Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I can't resist. A brilliant and insightful exploration into why we hate Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez and want them to end their days in misery. In the Post, no less. You really should just read the whole thing, but since you won't, I shall excerpt. Liberally. And wantonly.
For many of us, the current difficulties of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, also known as Bennifer, or Ben-Lo, or Jennufleck, are a source of cruel amusement. It's a fabulous double helping of schadenfreude.

This raises a philosophical question: Is our little thrill at the misfortune of these people a reflection of our larger, bloodsucking, pathetic love-hate relationship with celebrities, or do we have some objection to this specific coupling? This time, is it personal?

First, we must note that although the Lopez-Affleck union seems to be firmly in the category of "pre-failed" and the Vegas over-under on its duration is measured in days, it is possible that this is a momentary hiccup in their relationship, that the wedding (date not publicly announced) will go off as planned and that they'll settle down to a long, happy, fecund and faithful partnership that years from now will be seen as a model of how two people can reconcile superstardom and domestic bliss. We live in an age of infinite possibilities (i.e., "Governor Schwarzenegger").
Affleck himself downplayed the strip club incident in his jovial appearance Monday night on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." The events of that night, he said, "would have been, like, a brunch for Colin Farrell," referring to one of his fellow celebrity night crawlers.

"By the time the tabloids get ahold of it, I'm, like, in a three-way with Michael Jackson and Elvis and the Wolfman, you know?" he continued, revealing perhaps a shortcoming in his counting skills. "But it was relatively tame, as those things are."
Though fascinated by the rich and famous, we also resent their tendency to engage, at the drop of a hat, in wild, romping, bouncing-off-the-walls sex. We resent their threesomes. We are astonished by their fivesomes. We think their sevensomes are completely beyond the pale. We are all too aware that they have a tremendous amount of sex in Jacuzzis, sometimes right there in the Jacuzzi store showroom. Sex on sailboats, sex on mountaintops, sex in vintage automobiles in the cargo hold of sinking ocean liners -- they're unstoppable. Why can't they be like ordinary Americans and slowly turn into inert blobs of undifferentiated protoplasm so devoid of erotic allure that gender can only be determined with a chromosome test?
Still, our one consolation is the inevitability of their emotional misery. They will never know the pleasure of a steady, dependable, insipid, unremarkable private life. We think of Elizabeth Taylor: Blessed with beauty, talent, wealth and fame, but forced to divorce on roughly a monthly basis. She sometimes divorced the same person more than once. Also, she gained weight, but that's a whole different nightmare.
Some people may feel guilty about the secret pleasure they feel when they hear that celebrities are in pain. But perhaps the proper emotion is pride -- that is, you should feel good about feeling good that a famous person feels bad. Because in feeling good about feeling good about the suffering of overrated demigods, you strike an emotional blow on behalf of the millions and millions of invisible people whom celebrities fly over on their way to the Coast.

And this is why you read tabloids. For America.


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