That Rumor About the Naked White Horse

I was so excited to read about ICorrect in
The New York Times. It’s a new United Kingdom site for the well-heeled and the well-known to get satisfaction when lies and half-truths have circulated about them for years — and just won’t stop circulating. ICorrect calls itself “the universal website for corrections to lies, misinformation and misrepresentations.”

All you have to do, it turns out, is to pony up $1,000 a year — a bargain compared to the $5,000 per annum corporations have to cough up. (I guess the Brits haven’t yet been informed of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that corporations are really persons, just like you and me.) Once you join, you get to correct all the misinformation that’s been unfairly whirling about you for decades.

Well, justice at last! Here was my chance to correct the error about me I once read on the Internet about how I joked about being a “recovering alcoholic.”  Which kind of irked me, since I’m neither an alcoholic nor a recovering alcoholic. I offer as proof the fact that I have never once written about being an alcoholic or about getting sober; since when would I let perfectly good material like that lie around, untouched? Never, that’s when.

However, I had made the mistake of joking about alcoholism, which seemed to be taken as some kind of admission. Lesson learned: Never joke. I fully expect to be referred to in the future as a “recovering man” after my recent attempt at humor that involved a less than tasteful claim about having balls. Mea culpa in advance for this and all the other tasteless and baseless claims I will doubtless make in the future.

Anyway, I slipped over to ICorrect, which is really pretty entertaining if you have a little time to waste. There, I learned all kinds of new and true things about Bianca Jagger — namely that she’d never dated Billy Joel, which is why he hadn’t written the song, “Big Shot” about her. Even more important for cultural historians, Bianca denies she ever rode a big, white horse into Studio 54 while semi-naked.

From there, it gets a little less interesting, what with Sienna Miller announcing she doesn’t tweet, although Sienna impostors do, and Cherie Blair claiming she never went to a party with Gadhafi’s son (big deal; she’s still married to Tony “Bush’s lapdog” Blair). I did kind of like the entry from Sir David Tang, who objected to being called a “creep” by an English newspaper. Sir David found that label “greatly exaggerated.”

After reading all those false rumors, though, I realized I’d developed some kind of rumor envy. As far as I know, no one has ever claimed that I partied with any dictator’s kids or dated Billy Joel or rode a horse naked or rode a naked horse (be careful with those modifiers) into Studio 54.

And therein lies the problem: If there’s anything worse than being talked about in a colorful, scurrilous, legendary way — it’s not being talked about.

It all makes me think there are two kinds of people. One group could live for decades on rumors about having ridden a horse into Studio 54. The other group — my group, obviously — would only elicit patronizing chuckles at being connected to such wild stories. It would be clear to everybody who knows us we would have never gotten into Studio 54 in the first place.

(Copyright 2011 by Ruth Pennebaker)


4 comments… add one
  • Cindy A Link

    Is there anything about that hamster incident with Richard Gere?
    I always wondered if that was true.

  • not to mention the one w/ Kinky Friedman–he wasn’t Kinky until he met Ruth.

  • I can’t remember where, but I once read a wonderful article that was a reminiscence by one of the major gossip columnists of the 1950s; it was fascinating to read about the lengths people had to go in the pre-internet age to get information from carefully cultivated sources. Today, reading about students being paid NOT to talk about Emma Watson’s life in the college dorms, makes me realize what a luxury the privacy of obscurity really is!

  • msue Link

    Wouldn’t it be more fun to sign up for INcorrect and see what wild rumors they could concoct? It’d be worth a hefty sum to hear my embarrassed relatives try to explain me, a horse, and a defunct club. Totally worth it.

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