It’s been a great week for the celeb meltdown, they always are but this week especially, was a corker. Tara Reid (her off American Pie and other things that escape me presently) is alleged to have abused staff in an LA All Saints store when they questioned her right to a discount the insubordinate serfs! Not only that but last Friday angelic Hollywood Barbie Doll Reese Witherspoon was nicked after a drunken barney with a policeman who pulled her and her inebriated husband (who was driving) over in Atlanta. Reese got seriously miffed with the officer and refused to believe he was a real policeman, presumably imagining Ashton Kutcher was waiting somewhere in the undergrowth, sadly for Reese he wasn’t and her and hubby were promptly escorted to the slammer, from whence they were bailed shortly after. Finally, footballer Luis Suarez of Liverpool bit (yes, like actually bit) opponent Branislav Ivanovic when his side played Chelsea on Sunday, not exactly showbiz I know but another fine example of someone in the limelight behaving like a loon.
I’ve written at length about the dearth of personality in modern popular culture, music especially and I never understand why news of stars’ bad behaviour are accompanied by headlines denouncing their antics because, let’s face it, we all love it. Whether it be Harry Styles’ ravenous libido, Lindsey Lohan scrapping in a bar or Justin Bieber having to explain to humourless (needless cultural stereotyping on my part but it’s a better image) German customs officers just what on earth he’s doing with a monkey and no relevant paperwork on a plane, we all get squirmy with anticipation when celebs do something stupid. It’s the bread and butter of entertainment journalism: boobs, romance and meltdowns. Without these things we’d have nothing to write or talk about and would all be out of the job and let’s face it, viewing figures would plummet because the soap opera surrounding the rich and famous is as entertaining as their work and in the case of several mind-numbing figures in the public eye, a lot more fun.
I watched Match of the Day last night and pundit Alan Hansen was apoplectic with rage at the behaviour of Suarez deciding to chew on an opponent’s tasty looking arm during a match but really, I mean really would they rather every game went off without a hitch? It gives them and everyone else something to talk about. There would be no TOWIE, no Perez Hilton (now hang on that’s an idea) and Kim Kardashian would have no career if famous folk didn’t put their foot in it, or their teeth in it, or something else in… you get the picture. Many the average performer would have been relegated to History’s cutting room floor but no, because they like a tantrum, a drink and the occasional Playboy Bunny; Tara Reid, Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen are all still with us! You don’t reminisce about nights out with your pal Geoff, the one who had half a lager and then whipped up a stunning Quiche Lorraine for all the lads, you talk about Geoff who got his little corporal stuck in the till at Wetherspoon’s when apprehended by a distinctly unimpressed barmaid as he tried to nab free Jager Bombs for the boys while inexplicably trouserless. Our attitude towards celebrities and popular culture is the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone biting people or truly reprehensible behaviour but there are levels of depravity and I’m a firm believer that wild sex romps, crazy drunken binges and the odd exotic pet make celebs more interesting and more human, as you can see an aspect of what we all might be capable of. They’re millionaires, everyone’s always telling them they’re great despite glaring character flaws and an often obvious lack of discernible talent and they’ve lost all normal perspective so hell yeah, who wouldn’t want to steal an Ostrich and ride it directly to Stringfellows? And when it happens, I for one want to read about it.