Boo Hoo 

This year, as mainstream entertainment hits new lows in inspiration and execution, our celebrities have found a new way to entertain us: wrecking themselves personally. Witness Tom and Nicole’s divorce, Robert Downey Jr.’s umpteenth bust, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean’s rehab, Ben Affleck’s rehab, and now Mariah Carey’s insanity. I’m not sure I feel any safer with these people walking our streets than I do convicted criminals. What really galls me though is the outpouring of sympathy and concern for these overprivileged nitwits. USA Today recently ran a story on troubled stars. The E! channel also did a report. Yet all of the coverage has this pitying tone for the poor oppressed celebrity, faced with the pressures and temptations that come with fame. If you believe the saying that any publicity is good publicity, then these people have hit a goldmine. By making complete public spectacles of themselves, these celebs are immediately racking up public sympathy and stirring up interest on whether or not their careers will bounce back. It’s as if we’ve come to expect the Behind the Music/E! True Hollywood Story tales as a part of the entertainment.

Let’s start to examine this issue by asking why in the hell I even know Mariah Carey’s name in the first place. I have vague memories of Mariah in the early ’90s in a video with curly hair and a “singing voice” that was more like an eight-octave dog whistle. Now, around seven years later, I see her on television all the time, sporting straight hair and perpetually showing off her rack. And it seems like every time I say something about her on TV, my wife retorts, “She’s had so much work done.” Next thing I know, she’s in the loony bin because she’s stressed out from working so hard, and her new album and movie are pushed back a month. Supposedly, the catalyst for this meltdown was the fact that her new single languished on the charts without making much noise. Now I don’t wish Mariah any difficulties, but if she wants my concern regarding her “breakdown,” she is cordially invited by myself and my family to piss off. People across this planet are having breakdowns all the time as a result of stressful situations ranging from domestic troubles and economic woes to disease and mental illness. I don’t want to hear about how a beautiful singer who just signed an $80 million record deal with a new label and has a forthcoming movie based on her life story is crushed when people think her latest song sucks. She has PR people, assistants, and handlers to cover her ass if her world goes to hell in a handbasket. Most of us would be up the creek. Breakdowns based on self-absorption and fragile, oversized egos aren’t sympathetic—they’re just pathetic.

The same goes for these Hollywood hopheads who can’t stay off the sauce or keep their noses clean. I know that it’s a sad state of affairs when someone like Robert Downey Jr. can’t stay sober or out of jail. But most people with problems that severe aren’t rewarded with TV shows and Golden Globes. The articles I’ve read regarding his personal travails blame a celebrity culture in Hollywood that enables his behavior. That’s caca. Robert Downey Jr. does not have to do drugs with strangers, and if the temptation is really that overpowering then he should move—leave the country if he has to. When someone hits bottom as hard and as often as he has, they should do whatever it takes at the sacrifice of family and career. Once again, people all over the world suffer from these types of problems and aren’t cut anything even remotely close to the slack these celebrities receive. In fact, most people who have chemical dependency problems as severe as Downey’s usually lose everything they’ve got and end up either homeless or in jail.

I don’t even know why these people need drugs and booze so badly. People usually alter their senses to get away from the harsh realities of their lives. I suppose if I was A.J. McLean and the majority of the adult world assumed I was gay while I made my fortune off little girls who liked my snappy choreography, I’d drink like a fish too. But what the hell is Ben Affleck’s problem? Then again, he was the lead in Pearl Harbor. Spending the rest of my life with that cinematic scarlet letter might send me over the whiskey edge as well. Regardless, their professional mistakes work out for them in ways that would leave the average Joe Schmo hung out to dry. Ignore these egotistical celebrities and their boneheaded travesties. Their problems aren’t deserving of your heartfelt concern, which validates these folks in the face of atrocious personal behavior.

Na na na na, hey hey . . .

Pulling off the long-term acting career in Hollywood is not easy. Few have the charisma of a Paul Newman and are able to stretch themselves into a 50-year career. Tinseltown is a fickle place, and sometimes after you’ve made your mark, the creative juice just runs dry. To the dismay of the editorial staff here at the Scene, Dan Aykroyd announced in a recent interview that he may soon hang it up for good. The film world won’t be the same without him. He’s already created so many memorable characters, we felt he had more in him. Film critic Jim Ridley and I feel that the only fitting swan song he could give us would be a sequel that wraps up the loose threads of one of his many indelible creations. Here are our suggestions:

Dr. Detroit 2: Big Pimpin’, but it might be tough to get Dr. Johnny Fever to return.

Return to the Great Outdoors, with that new heavyset guy on SNL taking over the John Candy role.

Dragnet 2: Next Friday, with Jason Biggs in the Tom Hanks role, because Hanks might possibly have something better to do.

Nothing but More Trouble, with original cast members Chevy Chase and Demi Moore—because their careers are toast anyway, so what possible harm could it do?

Looser Cannons, but with Michael Caine replacing Gene Hackman, just to keep with the theory that those two are literally in every other movie.

Exit to Eden 2: Back for the Money Shot, but this time with a cast that you would actually want to see naked.

Celtic Pride 2: Luck of the Irish, with Shaquille O’Neal bringing his deft comic timing to the mix.

In related news, Iggy Pop has also indicated that he will be taking no more film roles. He claims that because of his reputation in the ’70s, he only gets offered roles related to offensive material. What? A guy sleeps with 15-year-old hookers, cuts his chest on stage, and rubs peanut butter all over himself a couple of times and he can’t get a decent acting gig? So picky.

Quotidian Challenge

“What’s with these homies dissin’ my girl? Why do they got to front?”

Be the first to e-mail the origin of this useless bit of trivia to poplife the shame of your name printed in the paper and some free useless crap from the Nashville Scene!

Previous week’s answer: “I was thrown out of N.Y.U. my freshman year for cheating on my metaphysics final, you know. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me.” —Woody Allen in Annie Hall.

Winner: Philip Cloutier of Los Angeles, Calif.


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