Friday, December 15, 2006

Bringing the "stars" back down to earth

MTV AND VH-1 have perfected the art of serving up pop culture offal you're ashamed to be caught watching, with just enough snark to distance themselves from the stink. When we finally get fed up with this stuff, they'll be able to say, "Ho ho, we were laughing at it all along."

But there is one redeeming value in our glut of "reality" and celebrity, and this is revealed in VH-1's "Celebreality" brand. Although at first glance this programming block appears to be more of the same disgusting celebsession we're already sick of, it's actually doing us a great service: deconstructing and lampooning celebrity; putting celebs -- more accurately, former celebs -- back in their rightful place. These has-beens get "stripped of all their A-list privileges -- and their self-esteem" (words taken from the actual Robin Leach intro). It's actually refreshing to see the formerly famous now groveling for money and recognition by cramming into houses together and enacting stupid scripts and playing dumb games for a nationwide audience. They're back to entertaining -- which is, after all, the whole reason why they became famous in the first place.

Also there are redeeming messages buried in the glut of celebreality and celebudocs. Like VH-1's "Behind the Music" series, "E! True Hollywood Story" is commendable in its candor about the realities of fame and quick fortune. Time after time they've brought us the stars' cautionary tales of too much too soon, of addiction and burnout, of squandered millions, of betrayal by fickle fans and media, of being sucked dry by armies of hangers-on, of feeling trapped in the bubble, unable to be normal people and do normal things without swarms of fans and parasite paparrazzi.

The lives of "stars" remind me of something I read about a tradition of the Incas. Each year they chose a slave to be elevated to deity and worshiped. Then they sacrificed him to the sun-god.

THE APPEAL OF "Flavor of Love" is beyond the entertainment of stupidity and insecurity and vapidity and viciousness on parade -- an example of the absolute bottom of the barrel of the female sex. It's a vivid example and reminder of why I steer so far clear of a certain subset of females. it's also an illustration that for every evil of men there are flocks of women who will not only encourage but reward them. Which dovetails nicely with something I noticed in Trail of the Octopus, an expose of the criminal dealings of American military intelligence. This book mentions in passing the avidity with which females throw themselves at drug smugglers, mercenaries and terrorists. And so, supported by Trail, "Flavor," and personal observation -- including my own experimenting with different personas and seeing how females react to them -- I'm convinced that women could save the world by simply closing their legs.

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