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October 17, 2011

My Tabloid Binge

by Harley

Last week I was reading my friend Gavin’s online column in New York Magazine, entitled “Why Stars Act Crazy (and Why People Like Me Share the Blame)” –a fascinating essay, illustrated with photos of Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and . . . Gerard Depardieu.

Charlie_sheen_twitterLindsay and Charlie need no explanation. But Gerard? Pardon my ignorance. When I Googled Gerard to discover why he was among the crazies, I was transported through a wormhole into the Land of the Paparazzi, thick with photos, links, slide shows, YouTube segments, blogs, vlogs, comments, more comments, endless comments. . .

. . . and when I emerged from the wormhole, I’d lost 2.7 hours of my life.

Maybe if I subscribed to PEOPLE I wouldn’t act like a starving, hormonal woman Lindsay-lohan-stolen-jewelry in a Godiva factory when I encounter a tabloid. Experts say that children who aren’t allowed sugar at home go crazy when let out of the house, stealing M&Ms from their friends’ lunch boxes. I am their literary equivalent. My subscriptions are Mystery Scene and Horses. (Okay, sometimes I buy Vanity Fair.)

I don’t watch reality shows either, which might explain how I once found myself in a NYC hotel room watching five consecutive hours of America’s Next Top Model.

So anyway, Gerard Depardieu. He peed in an airplane. There 79290503 are conflicting reports of why, but I’m not that interested. It’s only urine. However, look what else I discovered:

1. Ashton cheated on Demi. Although I can’t name a single Ashton Kutcher opus, and haven’t watched Demi since A Few Good Men, I now wonder, like 88% of the human race, Can This Marriage be Saved?

2. Rihanna doesn’t hate Chris Brown.

3. Robert Downey, Jr. begs Hollywood to forgive Mel Gibson. Robert-downey-jr20

5. Lindsay is doing community service at the Red Cross, because at the women's centre where she was assigned, people were “mean” to her. Next up: 120 hours of janitorial duty at the LA County Morgue.

6. Hilary Swank inadvertently went to the birthday party of Chechen president 692482-ramzan-kadyrov Ramzan Kadyrov, who’s accused of mass murder. Says Hilary, “I deeply regret attending, which has thrown into question my deeply-held commitment to the protection of human rights.” (Ah, Hilary, if I had a dollar for every party I regretted attending . . .)

Jean_claude_van_damme_diaper7. Jean Claude Van Damme, at the same party, told Kadyrov, "I love you with all my heart."

Normally, Jean Claude wouldn’t pass celebrity muster, but publicly expressing love to a warlord is always compelling. My personal A-list, like yours, is idiosyncratic. There are artists whose work I adore whose life stats don’t interest me. And stars of questionable talent whose lives fascinate me, the meaningless details, the eating disorders, the plastic surgery, the names of their pets.

And then there are these:

The 8, plus Jon and Kate. I don’t care. Kardashians, Teenage Moms, or real desperate housewives of anywhere? Don’t care. For me, reality show fame is a negative. Ditto talk show hosts and newscasters. Kathy Lee Gifford, women of The View, right-wing radio commentators, these would have to be serial killers to get my attention (except for Dr. Laura, who bugs me.) Speaking of serial killers, or anyone who murders or abducts a parent, spouse, child, lover’s wife or daughter’s cheerleading rival—even if everyone involved is photogenic—I’m not reading about them in the supermarket checkout line.

I’m old school. I like actors, politicians, religious leaders, rock stars, supermodels. I like Oscar winners and nominees assaulting photographers, trashing hotel rooms, bashing vehicles with golf clubs, shoplifting. I like religious fundamentalists having gay sex and tearfully apologizing to their flock.

I used to love the Royals, but I miss the glory days of Koo Stark, toe-sucking, and tampon metaphors. Will & Kate are pretty tame.

Mike-tyson-1I don’t care about sports figures. I don’t know why. It’s not like Mike Tyson and Tiger Woods aren’t giving it their all.

Ah, but Charlie Sheen? The gold standard. (BTW, I once auditioned with him. He was very kind.) Mel Gibson? An embarrassment of riches. Christian Bale’s rant at a crew member while filming Terminator Salvation was spellbinding. Arnold, Madonna, Britney, Whitney, Anna Nicole Smith. Kennedys! (except for Maria Shriver, who I want left alone.) Palins! Scientologists!

NYC+Jewish+Museum+Display+Dead+Sea+Scrolls+GE5hMl2U-9AlOkay, who’d I miss? Because I must stop now. I’ve spent hours, days researching this blog and now I need detox: a shower, a nature walk, an afternoon spent studying the Dead Sea Scrolls. Or viewing heartwarming stuff like this:   

(But please, please, if you hear anything about Demi and Ashton, call me on my cell.)



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I really glad Charlie seems to be back on his meds. He couldn't possibly have been in his right mind and think all that crazy stuff was ok.

OK, I'll admit it. I follow Ashton's tweets. No idea why. Used to love Charlie. Now it's all for Ashton.

Not quite sure, but # 4 on The List must have been b-a-d. Or maybe it's BAD. So bad, it cannot be shared! That's some heavy duty stuff Harley knows about...:)

Out of all this, I think Mel Gibson should be let off the hook. Show me someone, anyone, who hasn't said or done something regrettable while drunk/stoned/blitzed out of their minds, and we're probably dealing with a genuine case of the Second Coming. I'm not saying he was right, nor am I condoning what happened, but his drunken ramblings and rantings have been blown *way* out of proportion. I think Robert Downey Jr. showed a lot of class, both acknowledging Mel's assistance when HIS life was in the crapper, and asking for some audience support.

C'mon, people... let Mel off the hook. There's mo' better stuff coming down the road!

WHO DID YOU MISS? I read this whole piece waiting for some hot stuff on our boy, and got nuthin.

I think Mel Gibson is talented and he was certainly gorgeous in his time. I enjoyed many of his films. And I think Robert Downey Jr. did show class. But Mel has a long list of strikes against him. Not long ago, Elaine posted about the married guy who hit on her. The vast majority of folks here condemned him. (I didn't post that day, for the record.) So forgetting the misogyny and racism and drunk driving, Mel gets a pass for adultery because he's a movie star, while the everyday slob is a rat for life? I usually don't care what people do, but Mr. Devout Roman Catholic got out my hypocrite list for that one.

It's not like the guy went out one night and messed up one time.

I went on a celebrity news boycott and the damn thing is almost holding firm.

I do not read - or listen to - talking heads who haven't done anything to earn my respect or interest - other than the PBS Newshour, and Brian Williams, who gets points just for being a great sport, this really cuts down on my TV viewing in the evenings. Never watch during the day - but I did DVR the Days of Our Lives episode when the old gang came back a few weeks ago.

Used to watch Dancing with the Stars - the only reason I stuck with it last year was for our own Hines Ward. The show has neither stars nor dancing. That's as close to reality TV as I get - except for Food Network Challenge - not even sure that counts.

Mel Gibson? Sorry. Too self-righteous and Opus Dei for me to give him a pass on any of the big commandments. Plus - I'm going to say it - he's like Tom Cruise - one role, different costumes.

Now I must get back to work and to the real concern of the week - which songs for the Thanksgiving Instrumental playlist?

Also - just for the record - wtf does it sometimes take Typepad 5 minutes to okay a comment and sometimes 5 seconds? Arrrggghhh.

Harley, thanks for doing the research some of us just find too repulsive to do. Clap, clap, my dear.

(Un)Reality TV is so big because it's WAY cheaper to produce and air that actual scripted entertainment with real actors.

When Kathy (hi, lady!) announced her celebrity boycott, it sounded like such a great idea that I instantly adopted the same stance, and have not regretted the decision. But even with such a ban it's really hard to ignore references to such creatures as Snooki and company. Why do they exist, and why is cable TV celebrating their bizarre existence? It boggles the mind.

Harley, I did a bit of mental whiplash above. First, you used to love the Royals, then you don't pay any attention to sports. See where I'm going with this?

PS Does anyone else feel as though you're doing a typing test when entering the captcha code?

I think you could probably dig up a bit of dirt on any celebrity you wanted -- the paparazzi loves to cash in on others misery, mistakes and pain.

Like all of you here, I learned recently about Ashton's affair and wonder if Demi should want to stay. I also followed Mel Gibson's fall from grace and often paid attention when Charlie Sheen and Robert Downy Jr. were making the news.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother...I mean it seems it is always the same story but with different players -- this one is cheating, that one is doing drugs, this one is hitting his spouse, this one got caught driving drunk, oh and let's not forget the pregnancy announcements that happen. I think a) they are not perfect people and did we really expect them to be just because they are famous and b) it is unfair that many of them don't have consequences to face (like the rest of us) for the things that they do (see comment above about Lindsay Lohan).

Really, they are just people...people :-)

You left out Alec Baldwin ranting at his 11 year old daughter on the telephone. Eventually, he showed contrition and a willingness to keep his mouth shut and the public has largely forgiven him.

Perhaps his daughter will forgive him after years of therapy that he'll pay for while she deals with the ramifications of her father calling her a spoiled little pig.

I read the celebrity rant with smiles on my face. I watched the video with tears in my eyes. Would that ever child had teachers like him. He's worth a dozen of those celebrities.

Oh, Margaret, I was so hoping someone would check out the link. It's the only link I included (because I wanted to spare you all the pain that I underwent researching this blog) -- but it's a good one, isn't it? Now, if I could only get Mr. Typepad to make it an actual link, the kind you click on, instead of having to cut & paste.

Mr. Typepad, our despot. I bet there are a few skeletons in HIS closet.

Ramona, has The Blond One done something newsworthy of late? Because things have been quiet on the tabloid front since The Wedding.

Yes, Karen -- a cross between a typing test and an eye exam, getting past the Comment Keeper.

The nuns always told us to "avert our eyes, avert our eyes."
However the tabloid items pop up everywhere.
Who knew that Angelina Jolie wants Jennifer Aniston to be her surrogate mother..just kidding.
How shocking when Jennifer Aniston's new love interest had his parked motorcycle vandalized with bologna or is it baloney.. the story or the crime?
Rachel Ray does not cook at home..say What?
Oh, ya. Her husband takes over in the kitchen..
Why does Chris Kardashian need a face lift? Does she want to appear younger than her daughters or her husband Bruce? And why is Bruce Jenner watching ESPN in Chris' gigantic bathroom? And will Bruce get more plastic surgery?
It is all too fascinating for me. Movie stars keep bobbing up even after scandals. All it takes is a blockbuster movie and they are in favor again.
God Bless Hollywood for all the distractions.

And what are you saying, Karen, that the Royals are some kind of sports team? What sport, polo?

No reality TV in my house, unless you count FoodTV contests. I will admit to scanning tabloid web sites for starlets/nymphets in bikinis and too short dresses. I'm a guy and we do that sometimes.

I have seen like 4 dozen ads for real house wives of... Is there a plot or at least an outline to that? All I see is expensive dresses over expensive boobs with bad manners.

For the most part, I don't really care which celeb is cheating, unless Demi is looking for a quick hook up with a dashingly handsome computer stud. Oh well, didn't think so.

Mel, sorry not off the hook. Drunk is no excuse. He can just goose step off into the sunset. He can take Danny Glover with him. Glover is EXTREMELY anti death penalty. Funny, dead bad guys seemed just fine in all of those movies.

Karen, the captcha doesn't tell me I need a typing test. It tells me I need a vision test. Oh, and Mr. Typepad has taught me to copy all of this to notepad then hit save.

I have to admit until you mentioned Koo Stark I wondered why you had been a Kansas City Royals baseball fan then you stopped (being a fan).

Speaking of baseball (hijack here) Way to go Cards!

I have to admit I watched Kate +8 when the kids were really small. The little kids were so cute but man was Kate an obnoxious control freak who treated her husband like the 9th child. I can't believe that she still thinks the world owes her money and publicity because she had those kids. Talk about no talent.

Kathy I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Tom Cruise plays the same character in every movie.

I still watch DWTS but it's becoming a joke.

"One role, different costumes" is my new favorite saying. Thank you, Kathy. I think at least one-eighth of all my favorite sayings come from you.

I don't care a whit about the Kardshians, any Real Housewives, or the Jersey Shore (people or location). I enjoy the buswreck that is Naomi Campbell: c'mon girl, throw another phone at maid!!

Beyond a subscription to Entertainment Weekly (the best 20 minutes of entertainment that 20 cents can buy) and lunch-hour clicking of GoFugYourself (best site ever), I don't chase much gossip.

But I find those wormholes too, usually on a Friday afternoon. And suddenly I've watched four episodes of the Millionaire Matchmaker or My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. I figure the occasional buswreck is good fodder for writing.

A long time ago a certain magazine source tricked me into subscribing. I don't know what I signed up for but they all must have gone under.
Now I get US delivered to my home. I suppose it's a good thing as I would have no clue who most of these celebs are let alone what they wore when and with who.
I'll probably be getting these years after I'm dead. Seriously...when I called, the sweet little customer service girl didn't know what to tell me when I asked her what magazines would I still get when I died.
So I'm up to speed on the latest scandals like who wears the same dress more than once.
This is important news ya know?
Thanks for the latest Harley but I'm thinking we haven't heard the last from Sara Leal.
Sara who?

Best ever tabloid headline that had me laughing in the checkout line:
Vampires of the world dying of (wait for it) AIDS!

Thanks to friends and relatives who watch reality TV, I don't need to do so myself. They let me know what's going on out there in that Strange Land, whether or not I feel that I need to know it! I haven't had a cable hook-up for over a year now, and I'm pretty much used to not watching TV.

I have one relative who is addicted to that program (sorry, I don't remember the name) where viewers nominate someone who has bad taste in clothing, in the hopes that the person will be chosen for a clothing/hair/makeup makeover. Whenever I visit her, we sit through hours of that program. (I pick up a book early on, and casually glance up now and then to say things like "yeah, that IS awful", or "no, I don't know if that person will learn anything from this experience", and then get back to my book.)

I agree with the Typepad eyetest people! If I hadn't just been told by my eye doctor that there's been no change in my vision, I'd be worried!

Harley, since when has The Blond One had to do anything for us to talk about him? He just has to stand around being Blond, and I'm happy.

I like Tom Cruise as an actor. I think he has lots of talent but he is underrated because he's crazy.

Ramona, too true. About The Blond One. I'm sorry, but Tom doesn't do it for me onscreen. No offense, of course. (and I also auditioned once with him, and he was as kind as Charlie Sheen, and I therefore have a soft spot for both of them, crazy though they may be.)

Here are my questions of the morning, since I have now sworn off Tabloid Googling:

A. is Blond Bond doing the next Bond Film and if yes, when may I expect it?
B. is Johnny Depp doing another Pirates of the Caribbean, and if yes, when may I expect it?

More question to follow, as they occur to me.

Oh, and Xena -- excellent headline.

My favorite is actually two headlines, two weeks apart:



I don't recall if it was the same couple in both incidents but if so, what are the odds?!

I'm too out of the loop to know who you missed. I don't recognize most of the people on magazine or tabloid covers at the grocery store. I just don't watch television more than a few hours a year. I miss out on certain conversations involving Glee or Grey's Anatomy or whatever crime show is current, but if all people have to talk about is what's on TV, I'd rather keep my mouth shut or talk about the weather, which is always a scintillating, timely topic.

Harley, haven't you heard? Bond 23 pits The Blond One against Javier Bardem as the bad guy.

I don't know about Johnny Depp and the next Pirates. I know he's filming Dark Shadows right now.

That's all I got for gossip on the film front. I don't watch any reality shows. I don't want to see people being realistic. I want to see them emerging from the sea in a Speedo.

Okay, Amy. Let's go with weather. Dish! We want the DIRT!

I am in an airpot in Texas, where I file this report: All men in Texas smell wonderful Een the ones in jeasn and hard hats.

Blond Bond did one thing newsworthy lately. But if I bring up his marriage, there will be weeping around TLC

Oh god, Ashton and Demi!! Just last night I went to the grocery store to pick up quick dinner items. Twenty minutes later I was standing in a closed check-out line reading the "People" (or was it "Us"?) article about the 22-year-old girl Ashton apparently shagged. My poor dog hungry in the car, my stomach growling, but I didn't care--I had to finish the article!

Unfortunately, I do that quite often because I WILL NOT buy those magazines. Sometimes I gravitate to the longest check-out line so I can browse the tabloids.

I admit to a perverse fascination with America's Next Top Model. I've even looked up where the winners are now. Ack!

Lisa, you are invited to my support group. Last week some nice woman at the supermarket said, "oh, you can cut in front of me. You only have 3 items and I have tons of stuff" and I replied, "I can't. I have to finish this STAR magazine. Thanks anyway."

Harley, you forgot to include your cell phone number so we can keep you apprised of BREAKING NEWS among the celebrities ;-)

My favorite tabloid headline, from around 20 years ago, was "Psychic's Head Explodes"! Wow! Never read about THAT anywhere else! Since I didn't bother to buy the newspaper, I never did get the exciting details.

Didn't I read in a tabloid that you were having a torrid affair with Kin Shriner and his twin brother at the same time?

Bond 23 scheduled opening Thanksgiving 2012 for the US.

I actually purchased three (3!) copies of the same tabloid last month (EXAMINER), because my book was in it! I'd been reviewed by the book editor (along with the compilation mystery, NO REST FOR THE DEAD), and they were doing a giveaway.

I still felt dirty buying them.

Oh, Tammy, I'd have bought them for you. I don't mind a little dirt on my hands. Last month, of course. This month I'm going straight.

Josh, no. I'm not saying I have never had affairs with brothers, but not at the same time, and not twins. Who do you think I am, Hugh Hefner?

OK I admit to checking out Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston covers. Can't get over the fact that Brad left Jen for Angie. ANd I USED to be obsessed with Diana before she died. But that's it! Nobody new for me since then. :) And that's a good one, Xena!

(yes, yes, Lora. Me too. Don't care about Brad or Angelina or Jen in isolation, but BrangeliaJen, or J'Brangelina -- don't get me started. And the kids! I'm fascinated by those kids! All those boys with "x" in their names. The girls . . . oh, it's too embarrassing. I can only admit my obsession if I stay inside these parentheses.)

We were at friend's this weekend. The weather was beautiful. I was lying on the chaise long and reading a tabloid. The pretext was that the magazine pictured the manor we stayed in. But I also read about the coming wedding of Angelina & Brad in France (the magazine dated July... are they married?)and some French stars I don't remember who now. Yes, they were writing about the pregnant wife of Sarkozy. I heard today that she'd delivered a baby. I need to go to the supermarket tomorrow to check it out unless I want to make a search on the internet.

Xena, you too?!?! It's so comforting to know I'm not the only one who managed to agree to some crazy long-term magazine subscription plan when awakened by a telemarketer early on Saturday morning (it was the first one I ever got on my cell phone, I thought it was my mother, so I answered. Definitely learned that lesson.) Spent a few years paying a monthly fee I couldn't get out of, and have been getting a series of magazines ever since. When the company's contract runs out with one, you get a new one. I was mortified about a year ago to discover that I'm now a subscriber to Us. Still embarrassed when it shows up in the mail each week with my name on it. ... And yet that doesn't stop me from flipping through it (hangs head in shame).
As for the whole Alec Baldwin thing (it's been a while, maybe it was worse than I'm remembering?) as I recall he was yelling at her about not returning his calls or something? Regardless of what it was, yes, it's vastly unpleasant to get ripped a new one by your parent, but who hasn't had the proverbial "new one" torn for them at least once or twice? What I find truly reprehensible is that Kim Basinger put the recording out for God and everybody to hear. That's awesome parenting right there. She blatantly exploited what was, I'm sure, an already unpleasant experience for her daughter and used it for her own gain in a smear campaign during a truly ugly divorce. I'm sure having every news source known to man reprinting or replaying that rant made the girl feel all sorts of loved. While I don't advocate screaming and making nasty comments to your kid, I think turning it into a media event is worse.

Harley, thanks for the Children Full of Life video link -- that was beautiful! I need detox from the occasional accidental contact with celebrity slime, and that is a great reminder of the good being done, quietly and all over, by ordinary good people.
I saw HP7.2 again last night and came home thinking of Valdemort's obsession with being extraordinary and immortal vs. Harry and so many others just wanting to be good and ordinary and loyal to friends. I'm perfectly happy not to be a celebrity . .

Oh, Storyteller Mary, I haven't seen Harry 7.2 yet, but you really make me want to. Yeah, that is some video huh?

Harley, a super hot jet stream "dipped south" and now la niña is pregnant!

In my area, HP 7.2 is only at the $1 show, which means DVD soon . . . but I do think this one was better on a big screen, and I definitely don't have a big screen here. (antenna in attic and converter boxes and VCRs -- yeah, I'm a Luddite ;-)

Ooooh, Amy. I get all crazy just thinking about it. Weather. Such a hot topic.

My introduction to the tabloids began in the early 1970s, which featured Sonny & Cher break up rumors and who will get custody of cute little Chasity.

Forty years later......Chasity is now Chazz, who is not nearly as scandalous as Charlie, Lindsey and Mel.

Late to the party.

Who's Snookie? (Do NOT answer that.)

I don't 'do' reality TV. I barely keep up with Castle and NCIS.

Mel? Not getting my vote or persuading me back to watch any of his films until he genuinely apologises (to EVERYONE, especially those he directly hurt) and does a bunch of willing and sincere public service.

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