Thursday, February 11, 2016

Down The Rabbit Hole: Internet Research About Nothing in Particular, Burn Notice, and Gabrielle Anwar

I'm a little slow on the uptake when it comes to popular culture, which is why I just discovered the TV series Burn Notice (via Netflix.) Of course, I had to look up the writers, producers and actors, and when I did, I fell down the All-Time, Bizarro Rabbit Hole of internet research, all intertwining around the actress Gabrielle Anwar.

I have nothing at all against Ms. Anwar. In fact, I think she is an actress of extraordinary brilliance, so good at expressing complexes emotions that her face seems almost translucent. The rabbit hole, however, began with an article about her recent wedding to a man called Shareef Malnik, the service performed by--as the papers stated--a Tantric Kabballah Rabbi who officiated and read passages from his book to the blissful couple.

Mark Gafni. (The One Not in
Red and Yellow)
"Tantric Kabballah Rabbi. The name, which implies a tantalizingly silly mix of Hindu sexual practices, Medieval Jewish mysticism and the term for a Jewish teacher, set my Hilarious Garbage Antennae twitching. Those antennae were accurate. The tantric Kabballah rabbi in question, one Marc Gafni, (born Marc Winiarz), has a Phd from Oxford, and has been believably accused of sexual assault many many different times, including the grooming and assault of a thirteen-year-old student.

The woman accusing Marc Gafni of grooming
 and then molesting her as a child

Okay. Not exactly the guy I'd want at my wedding ceremony. Especially given that Anwar has three children by previous marriages and relationships, and her new husband also has a kid.

But if you want to go further down the rabbit hole, remember new hubby named Shareef Malnik? Hilarious Garbage Antennae go a bit haywire over that name. Is he the result of a Moroccan mixed marriage? A Jewish Mama's long-time crush on Omar Shariff?

Nope. Mr. Malnik was born as Mark Malnik in the U.S. in 1958.  In fact, Daddy is an all-American mob associate, Al Malnik, one-time lawyer for gangster, Mayer Lansky. It seems besides being mobbed up and representing Sammy Davis Jr. and some of his Rat Pack pals, Daddy more or less invented off-shore money-laundering in the Bahamas. Somewhere in between having his Rolls blown up (of course it was canary yellow) and the unsolved murder of some of his associates, Al became chief financial advisor--and much, much more--for Saudi Royal member Prince Turki Bin-Aziz. 

Now, Turki Bin-Aziz was one of the many sons of the king of Saudi Arabia. Bin-Aziz came to the U.S. in the 1980's on a crazed spending spree that encompassed several years, billions of dollars, and the kind of insanity that makes interesting news articles ("Saudi Prince hires decorator to paint genitalia of all mansion's statues in glorious, living color") and desperate neighbors. (Saudi family parks multiple Ferraris on your grass, lands their helicopters in your backyard, and shows up in middle of night offering three million for your bungalow as long as you and your family leave within the next half hour.) 

During this blazing craziness, son Mark starts toting a copy of the Koran and winds up married (briefly) to the sister of the Prince's commoner bride. (Look, this is so complicated and bizarre, that I can only hope I'm getting the details right.) I would assume it is at this point that Mark became Shareef, a name which, come to think of it, beats, say, Muffy Malnik for assimilationist silliness. 

The story gets even crazier, but I think I have used up my Rabbit Hole quotient for the day. And the good news is, it seems as if Anwar and Malnik's use of Gafni for their wedding has, hopefully, shown new light down Gafni's rabbit hole. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a costumed, Wild West marriage between an actress and a "restauranteur"/possible mobster, (this being wedding number five for him) would lead to a sexual predator finally having to face some of the consequences of his actions? Let's keep our fingers crossed. 

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