genuine insight into the actors or the runaway hit show. And his conversations with ingénues Lea Michele and Dianna Agron are creep city. The former dares to clam up when he asks if she pees in the shower or wears thongs; the latter is branded “an A-plus prissy pie” because she wears a vintage ’50s dress and has never had a one-night-stand. Finally, there’s the patronizing chat with Chris Colfer, who the reporter admits he originally had no intention of interviewing — odd because Kurt is in many ways the emotional lynchpin of Glee. (And the 19-year-old actor is the closest thing the cast has to a real-life 2010 teen.)

Anyway, I get what Hedegaard was going for — a meta commentary on bullying, or stereotyping, or any other issue that Glee plumbs so well every week. But I don’t think this strange social experiment works, and the creepiness — magnified at the end when Hedegaard takes what seems like standard reporter/celebrity interaction on set as a snub — is a total distraction. I’m not saying that this profile should have pandered to the “Gleeks.” Or that magazine stories shouldn’t make you uncomfortable, or try to make a larger point about society. But this one reveals far more about the reporter than any of his subjects. And that’s not a journalist’s job.

Has anyone else read the story? I’m curious to hear other reactions …

Alex | April 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Reply

I read it. And I completely I agree. Even though, I am a huge fan of the show, I found the article very gratuitous towards the author. He was asking questions that were making them uncomfortable. If he was really interested in the actors and their stories, then I think he would have redirected questions in order for the actors to open up more about themselves.

I liked it though, because I thought this young cast, who aren’t completely used to this ridiculous amount of press and fame they’re getting, handled it as best they knew how. I was proud of them.


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In a new Rolling Stone profile titled “The Vampire of the Hollywood Hills” (because what else), a now middle-aged Marilyn Manson, now 45, updates us on the life and times of Marilyn Manson, in the dark, batshit and creepy way only he can.

The very choice language in this rich, rich profile written by Erik Hedegaard (perfect…) reads like pages from American Gothic Tales. It’s just as dark and odd as Manson himself. In describing Manson’s girlfriend, photographer Lindsay Usich, for instance, Hedegaard writes that she’s as “slender as a witch’s broom” with “the hair of a raven.” Nevermore!

According to Hedegaard, too, Manson “rarely utters unnecessary obscenities and often affects a genteel Southern accent. He’s also got a Devon Rex cat named Lily White that has “a delicate smear of Usich’s red lipstick on its head” at the moment.

Here are some key passages that prove this interview may well have taken place in a set of coffins.

On having sex on an old beaver rug:

He moves about with easy, spectral grace, fingers fluttering birdlike as he points to what is an old abortionist’s chair that he once covered with a beaver rug given to him by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. “I called it Beaver Mountain,” he says, “and it’s where I had sex with certain individuals that may or may not have resulted in my divorce.” Briefly, he thinks about this and you can see further commentary formulating itself in his brain. Wait for it. Wait for it. Here it comes. “Don’t fear the beaver,” he says.

On being the chaos:

“I’m chaos, I’ve always been chaos, my point on Earth is chaos. I’m the third act of every movie you’ve ever seen. I’m the part where it rains and the part where the person you don’t want to die dies. I’m here just to fuck shit up.”

On his matching tattoo with Johnny Depp:

“It’s kind of a secret. People say to us, ‘Why did you get that?’ And we say, ‘No reason.’?” And today he says, “Johnny’s one of the only people I can talk to. I can’t explain it other than we don’t ever have to say anything, but we can’t really say it to anyone else, either.”

On ditching absinthe for vodka because:

“it makes you poor and crazy, and I didn’t want to end up poor and crazy,” and there’ll be no more whiskey, either, mainly because “that’s how I got a lot of scars on my chest. It makes me very rascally. And ornery.”

On his friendship with the aforementioned Depp:

“We like to consider ourselves 12th-graders, the guys with more experience than the ninth-graders, the ones that the girls want to fuck. I mean, time and age are really irrelevant to me. Johnny is the same way. Sometimes, I think I’m trapped in the age that I started this. I’m trapped at 23.”

On avoiding intimacy:

“I’m all forms of crazy, which I think is one of my most charming qualities. It’s not diagnosable, because it involves co-morbidity, which is when you have multiple disorders, so they can’t figure out what it is… I don’t really like being intimate with people. I think maybe twice in my life have I taken a shower with a girl, and that was in the dark. I’m just really shy. I also have a great fear of bathtubs, maybe because my mother used to bathe me as a child and I have fractured memories of just not enjoying it.”

On being a sickly kid and later having ear lobe surgery:

“As a kid, I was in the hospital a lot. I was anemic and had pneumonia about six times.” He was told he suffered from strange allergies, to things like eggs and fabric softener. He also had oddly long earlobes. He didn’t really mind them, but his mother did, and one of the first things he did after becoming a rock star with money was to get them snipped by a plastic surgeon: “People never believe me that I did that, but, see, I wanted to keep them. But that was my mother being the way that she was. It was her suggestion.”

On using a blacklight:

“I have a blacklight flashlight at home, which will show if sperm is on anything, and Lindsay has used it on my underwear to see if I’d done something naughty when I was out. I said, ‘Fooled you. I might have changed my underwear. How do you know that I didn’t?’ She goes, ‘Because you don’t change your underwear.’ I said, ‘That is true. Good answer. Good answer.’?” Titti is tittering away. And Manson is ordering more double vodkas.

And fittingly, the profile ends with Manson talking crotches:

Usich would come down from the bedroom to say goodbye, but she’s not dressed for it. “I’m in my pajamas,” she hollers from behind the closed door.

“Are they crotchless?” asks the 14-year-old who lives inside the 45-year-old. Then he says, “Anything can be crotchless if you carry a knife. And anyway, we just want to confirm the five times.”

Usich pauses. “Uh, yeah,” she says. “It’s been much more than five, but yes.”

Manson isn’t done with her. “So,” he says, “I imagine you’re probably just nursing your lady parts with a bag of ice right now?”

Marilyn Manson, ladies and ladyparts.

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“It Ain’t Easy, Brother.”
by Ned Lannamann • Apr 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm
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The newest issue of Rolling Stone contains a remarkable article about the downfall of Terry Bollea, better known as pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. “Hulk at Twilight,” by Erik Hedegaard, doesn’t pull any punches as it examines the 55-year-old Hogan at this stage in his life:

“My tailbone is bent from landing on my ass, 400 times a year, twice on Saturdays, twice on Sundays. My back’s got all kinds of problems. I’ve got arthritis and scoliosis. I’m six-four. I used to be six-seven… It ain’t easy, brother.”

After the end of his family’s TV reality show, Hogan Knows Best, the family kind of fell apart. Longtime wife Linda dumped Hulk for the pool boy and demanded a $4.75 million settlement. Hogan is pretty bitter about the whole thing:

“I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody’s throat,” he says. “You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can’t go to anymore, you’re driving through downtown Clearwater and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife, and going to the Four Seasons, where you’re paying for the toilet paper he wipes his ass with. I mean, I totally understand O.J. I get it.”


What’s more, Hogan’s son Nick was sent to jail for 166 days last year on a felony reckless driving charge that resulted in Nick’s friend crippled with brain damage, which doesn’t seem to have fazed the Hulk at all.

At one point, while Hulk is driving to the airport in the gigantic Viper-powered pickup truck, Brooke sees some friends in a car ahead and urges her father to pull alongside them.

“Tito!” Brooke shouts out the window. “T! What’s up? Where you goin’?”

Suddenly, Terry or Hulk or whoever he is does the strangest thing. It’s like he still has that old, arrogant vanity license plate attached to the car, the one that reads COEHSP (capable of eluding high-speed pursuit). He floors it, the Viper engine thundering and shaking and blowing forward down the highway at some kind of insane speed.

Brooke shrieks, “Dad!”

But then she starts laughing, and Hulk backs off the gas, laughing too. It really is a surreal moment, though. Had not his son, doing exactly this sort of thing, gotten into a car wreck that left another young man permanently damaged? Has common sense escaped him totally? Why would he do this?

I’d like to link to the article, but it’s not available online. Anyway, I’m not in the habit of recommending Rolling Stone to anyone, but Hedegaard’s piece is a bizarre and fascinating read, as moving as The Wrestler, but true. I remember—if not exactly fondly, then vividly—watching Wrestlemania 3 at a friend’s house, back at the age when I still wasn’t 100% sure if the whole pro-wrestling thing was fake. Yeah, it’s best to remember Hulk from those days—like here, in the legendary “dookie” scene from the 1989 movie No Holds Barred, where after righteously stomping some ass, he makes a limo driver literally shit his pants.

Bareback Jack (Nicholson) Sets Me Straight on Sex
September 26, 2006Liam 5 Comments

Jack goes on the record about sex, sex and sex in in this month’s Rolling Stone interview:

Interviewer Erik Hedegaard: ”[W]hen the AIDS crisis started, he [Nicholson] tried wearing condoms, but they prevented him from feeling the “full catasrophe” of the sex act, so he went to a doctor, who told him not to worry about getting AIDS, so he no longer wears condoms.”

The reporter fails to add, “And is just faaaan-tastic.” The journalist lets us know he feels the need to parse Nicholson, as though Nicholson couldn’t be saying what he’s saying.

But he’s saying it:

Nicholson: “I went to my doctor and got a very specific scientific analysis, which boiled down to, unless you’re a shooter or something else, you’re as likely to have this problem as to have a safe fall on your head. I mean, look at it logically. If you understand numbers at all, just by geometrical progression, if it were all true, everybody’s dead by now.”

The nervous, frightened reporter states: “He continues like this, leaving me frantically trying to parse his words.”

Why not just report what he said?

I mean, so what? So he has some crazy ideas. He’s not the only one. Try this:

From the study called “Heterosexual Transmission of HIV in Northern California: Results from a Ten-Year Study.” (Padian, et al. American Journal of Epidemiology. August, 1997.)

“We followed up 175 HIV-discordant couples [one partner tests positive, one negative] over time, for a total of approximately 282 couple-years of follow up… No transmission [of HIV] occurred among the 25% of couples who did not use their condoms consistently, nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up…”

“We observed no seroconversions after entry into the study [nobody became HIV positive]…This evidence argues for low infectivity in the absence of either needle sharing and/or other cofactors.”

And how do we measure transmission? With HIV tests. Let’s look at Abbot Laboratories 2006 HIV Test Update to see what we can learn:

“At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

Wow, No standards! Crazy, huh! (I wonder how Eric Hedegaard would parse that?)

I knew there was a reason I liked Jack Nicholson. What is he, the last honest man on Earth (or just in the US)?

Now, imagine somebody else saying the exact, same thing….let’s say, oh, a Wesley Snipes…or Bill Cosby…or Magic Johnson…

…Or Thabo Mbeki? (President of South Africa?)

Yeah, that’s the kind of racism I’m talking about, mes amis.

More on the ultra-taboo subject Here (pt 1) | Here (pt 2) and Here (pt 3)

ps. You could read the rest of the interview online…but Rolling Stone decided to clip this from their web version – I mean, we wouldn’t want this kind of thing to get loose on the internet!
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Charles Manson Today: The Final Confessions of a Psychopath” by Erik Hedegaard, Rolling Stone

Let’s start this list off with a lie – this Manson profile is actually from the December 2013 issue of Rolling Stone. But it’s so engaging and creepy and captivating that I decided to include it anyway. Like just about everyone I know, I’m casually obsessed with Manson, and this article does a great job briefly sketching out the well-documented elements of the Tate-LaBianca murders before moving into a profile of present-day Charlie. There’s plenty of Manson’s distinguished brand of eccentric insanity – he claims The Beach Boys stole the song “In My Room” from him, which he had originally written as “In My Cell” – but it also goes deeper than that, giving us a glimpse of the strange, sad man beneath all of the insane bravado.

Choice Excerpt: “’Look, here’s how that works,’ he says. ‘You take a baby and’ – here he says something truly awful about what you could do to that baby, worse beyond anything you could imagine – ‘and it dies,’ and here he says something equally wretched…And it’s at moments like these that you realize prison is the only place for him, and hope to hell he never puts his hand on your skin again.”


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