Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Papa John

It's a toss-up, really, as to who is on the highest number of their nine lives right now: Danny Bonaduce or Mackenzie Phillips.

Danny---Big Red---can't have too many left. The child star from "The Partridge Family" has self-destructed more times than the tape recorder in "Mission: Impossible." But somehow he keeps rising.

Phillips, the child star from "One Day at a Time," has come out with some memoirs that claim she slept with her father, singer/performer John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas.

It allegedly happened when Mac was 19, and on the cusp of her marriage, no less. She claims that her father wanted to prevent the wedding and went so far as to get her into a drug-induced stupor and have sex with her.

Believe me, it was far worse typing those words than it was for you to read them.

Phillips, like Bonaduce, has teetered and tottered on the brink of both career and physical demise more often than what is normally accepted by the gods of fate.

Drugs have been Mac's Waterloo. She's another whose life on TV sets trumped life in the classroom or at home. Another who starred in a TV show and damn near died because of it.

While Bonaduce's life has often resembled a roller coaster slamming headlong into the field at the Indy 500, Mac Phillips' creepshow is almost too sordid for consumption sans ipecac syrup.

She went on Oprah's show on Wednesday, discussing her new book, "High on Arrival."

To wit (the following excerpts thanks to this story from CNN.com):

"I woke up that night from a blackout and found myself having sex with my own father," Phillips read aloud from her book, during the hour-long interview with Winfrey---referring to a night not long before her wedding.

"I came out of that blackout and realized what was happening. ... I slid right back into it and woke up the next morning in my own hotel room and not with him," she continued to read.

"Your father is supposed to protect you, not [expletive] you."

John Phillips died in 2001.

Mackenzie Phillips, now 49, said she was 17 or 18 the first time she can remember having sex with her father.

Sadly, it gets weirder.

When Mac confronted John Phillips and told him they needed to talk about how he raped her, she said, he responded with confusion. "'Raped you? Don't you mean when we made love?'

"I thought, wow, I'm really on my own here," Mac told Oprah.

There's more.

"Over time, in 1980, I'm on the road with my Dad in the New Mamas and Papas, and I begin waking up after drug-fueled events with my pants around my ankles and my father sleeping beside me," Phillips recalled. "It didn't happen every day, it didn't happen every week, but it certainly happened many times."


Mackenzie Phillips, discussing incest and drug abuse---and her new book---on "Oprah"


The epiphany came after the pair toured with the New Mamas and Papas in Hawaii, where Phillips had adjoining rooms with her father. She said she rarely went to her own room during that trip, and one night she found herself in bed next to her father in a drug-induced stupor.

"Dad said, 'We could just run away to Fiji, and we could take [his children] Bijou and Tamerlane and raise them as our own,' " Phillips recounted to Winfrey. "He was delusional, talking about living with me as man and wife, and raising my siblings, his children, as our children. The moment he tried to make it romantic, I thought, we're going to hell for this."

I knew John Phillips was a little weird---he spawned Mac, after all---but I had no idea.

I don't think anyone saw this one coming.

This isn't funny. Not even in an "Eww, gross!" way. Now we can make Mackenzie Phillips a little more of a sympathetic figure. Now we can understand a little more why she went through most of her teens and 20s as high as a kite.

Not surprisingly, Mac Phillips's recollection is being challenged.

Her former stepmother, Genevieve Waite, released a statement to the "Oprah Winfrey Show" denouncing Phillips' account.

"I am stunned by Mackenzie's terrible allegations about her father," Waite wrote. "I would often complain about her overly familiar attitudes towards him, and he said it was just her way. John was a good man. ... He was incapable, no matter how drunk or drugged he was, to have sexual relations with his own child."

And now he's dead---unable to refute, on his own, his daughter's horrible allegations.

Doesn't mean Mac is lying. If she is, then she's completely hopeless, and useless as a human being, as far as I'm concerned.

Despite the disgusting aspect of this horrific, alleged behavior, maybe some good will come out of it.

"I can't be the only one this has happened to," Mac said. "Someone needs to put a face on not only nonconsensual incest, but consensual incest, and I know that I can't be the only one who's lived through this.

"So in finding this redemption, maybe I'm helping someone else."

Yeah, that's it. Let's look at it that way.

Please.

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