I've been wrong before.
No, really ... it's true, I have.
I remember going from being incredulous to downright angry during an exchange with a girl I used to know at a diner on Columbus Circle in the late 90's when she tried to tell me that Bauhaus had patched things up and were reuniting and touring. I dismissively snorted and probably laughed insufferably in her face at her silly declaration (`cos, after all, she's a girl .... what do girls know?) She tenaciously clung to her ridiculous assertion, apparently oblivious to the fact that she was dealing with an expert. The exchange swiftly devolved into what would conventionally be construed as a fight, replete with the lobbing of several withering pejoratives and rutheless attempts at character assassination. "Don't tell me my business, woman." etc. We may have left it as a wager.
Well, guess what.
She was right, I was an idiot and, very probably, an asshole.
Is this one of those times?
Earlier this week, a certain photograph of (what looks like) two iconic figures in the youthful blush of their respective 80s heydays bloomed like a vine of verdant ivy on the Internet and was suddenly everywhere. I first spotted it on Facebook via Flipside, but the image has evidently been floating around for some time. Basically, it looked like a picture of Brooke Shields gratuitously partaking of some ganja while sitting on a couch next to the inimitable H.R. of hardcore royalty, Bad Brains. Was that really her? That postulation took off like a rocket, vaulting the debate out of the music geek ghetto and into more mainstream arenas.
Some took it as self-evident. Others stopped short of declaring it fact.
Personally speaking, I didn't buy it ... and, frankly, still don't.
Why not? I mean, I'd certainly love to believe it's true, but it just doesn't add up. The debate took hold in my office, roping in several of my colleagues. But just like in that diner on Columbus Circle, the more the theory was asserted as a foregone conclusion, the more certain I became that the opposite was true. Just because lots of people believe that something is fact doesn't make it so. 50,000,000 Elvis fans can be wrong.
My argument was two-fold. For a start, you can't see the young woman's eyes. Think back to everything you know about Brooke Shields, and invariably the first image that's going to pop into your brain is her piercing pair of blue eyes. Without being able to see those, it could just be some random woman.
Secondly, the circumstances didn't really make sense. By this point in her career, it seems strenuously unlikely at best that the budding supermodel and actress (who'd have been fresh from promoting the box office poison that was "Sahara" at the time) would be so liberally forsaking her guard and compromising her meticulously cultivated career in one fell swoop like this. Not in 1983.
Sure, people get lazy and careless. We've all had pictures taken of us when we weren't aware or prepared (hell, she isn't looking at the camera -- maybe she didn't realize one was in the room). But I just couldn't fathom the notion of Brooke Shields getting high with Bad Brains. She doesn't seem cool enough for that, given her penchant for hanging out with indefensibly terrifying bozos like Michael Jackson and the like.
But, you know what? Weird shit happens. People mix and mingle in any number of unimaginable circumstances for any number of unlikely reasons. That's just part of the rich tapestry of life. Examples are everywhere. I have a comparatively straight-laced step-uncle and aunt in New Jersey who used to babysit Metallica's Lars Ulrich. My in-laws once had dinner in a hotel bar with the full membership of AC/DC. Rachel Weisz once used my bathroom. Uma Thurman bummed a smoke off my friend Rob. I once spilled a full beer all over J.G. "Foetus" Thirlwell. Jay Mohr once pulled up a chair at a SoHo eatery and dined with my friend Sean and I. Celebs, public figures, rock stars and regular folks all live on the same planet and everybody interacts, however strangely. It very well could have been Brooke Shields partaking of the chalice with H.R. Stranger things have certainly happened.
On Friday, though, I wasn't being quite so open-minded. I still don't think it's really her, but yesterday, it was more about proving people wrong than thoughtfully assessing the possibilities. In response to my point that Brooke wasn't cool enough to be hanging out with Bad Brains, my hilarious co-worker Helen chimed in..."What about that picture of Brooke with Stiv Bator?"
I shut her down with a quick "That was Bebe Buell."
By that, I thought she meant this picture (shot by the amazing Marcia Resnick, initially for this issue of New York magazine I wrote floridly about this past summer)....
In fact, however, she meant this picture.....taken by I'm sadly not sure who.
So yeah, .... Brooke Shields knows punk rock. I owe Helen an apology for that one.
In the wake of all this shit, it's now Saturday morning, and I still don't think it's Brooke. Look at the photo again. Is that a mole under her left eye? Maybe it's an imperfection on the film, but Brooke Shields doesn't have a mole like that.
Once again, I just doubt that it's her. Remember that picture a couple of years back of what looked like Jon Stewart in mid-slam at a Dead Kennedys show? Turns out, that wasn't him (although Jon Stewart did once work at fabled New Jersey concert venue, City Gardens, which played host to countless hardcore shows).
Officially-speaking, a rep for the Bad Brains had said "yes, it's her," while Brooke's handlers have said "no, it's not." I'm not sure why it would matter at this point. Were I Brooke Shields today, I'd probably take this opportunity to enhance my coolster cred and say "Hell yeah, that was me!" But, for whatever reason, she's not choosing to do that. Maybe she's concerned about telegraphing the wrong message to her kids.
Speaking of which, I actually see Brooke Shields in my neighborhood from time to time (I believe her kids go to Grace Church school on Broadway). Maybe I'll ask her next time I see her.
Yeah, that'll go over well.
What do you think? Is it her?