Entertainment

Nirvana baby is America in a nutshell

You’d think the guy who was once the baby floating in the swimming pool on the cover of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” would be pretty happy about having a completely unearned place in pop culture history.Some people chase fame their whole lives; Spencer Elden got it in a 15-minute photo shoot when he was four months old, and can boast that he has the most iconic wiener since the invention of the footy frank.How many guys are blessed with a better conversation starter? “Hello, ladies, bet you five bucks you’ve already seen my ding-dong.”Spencer Elden is a useful illustration of a widely accepted principle: If you can’t get rich by hard work, talent or dumb luck, the next-best method is probably to start screaming out, “I’m a victim!”Victimhood is worth something. Sometimes it’s worth a lot.Elden grew up in the one country on Earth where every doofus, liar and low-life thinks he can get rich, and many of them turn out to be absolutely right.His family was paid only $200 for the photo shoot (his dad was a friend of the photographer), and “Nevermind” earned enough money to rebuild the MCG out of caviar, so now Elden figures he’s entitled to a piece of the action.He’s claiming the “Nevermind” cover constituted child porn of which he was the unwitting victim. Using a federal law, he’s suing everybody from the record company to the band, hoping to extract $150,000 from all parties.That photo isn’t porn, unless all pictures of naked babies are, and far from causing him “extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations, interference with his normal development and educational progress,” etc., he was happy to dine out on having been Nirvana Baby until about 10 seconds ago.In 2016, in a 25th anniversary recreation of the photo shoot, he even volunteered to do it naked again, before thinking better of the idea and posing in swim trunks.Elden’s dumb lawsuit represents the nexus of three impulses in which America is the undisputed champion: the hunger for undeserved riches, moronic claims of victimhood and creative lawyering.Mr. Smells Like Greed Spirit is an amateur, though, compared to a couple of New York lawyers who mixed those same three ingredients into a magical potion that fooled a lot of people for a long time.According to an indictment announced by US lawyer for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss, two members of the New York bar who apparently thought ambulance chasing was too much work rounded up clients to claim phony injuries and send them off to get surgery.George Constantine, 58, and Marc Elefant, 49, were charged with coaching homeless people and drug addicts to falsely claim that they had tripped over this or that bump in a sidewalk. To build the credibility of their claims, the lawyers sent them to undergo actual needless surgery, under the knife of orthopaedist Andrew Dowd and surgeon Sady Ribeiro, who prosecutors said were paid by the lawyers for their parts in the scam.Unlike Nirvana Baby Dude’s frivolous filing, which is probably doomed, this scheme worked: It yielded $31 million in payouts from businesses and insurers before prosecutors and the FBI got wind of it. The lesson here seems pretty clear: Fake victimhood can be a gold mine, if you never get caught. And let’s face it, most people probably don’t.— New York Post

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