This modestly barfworthy clip is a suitable object lesson in the pitfalls of celebrity. It probably won’t convince the hardcore among my dipshit drinking buddies from the Manayunk bougie fuckhead scene that, say, my apparently having once been the romantic interest of a newly commissioned captain in the Army Medical Corps was not a compelling reason to join the cast of Army Wives, what with a civvy whose wife is in the Army not being an army wife and that kind of thing, but this is only because Manayunk turned these guys into idiots, insofar as abject idiocy didn’t come naturally to them. Given all the other problems inherent in being a military spouse, such as having one’s wife deployed to Iraq because she’s in the goddamn Army, the last thing I needed at a time when I was trying to discern the ethics of dating this woman was a bunch of idiots trying to turn one of the most levelheaded things I’ve ever thought about doing into a fucking paparazzi spectacle. I don’t blame them for my decision not to ask this woman out because, as I might as well mention again in the interest of repetition, she was in the goddamn Army, and that attempt at adult discernment on my part was far from the only opportunity they seized to coalesce into a childish mob and screw the pooch.
Dagmar Midcap was never in the goddamn Canadian Forces. In that clip, she had such an ingrained, unaffected-sounding Southern accent after a few months in Atlanta that she, a Canadian, couldn’t even do a decent Canadian accent. In fairness, she’s from Vancouver, where they don’t all talk like that, you know, and she was being asked to do the funny lumberjack accent on command as part of a dog and pony show for the benefit of an American disk jockey douchebag.
This is the first problem with her interviewer, Southside Steve. Other than a face-saving comment towards the end to the effect that Dagmar’s real boyfriend must be a catch because he’s a local from Atlanta, the only halfway appropriate comments that he made the whole time amounted to an ugly American routine. This is a guy who can’t restrain himself around an Anglo Canadian with a very un-BC drawl. I assumed that the Canucks got sick of that shit years ago, but maybe not. Come to think of it, it must be a great way to sandbag other lines of questioning, this hey-I’m-actually-a-foreigner trump card. A Canadian who’s really serious about her country’s foreignness could throw my more ignorant countrymen for an inescapable loop by mentioning that her country’s cultural traditions include an aging but handsome New Brunswicker being thoroughly modest and tactful about how he had very recently dived to the floor and shot down a gunman who was trying to massacre Parliament, and a possibly related tradition of giving a funny-looking Scotsman a fair hearing when he shows up in Saskatchewan with a proposal for a provincial single-payer health insurance system instead of telling him to go home to Pitlochry and fuck a haggis. If we’re amazed that they talk kind of like Minnesotans, which are a kind of American, and play hockey, a popular American sport, we’d be reduced to gibberish by tales of individual honorable Canadians or aspects of their civic culture that aren’t All-American embarrassments. Some of us are familiar with Tim Horton, the hockey player turned purveyor of mediocre coffee, but familiarity with Tommy Douglas on the southside, so to speak, is roughly a 98th percentile eccentricity.
You may be thinking that it was rude of me to write a brief counterfactual history of Canadian politics in which hard-right nativists tell a clergyman turned politician to flee the country where he has lived since the age of six and have sexual relations with his native country’s most beloved foodstuff. Of course it was rude. I’m an American, and in my country there is an esteemed tradition of insinuating that, for example, a kleptocratic center-right Chicago machine operator who was raised in Hawaii by his Kansan mother and grandparents is actually a foreign-born Sharia socialist Mau-Mau, and that in this capacity he grievously disrespected the Philadelphian prime minister of Israel by showing him the soles of his shoes during a one-on-one meeting. Perhaps English was good enough for Jesus Christ, but it couldn’t have been an adequate means of communication for these two putzes. (Come at me, Bibi. It ain’t the first time I’ve been high-hatted by a dipshit from Montco.)
Nonetheless, there’s the rudeness of publishing obscure freelance commentary about marrying Dagmar Midcap for immigration purposes, mostly, but only after first getting Mariska Hargitay and real NYPD Detective Nicole Papamichael into a Jello fight for my hand in marriage, and then there’s the rudeness of actually inviting the actual Dagmar Midcap for a film interview and proceeding to ask her leering questions about her feet, because she smells of patchouli (the marriage offer is hereby formally rescinded) and “this girl’s natural.” There’s a difference between hey, that chick is smoking hot and I have an Asperger’s-spectrum formal thought disorder with Chinese characteristics, and asking a woman point-blank in front of video cameras to be one’s girlfriend and do a sexpot mock weather report about how the weekend is looking good, especially when it turns out that she already has a boyfriend. This kind of slobbering becomes a lot more inappropriate and inconsiderate when it’s done in person and on tape.
Argue if you like that I’m white-knighting the Canadian chick again. I know that Dagmar is a big girl who can take care of herself, and I assume that she had an idea of what she was getting into by agreeing to be interviewed by this trashy local DJ. Neither of these things is the point. Not being dangerously pervy isn’t enough for Southside Steve to be fit for the public sphere. He’s invasive and gross for no good reason. Sure, he’s harmless, but he’s still at least a bit coarse and a crappy role model. For crying out loud, he was hyperventilating about Midcap’s sexiness and getting all handsy with her and getting her to make an ass of herself, and she was giving him I’m-not-totally-cool-with-this nonverbal cues which he studiously ignored. It seems to go with the territory of being a socially climbing local notable in Atlanta, but that doesn’t magically make it okay.
This is something that workaday Americans have trouble understanding about celebrity. The incessant boundary violations are powerfully crazymaking. Just in that four-and-a-half-minute clown clip, the yuck factor of getting pawed at and slobbered over by this buffoon flashes across Dagmar’s face several times. I’ve wondered sometimes whether she isn’t a lot more narcissistic than she appears, but this grossed-out reaction appears genuine, so I’m not convinced that she suffers from high self-esteem. She’s playing a game with him, but she’s also kind of appalled by the way he’s acting, just as any reasonable person would be. That’s one Canuck who is not keeping up with the Kardashians.
There are crude comments online about how this stunt is gross because Southside Steve isn’t easy enough on the eyes or sexy enough or something. All of this is ultimately beside the point. When I put myself in Dagmar Midcap’s shoes and imagine being similarly fawned over by some foolish woman, it becomes immediately clear that sex appeal is not enough to make the spectacle conscionable. There are a number of women at Midcap’s current station, the NBC affiliate in San Diego, whom I find quite sexually attractive in a purely she’d-look-good-without-clothes sense but who are clearly troubled in a way that I can best approximate as BPD; I might fuck them, but I would not put up with any of them making an ass of me on video. If Dagmar Midcap got frisky with me on set while wearing nothing but satin underwear and then started making weird comments about how I’m so sexy and I smell so great, I’d gawk right back at her, like, seriously, what the fuck. I doubt I’d have the game face to make it look like maybe I’m enjoying it or maybe I’m trying to enjoy it or some shit. The problem wouldn’t be the come-ons; it’d be the tone-deafness and utter disrespect for normal give-and-take. There’s a certain level of social acuity and grace that one should expect in formal interactions with relative strangers. Southside Steve’s entire shtick with Dagmar appeared to be premised on a total breach of basic decorum. Bully for you if you don’t mind it, but if you do, there’s no shame at all in getting bug-eyed like Robert Rosenberg at recount time. Hey, Stevie Boy, is that a hanging chad, or are you just happy to see me so that you can be a total dipshit?
Celebrities have to sell their souls to these people, or at least rent them out. Prostitution and nursing are sometimes described as grueling forms of emotional labor, but at least they’re practiced in relative obscurity and with defined business hours. For a celebrity, the lines between work and the rest of life are a lot blurrier. One ends up humoring paparazzi or dirtbags who are taken with one’s toes and one’s fragrant patchouli as a marketing ploy. That Dagmar Midcap interview was capped by an atrocious, off-key ditty inquiring about the weather forecast in the second person. I didn’t have the stomach to listen to more than the first two verses. Completely separate from this farce, there’s at least one YouTube groupie channel devoted to the weather lady, helpfully called iluvdagmar, and a baroque assortment of cringe-inducing flattery from various losers and weirdos that Midcap publicizes on her Twitter feed.
This is not a business for those who don’t enjoy narcissism. A lot of celebrities who look all chipper and bubbly are quietly wrecked by all the overbearing attention and idiocy and pressure. Being fawned over to such a pathetic extreme has a way of ruining normal people who don’t suffer from clinical personality disorders. It pays well, but you’ll end up catering to the disordered whims of some New South twerp who fancies himself wicked alpha because he pesters hotties on camera, and Atlanta is a happening enough city to have room in its ecosystem for this sort of horseshit. Maybe Sherman’s burn wasn’t sick enough to cleanse the town of its pathological social climbers after all.
William Tecumseh, get your behind over here right now! I told you to use more accelerant!