Saturday, October 22, 2011


October 23, 2011

Celebrities. Why “celebrities”? These people are entertainers, nothing more. I don’t celebrate them. Not even my favorites like Chuck Berry and the Monty Python squad. I never light candles to any of them. In my yard I never dance naked in their honor and just now I believe I heard an enormous communal sigh of relief coming from my neighbors on learning this.
Let’s see who these celebrities are. They’re people who pique our interest for the time they are “on” and then, instead of retiring gracefully, refuse to leave the stage. These are singers, actors, dancers, comedians. Perhaps also magicians, jugglers, animal trainers, contortionists and bearded ladies. They take up our leisure time. They eat up our other time if we let them.
In days of yore the chieftain or the sultan would clap his hands over his head. Then, between mouthfuls of sheep’s eyes or while picking bits of venison out of whatever teeth he might still have (depending on whether king or caliph) he’d roar: “Bring on my fool!”
Enter fool.
He’d command the jester: “Make me laugh”. Or the juggler to juggle, the ventriloquist to vent and the effeminate minstrel to mince. And when he’d had enough he’d order them gone. Perhaps have them beheaded in a glorious grand finale.
Today we can walk out of the theater, turn off the TV, even shoot it dead as Elvis Presley used to do. But none of that’s good enough: there’s still no escaping the neverending tsunami of information about these people. They dominate the news and it seems more and more of us are fascinated with them.
How many chins did Sarah Palin’s daughter have surgically removed? Does it matter? Is Lindsay Lohan back on the stuff she was on before or is she on some other stuff or no stuff at all? Groan.
Here’s Jennifer Aniston: “Best sex I ever had”. Really! And why would I be interested in that unless it was with me? But wait – she’s adopting a baby, isn’t that sweet. No, she’s actually pregnant, maybe from the “best sex”...
All manner of minutiae about the personal lives of entertainers who impact my life not in the least. Must we care if Demi Moore’s marriage is on the rocks? We could instead pay attention to our own. John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston is coining in $11 million for a tell-all book. Bully for her.
And bully for us for knowing all this. Hey, it only cost $3.78 for that glossy supermarket gossipoid since we couldn’t wait the extra couple hours to see it on Tittletattle-TV.
I like celebrities who don’t like being celebrities. Apart from his sweet laid-back music I’d select J.J. Cale in this category; standing at the back of the stage behind his band, in his private life just unpretentious and dodging notoriety. Let your skill speak for you. That’s my kind of celebrity, not the ones who shout the loudest and have the least to offer.
Notwithstanding, the talentless continue to demand our attention, from Victoria Spice Beckham to the KKK bimbos, that trio of kurvy Kardashian kuties. And then there are the Survivors and the Big Brother brethren and more assorted nobodies.
We’re served up Snooki and the rest, the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Noo Joizy, the fake housewives of someplace else, the teenage mothers and their swains and all those other wallies who think they’re special. These people are stars? Surely thou jesteth!
Jon and Kate Gosselin whose “great talent” was that they spawned eight children. Mercifully, we’re being spared a threatened reality show starring the notorious Octomom Nadya Suleman, aka Big Birther.
The original no-talent talent was, of course, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian husband-collector who couldn’t act, couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance – couldn’t even speak English without tacking “dahling” on the end of every garlic-laced sentence. But when she said she was “famous for being famous” she became famous. That’s all you need to do.
One spouse was Conrad Hilton, he of hotels, and his granddaughter carries on stepgranny’s tradition with a vengeance. Devoid of ability, she’s one of the monotonous young folk who’ll do anything to remain in the news, morally acceptable or not. Are you reading this, Paris Hilton?
If Teenage Mom II has another 50 illegitimate babies in the next five minutes she might be a bit sore but it doesn’t affect my life in the slightest. If Christina Aguilera steals Britney Spears’ boyfriend and then loses her to Avril Lavigne... ho hum. Why this national preoccupation with other people’s trivia?
The Bachelors, the Bachelorettes, Beauties & Geeks, Joe Millionaire, Penelope Pauper: why not end all this contrived romance in one grand syrupy TV finale with a mass wedding like those Cecil-B-DeMille-style Moonie ones. Give ‘em five bucks apiece, a push in the back and wish ‘em a nice life.
Or an extra ten each and chuck the lot of them into a bigol’ wire cage together with the Teen Moms and those Biggest Loser people, with Jennifer Lopez and her famous bottom for added oomph. Then, for a grand Fox-TV gladiator spectacular, have ‘em all battle it out.
Fists only please. This is a family show.


© 2011 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.