Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith: Expired Celery of Humanity

I’ve been puzzling over how best to address this subject without sounding cruel, or speaking ill of the dead. But it begs for comment.

Were you surprised when she died? I wasn’t. Not a bit. Let’s face it; she was most famous for being a train wreck.

Yeah, I remember the Guess jeans campaign. She looked amazing then. But could she possibly have become a household name just for being pretty? For being a Playboy Playmate of the year? There are loads of pretty models out there, and loads of women who pose for Playboy. I don’t see them generating the kind of attention she got (and is still getting). Wasn’t it the wacky marriage to the 1000-year-old gazillionaire that first got her into the tabloids?

And then there was the reality show. Oh my GOD. Okay, first... how'd that happen? Who at the E! channel thought this was a good idea? I must admit, though, it was hard not to watch this seemingly constantly drug-addled woman slurring her way through life with the constant presence of an assistant and her "lawyer." (What IS his deal, anyway? Is he just a Svengali? What was his real role in her life? I don’t for a second believe he’s her baby daddy. But why'd she have a lawyer with her everywhere she went?)

Did she do anything of substance during the course of this show, aside from seek out freebies and make odd public appearances? Was this really the focus of her life, or just what we were allowed to see? Actually, I remember thinking the most surprising thing about the show was how normal her son seemed. Most of the time, I sat there watching with my mouth open, stunned.

Then she generated headlines for gaining weight (I had no idea I could be famous for that. I've been missing out!) and then losing it. Yeah, I’m sure it was all about the Trimspa, baby, and no other drug that might help speed up the metabolism...

Why was she so famous? And what justifies this veritable orgy of "news" coverage of her death? I work in media, and I don't get it at all. Why are we so interested in this sad, mess of a soul?

And now, there's this, which is just horrifying. I mean, WTF??:

Anna Nicole Smith: hopefully resting in peace Celery of Humanity.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

OJ Simpson--Murderous Celery of Humanity

Sometimes people slide from a productive member of society to celery status gradually. At one time they were the hottest thing around, and then, without quite knowing how or when, they find themselves throwing fits while standing outside the velvet ropes at some posh nightclub, usually wearing clothes a decade or so too young for themselves, screaming "I'm [INSERT NAME HERE], damnit!" while his or her assistant tries to minimize the damage to the dwindling status of the faded celebrity's name.

This was to be the fate of Orenthal, before he decided to get his sunglasses back. After that fateful night, he dove headfirst into Celeryville.

Many of you may not remember OJ in his prime as a football player. He was an incredible running back. I'm a Steelers fan, but I grew up about 100 miles from Buffalo, and I watched him play football quite a bit. His first three years were unremarkable because of the horrible offensive line he was behind, but then they drafted a few pulling guards, and his season-long yardage totals went from less than 700 in 1971, to a then-record 2,oo3 yards in 1973.
Look at this shot. Look at which way his shoulders are pointed. Pretty much straight towards the line of scrimmage. Now look at
his hips. Look at where his feet are going. A split second before this was snapped, i guarantee those toes were aimed right at the photographer. How could you tackle that?

This was true OJ--no matter how hard you tried to tackle him, he always seemed to be able to get away. He wasn't the fastest, or the strongest, or even the most elusive. He was enough of all three that you couldn't pull him down.

He was just as elusive twenty-four years later.

After football, he was the perfect corporate shill, selling his athletic abilities for Hertz Rent-A-Cars, sprinting through the terminals in a way that would be sure to get him a few rubber bullets into the small of his back today. Go, OJ! Go!

He also acted in a few movies not quite bad enough to be legendary, and did a quite a bit of sideline commentary for football games. Then, in 1988, he portrayed Detective Nordberg in The Naked Gun, and he enjoyed a revival of sorts with his surprisingly deft physical comedy, and he went on to appear in both sequels, each time getting the shit knocked out of him in a series of humorous episodes.

The one thing about OJ's post-football career that stands out to me is the following: he did everything he could to be safe. His entire image was predicated on the fact that he was a friendly, funny, intelligent, caring--but mostly, safe--black man.

As far as I can tell OJ Simpson did little to help other African-Americans unless they were also running backs from USC. He spent most of his public time as a spokesperson or a persona affiliated with mostly white endeavors. The neighborhood in which he lived was also a primarily white enclave. This is not to say that he wasn't proud of his African heritage. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. But the color he was most attracted to was green.

Perhaps it was this shallowness that drove his wife, Nicole Brown, away from him. Whatever it was, it didn't seem to sit well with OJ.

If you were alive in the mid-nineties, you know the rest. OJ used all his privilege and money to portray himeself as a poor black man, and escaped prison, but not civil judgement. Nor did he fare well in the court of public opinion, where he will forever be a pariah.

But none of this is what brings CofH status to Orenthal. It's his refusal to go quietly into that extremely expensive good night. Right after his acquital, he announced he was going to devote the rest of his life to finding the killer of his wife and Ronald Coleman. Apparently, he believes they are hiding on some golf course somewhere. Even then, had he made his obligatory statement and hid from the public, it wouldn't have mattered.

What matters is that he still pops up every damned opportunity that he can. For a long time, it seemed as if he had actually convinced himself that he was innocent. But then, he wrote a book, and was about to appear in a special, where he would tell us how he killed two people, but only hypothetically.

Of all the things written and said about OJ Simpson, I think that the most succinct and accurate statement was made by the sports radio personality Jim Rome, who said:

"Do us all a favor, OJ: Go straight to hell."

OJ Simpson: the deadliest celery of humanity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Britney Spears: Bald-headed Celery of Humanity

Once upon a time shaving your head and getting a few tats wasn't considered news. It was considered being a Marine.

She might as well go Semper Fi--she hasn't had a hit album in several years, and the only one to chart in the past few was a bunch of remixes.

It's interesting to see what drops by the wayside when distilling the essence of pop culture. Let's compare Britney with Christina Aguilera. Both became popular at almost exactly the same time. Both swapped spit with Madonna on MTV. Christina's newest album went to #1, and the third single from it is still charting on Billboard.

But take a look at this:

The one with the critically acclaimed, immensely popular record is getting less than forty precent of the publicity that Commando Britney's getting. Yeah, it's probably not fair comparing them the week Britney decides to go all Sinead on us, but then again, why should a haircut make so much news?

Another interesting aspect is the reasons I've been hearing. One rumor is that this is for some sort of performance piece--a music video or something. Another was that she doesn't want to be a sex symbol anymore. Do either of these excuses ring true to any of you?

Me neither.

One time Mousketeer/Former Jailbait Popstar/Current GI Jane Britney Spears: Another stalk on the celery of humanity.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Paris Hilton--Celery of Humanity

Yeah, she might as well be the first.

I went to Google, typed in 'Paris Hilton' and hit 'I'm feeling lucky,' and was surprised to end up at the Wikipedia page about her. I thought for sure there would be some sort of tribute page, or maybe an exploitation one.

But I realized that the reason the wiki page popped to the top was because there's not just one place to find information about her. Checking out the full google search showed twenty-two million, four hundred thousand hits for 'Paris Hilton.'

And now it's twenty-two million, four hundred thousand and one.

For the record: I am not fascinated with Paris Hilton. I'm fascinated with the fascination about Paris Hilton. That's really what this site's about, isn't it?

Anyways, from her Wiki page:
Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American socialite, singer, actress, and fashion model. She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, and to the real estate fortune of her father, Richard Hilton.

Hilton is a socialite in both Manhattan and Los Angeles and she has been described as a celebutante, a portmanteau of celebrity and debutante.[1] She initially became well known due to her participation in the reality series, The Simple Life, and also 1 Night in Paris; an unauthorized sex video of her with her then-boyfriend Rick Salomon, which was leaked onto the Internet in late 2003. She has since branched out into many careers, and recently, as of August 2006, she has launched a serious bid at a music career with her debut pop album Paris.
'Portmanteau' in this case does not refer to the two-chambered piece of luggage, but the combining of two words to make a third.

Apparently, Paris Hilton is also the Spork of Humanity.

Socialite, singer, actress, and fashion model. That's an impressive CV. Let's examine those jobs, shall we?

Socialite: Webster's online defines it as 'a socially prominent person.' Wikipedia adds that this person (usually a woman) '...spends a significant amount of his or her time and resources entertaining and being entertained.'

Okay, so she does that, and apparently well. But is it a job? Is it a career? Does the fact that she knows how to be entertained warrant all this attention? Maybe not. Maybe it's the other things that she does that explains the fascination. So we continue.

Singer: She's got her own boutique label on Warner Records; so far she's signed exactly one singer to her label: herself. She assembled a phalanx of producers and musicians and the like, and managed to squeeze out nearly 40 minutes of dance music. It got mixed reviews, and managed to push one song up to #18 on the billboard hot 100 chart. Impressive, but consider this: Bruce Willis got up to #5 on the chart with 'Respect Yourself;' Eddie Murphy's 'Party All the Time' made it to #2. My favorite review came from Stylusmagazine.com, which looked at the album less as a commercial and/or artistic venture, and more like the ultimate test of the starmaking machinery behind the popular song:
If given the most talentless, unlikable persona imaginable, can it turn out a decent pop record? The answer is a qualified “yes”—Paris is poppy and catchy, and it gets out of the way after 11 songs. If an army of songwriters and million-dollar producers can make Paris Hilton listenable, even for only 38 minutes, then no one else with a major-label budget behind them has any excuse.

Actress: According to her IMDB page, her latest movie, The Hottie and the Nottie, is in production. However, her most famous roles star Paris as Paris--The Simple Life, and 1 Night in Paris. When one of the main pieces of your filmography is done entirely in night vision, you're not an actress.

Fashion Model: Okay--this one is truly beyond me. Not the concept of Paris Hilton as a Fashion Model--the whole 'fashion' thing. I've just found out that it's no longer cool to push the sleeves up on your white sportcoat anymore. However I do know that 'Fashion Week' has just ended, so if you're a fashion model, you'd be working this thing, right?


Apparently not.

Whenever 'Fashion Week' and 'Paris Hilton' appear together in web searches, it's a discussion on how she's NOT appearing at any Fashion Week events. And the thing is--she's not not appearing as a model, she's not not appearing in the audience.

Let me get this straight: this non-singing, non-acting, non-model is a non-spectator--and people are writing about it?

Something that I feel truly illuminates Paris' place in popular culture: Her Wikipedia page is not very big, or even very expansive. However, there's a dispute on the neutrality of the page. When this happens on wikipedia, a 'talk' page is created. The relatively short entry on the life of Paris Hilton has a talk page with 38 separate threads--from 'Rumours of being a slut,' through 'Paris Hilton Sings and Vomits,' and ending (for now) with the angry/plaintive/futile 'This is a talk page for discussion of the article about Paris Hilton. It is NOT for discussion of Paris Hilton herself, unless that discussion involves improving the article.'

A lot of attention is being paid to someone whose claim to fame is that she's good at being entertained.

Ladies and gentlemen: the first stalk on the celery of humanity: Ms Paris Hilton.


Saturday, February 10, 2007


To The Celery of Humanity, my new blog that I hope will examine the lives of the superficial in a way that might help us understand their true value to the world.

What Does the Phrase Mean?

As most people who have dieted know, celery is a low-calorie food. It is also high in fiber. In fact, it is so low in calories, and so hard to digest, that it is possible that your body will burn more calories trying to digest it than it provides. The celery of humanity, then, are those people in society that seem to require a lot of attention, but return little back to us. We all know people like that, don't we? I'm sure all of us have our own personal celery-people around us. But I'm looking for those who fit this description on the national and international scale--folks whose fame far outstrips any possible reason for that celebrity.

Admit it--she was the first to pop into your head, right?

Well, the sad thing is, she's not the only one.

Who else? Who do you think is not worth the time, money, and energy spent on them by the main stream media?

Let me know who we should put on the list. I'm open to suggestions. If I get a good response, I'll start actually paying attention to the format, and start looking for little add-ons that I can drop onto the site--polls and the like. And if any of you want to co-blog with me on this project, drop me a line. The more the merrier, is how I see it.

By the way, I have no problem with you using the phrase 'celery of humanity' in their own writing and conversations, to describe anyone you feel fits the description. My only request is that if you do it online, link the phrase to this blog.