What a priceless image adorns the current edition of the Hollywood Reporter, featuring former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson vamping it up to the max. Meeting the cameras gaze slightly uncertainly, his arms wrapped awkwardly around her waist, is WikiLeaks emperor Julian Assange. It is a comic masterpiece, which can only be captioned: When ur girlfriends boyfriend plays centre back for Marseille.
The pair, you may recall, are closefriends, and this week Pamela grants the magazine an interview in her home town of Marseille (she lives with French footballer Adil Rami.) The chat is accompanied byashot taken by David LaChapelle in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in which Julian has voluntarily secluded himself for thepast six years.
First impressions? Well, I suppose its one way to torpedo your no sunlight defence. Hats off to LaChapelle for making it look as though the embassy contains a synthetic sun slightly more powerful than the real one. It was only earlier this year, you might recall, that three doctors penned an article for this newspaper bemoaning Assanges lack of access to proper medical care. Although it is possible for clinicians to visit him in the embassy, this ran, most doctors are reluctant to do so. Perhaps its because hes on the run from the law? Still, the idea he cant find a bent doctor in Knightsbridge is arguably the biggest joke of all. Theres barely anything else, apart from petrochemical mistresses and half the Candy brothers.
Anyway, looking at our two principals, there is a real TV guide feel to this image. Julian and Pamela resemble lead actors in a $10m-an-episode TV show about a Promethean tech boss. Actually, Im not even sure we need to bother developing a new format here. Lets just call it Westworld: Series 7. I love how this show continues to raise unsettling questions.
On the nature of her relationship with Assange, Pamela declines to be fully drawn. Ditto the rumours that she is dating occasional WikiLeaks source Vladimir Putin. What she will say of Assange is that he talks to her about everything. Its not just about politics, she says, even though I do take a lot of notes and its so overwhelming, the information he gives me. Pammy goes on to say that one of the things he talks to her about is the Bible.
I bet he does. Picture the full John Lithgow in Footloose, only if the character never had a learning curve. Ariel needs to stop dancing with this no-good out-of-towner, and Pamela needs to bin Adil. Its all there in thebig book, if only you have the source codes. (Incredible, really, that Julians yet to start his own religion except I suppose hehas in a way, with the Assange bros, who I always look forward to hearing from. Some of the remote threats of violence those guys dish out make you weep for the missed recruiting opportunities. They would be incredible US drone pilots.)
Anyway, back to the Pamela interview. Without wishing to lose you with technical publishing industry argot, it is a study in the absolute wank people will write in magazines. Somehow, punts the writer, while nobody was looking, Pamela Anderson found herself at the centre of the geopolitical universe. I dont think you should even dignify that one with an eyeroll emoji. Even less successful are the attempts to conjure up what we might call la magique of la France. In the morning, we learn of Pamelas tres ordinaire routine, she might make a trip to le petit marche with her vegan grocery list in hand, then perhaps take a boat ride from Cassis to Calanques. Perhaps.
Both interviewer and Pamela are at pains to stress how far she has come. Back in the day, Pamela reveals, she was once paid $500 to attend a party for Donald Trump. And now, well she was invited to hand Putin flowers at his most recent inauguration or I speak at Vladivostok at the economic conference about green energy and a green economy. Plus a change, you might say unless you were the interviewer, who misses the sole justifiable opportunity to wheel out a French cliche.
Given that she is in an uncategorised form of liaison with Assange, a man who has twice been accused of sexual offences, Pamelas thoughts on the #MeToo movement are naturally sought. In summary, it seems to have been the womens fault for not having a Spidey sense about what was about to happen to them in the various rooms. Dont go in that room or if you go in the room, get that role.
The chief point of the chat with the Hollywood Reporter, however, seems to be to raise awareness of Assanges current plight. In March, the Ecuadorians cut Assanges internet, in a thinly disguised bid to get him to do one. He and Pamela havent spoken since.
Over to the interview: Hes cut off from everybody, Pamela says, afrantic note creeping into her voice. The air and light quality [at the embassy] is terrible because he cant keep his windows open and he cant get any sunlight. Even prisoners can go outside, but he cant. Im always bringing him vegan food, but he eats very simply. I talked to him on the phone the day [his internet] was shut off. He sent me an urgent call. And now, nothing. (Remember, kids: he can walk out at any time.)
Incidentally, I often wonder if Pamela and Julian is a case of life imitating high art. As fellow doctoral completists will know, there is an episode of Baywatch set at Seaworld that deals with many similar issues. Pamelas character the legendary CJ Parker finds a sea lion who has been injured by hunters. She forms an intense bond with the creature, nurses and cares for him in seclusion at Seaworld until the moment he must be released from captivity. CJ is very sad about this but she says she knows that the sea lion would be happy, because the bad fishermen who hunted him were now in jail. As he departs, he honks back at her, as if to say, yes, that was precisely the logical place Id got to on the matter, as opposed to: I was only interested in you for the fish.
If only justice could be similarly served on the bad men who made Julian skip bail to avoid answering sexual assault claims (since dropped by the Swedish prosecutor because his evasions meant the investigation could go no further). Hes been wrongly accused of so many things, is Pamelas take. But this is a way of keeping him down and keeping him ineffective. Hes just ruffling the feathers of people that are powerful. I always try to humanise him because people think hes a robot or hes a computer screen or hes not this human being.
But the crowning glory of this characterisation the tinsel on the incel, if you will is the idea that Assange is being denied some kind of movie stardom, because well, because Hillary. Hes so misunderstood, she continues, especially in Hollywood, and really hated, because of the Clinton monopoly on the media.
In one sense, you have to salute Pamela and Julians ability to keep things as sweet as they have. These kinds of relationships are difficult. I read only this week that Charles Bronsons marriage to a former soap actress 30-odd years his junior was on the rocks.
I wonder what went wrong? Is the problem that Bronson is Britains most violent inmate, currently serving a serially extended stretch at HMP Frankland, who recently endangered his parole chances by stripping off, smearing himself in butter, and challenging guards to a fight? Or is it something less specific, like she loves him but shes not IN love with him, or some people grow together but she feels as if theyre growing apart?
Who knows. Lets hope Julian and Pamelas bond is not similarly sundered. Occasionally, our misunderstood sea lion appears on the embassy balcony to honk mournfully about this or that he misgendered Chelsea Manning last year, for instance, on her day of release from actual prison for giving WikiLeaks information. But with Pamelas help, perhaps real freedom is a possibility, and our slippery mammal can one day flap out into the welcoming waters of Knightsbridge for good.
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