Very Intriguing Person
is a series about people who fascinate us, for better or worse.
While I love to talk about how men are bad — and they all are, except for my dad, and my friend Kelly’s dog Peter — the psychic and professional cost of doing so all the time is sometimes too much to bear. I’ve written enough pieces on how men are bad; at a certain point the catharsis of the process gives way to fatigue. It’s a futile errand to think that one’s indignation might change the way people think about men, much like the belief that using metal straws will decelerate climate change.
So this leaves a person like me, who is required to write at least four times a year in addition to her significant editing duties at this online publication, with two options. One is to create a static webpage that says “HE WAS ALREADY BAD” and then tweet the link to it whenever a new man is confirmed as abhorrent. The other is to challenge oneself by writing about a man who might be good, or at the very least neutral.
And since I do not know code and am voluntarily locked out of my Twitter account, I will talk about the actor Dean Winters.
Here are some things to know about Dean Winters.
-He once died for 2.5 minutes.
-He has the words “NEW YORK CITY” tattooed on his outer right forearm.
-He is 54, and a Cancer.
-He has some kind of relationship with Rita Moreno?
Dean Winters often plays a douchebag, and he does it very well. He has dated three TV women who are very important to me and to culture generally: Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City (as John McFadden, whom she tries to date but then when they go out for sushi he says to the chef “sake to me!” and any nascent conversational chemistry is lost); Liz Lemon on 30 Rock (as her idiotic, racist beeper-salesman on-and-off boyfriend Dennis, who refers to Mayor Bloomberg as “Mayor Bloomberger”); and Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU (as her on-and-off boyfriend Brian Cassidy, a gifted yet anger-prone cop who somehow always ends up on an undercover assignment in a brothel). (Sorry, I haven’t seen Oz. Maybe after I finish this season of House Hunters).
Let’s see what else I can say about Dean Winters without ever having talked to him or anyone who knows him, which is 95 percent of what cultural writing is anyway. He has a huge forehead, something I find attractive in a man. According to the likely fake website celebritynetworth.com, he is worth $5 million. He didn’t start acting until he was 30. According to The New York Post, he got a very good deal on a Tribeca condo earlier this year. He is a cryptic tweeter:
Here's a rare tweet. Message to all male movie stars: Before you open your mouths or video tape yourselves or post a selfie, ask yourself,— Dean Winters (@thedeanwinters) January 29, 2014
'what would Steve (McQueen) do?'. the world is tired of hearing and watching your bullshit. You've successfully taken away the— Dean Winters (@thedeanwinters) January 29, 2014
mystery that once made you vaguely interesting, Leave all that nonsense to the 12 year old girls. Seriously, please stop.— Dean Winters (@thedeanwinters) January 29, 2014
Now, we must pause to consider the fact that Dean Winters could very well be bad. It is a difficult time in which to publicly admire men; what if you say you like a guy but then it turns out he’s a groper, or worse? If it were revealed upon publication of this piece that Dean Winters was bad, could I still enjoy watching him tell Liz Lemon, with the grimy, impish charm of a chimney sweep, that he made chili? No. This would not be an onerous decision to make, because male art is ultimately trash. However, let the record show that Dean Winters at this time has not been accused of any malfeasance, and I am simply putting this disavowal clause here to protect myself from any possible future embarrassment.
We also must consider the fact that our current climate not only puts a lot of pressure on celebrities, it puts a lot of pressure on normal people to be interested in celebrities. It makes sense. The celebs are so visible, and pretty, and always saying wacky shit. We are searching for people — anyone — to save democracy, and it would be nice if they also looked good while doing it. Unfortunately, celebrities — and I can say this having met at least four, if you include Icelandic ones — are the least-worthy vectors of our hope and esteem. Listen, it’s just true. You have to have fewer than three brain cells to want to be famous, and fewer than two to find famous people substantively interesting.
Regardless my opinion of them, many celebrities seem to feel some sort of compulsion to make wild political proclamations or say why Louis C.K. should be given another chance to make middling comedy, despite the fact that he clearly needs to be removed from society for many years, or at least until he can work out the issues he has with showing his penis to people. It’s a shame that celebrities run their mouths about these things when they should just be talking about how they get their skin to look so good or what they’re going to buy with all their money.
But back to Dean Winters. The thing that is admirable about Dean Winters is that he just kind of… exists. He’s not jousting in any sort of conversation — real, imaginary, or online — with the public or, worse, Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem to think that anyone cares what he has to say; he doesn’t give stupid quotes, he does not “accidentally” run into the paparazzi outside his gym. He is not the star of a reality show of his life. He’s just a guy who plays stupid guys (who sometimes have beautiful sensitive moments) on television, making the shows to which I fall asleep every night a little bit better. I am always happy to see him, wherever he pops up. And I cannot say this about very many celebrities, or very many men, or even very many people in general.