Making sport of celebrities

by Barry Koltnow

The Orange County Register (MCT)

23 July 2007


David Beckham faces a bigger challenge than he could ever imagine.

The husband of Posh Spice wants to make soccer the most popular sport in America, but he must first overcome the popularity of football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, auto racing and, of course, the most popular sport of all—criticizing celebrities.

I know that some will argue that criticizing celebrities is more of an art form than a sport, and I suppose that debate will continue regardless of what is written here today.

But I believe that it is not only a sport, but the fastest-growing sport in this country.

And the reason for its popularity is pretty simple. It is a sport that is fun to watch and is also the easiest in which to participate. In addition, nobody gets hurt, except the celebrities. There are no sore muscles the next day, no physical rehabilitation on your knees and no bandages. There is no safer sport than celebrity criticizing. When was the last time you heard of a celebrity critic being placed on the injured reserve list?

The sport has become so popular that it is difficult to find someone who isn’t involved in some way. And who can blame them? It is almost impossible to get through a day without criticizing a celebrity. Who would want to get through a day without criticizing a celebrity?

Celebrities drink too much, hang out in trendy nightclubs until dawn and hop from bed to bed like it’s the end of days. They are narcissistic, shallow and selfish. They make too much money, obsess over their appearance and dress like a bunch of weirdos. They don’t appreciate the privileged lives they lead, take the public’s appreciation for granted and have no concept of what it means for someone to pay $10 or more for a ticket to see a lousy film that they agreed to be in just for a big payday.

See? Criticizing celebrities is a lot of fun. And it’s a good cardio workout.

But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment. Don’t worry; I’m not going to shed any tears for celebrities. They’re too attractive and too rich for me to care.

However, I was wondering what kind of criticism I would be subject to if I were a celebrity. I guess what I’m really curious about is what kind of a celebrity I would be if I had the talent and good fortune to become a celebrity.

And I wonder, what kind of a celebrity would you be?

Let’s assume for a moment that your chosen area of celebrity is the cinema. That’s right: With the wave of a magic wand, I am anointing you a movie actor. Now, what kind of a movie actor will you be?

Will you choose to be a respected thespian who gets nominated for Oscars and appears in low-budget, critically acclaimed independent features; or will you prefer to be an overpaid, glamorous hack who stars in big-budget summer blockbusters?

Half of you who chose the former are lying. Only a select few actors choose the highbrow road, and there usually is an underlying reason, such as a background in the theater or a belief born out of insecurity that they are not pretty enough to be a movie star.

So I am going to assume that a majority of you chose the latter option, and I don’t really blame you. That’s where the money is. That’s where the fun is. You may not get to dress up on Oscar night, but life is a blast for movie stars.

OK, now we know what kind of a celebrity you are. How are you going to live that life, and what criticism will you have to endure from those who engage in the sport of criticizing celebrities?

Limo or exotic car? Either way, you open yourself to criticism, but you have a better chance to avoid legal problems in a limousine. And nothing begets criticism like a moving violation in a fancy car.

New York or Las Vegas nightclubs? The paparazzi are waiting outside every club in every major city so there is no way to avoid them. But there seem to be more snitches in Vegas clubs who are only too eager to sell photos of you to the tabloids.

Faithful or an affair with your co-star? This could take you to the next level of stardom. It might be tough to look at yourself in the mirror each morning, but ordinary folks don’t expect a moral center from you anyway.

Public apology or seclusion? After you’ve been caught at some wrongdoing, you must not disappear from view. You must embrace your misdeed and shame, and approach your mea culpa as just another opportunity to perform. Think of it as chicken soup for the ego.

And now, let the games begin.

Topics: celebrities
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