Fabulous & Opinionated

Chapter 16: Lifetime Achievement Award

“Unsurprisingly, male stars generally have an easier time of it than the ladies when it comes to growing older. Cue the surprise and shock. As we’ve indicated, Hollywood has some astonishingly retrograde ideas about gender, so it’s probably not surprising that the industry’s norms on appropriate dating ages stopped evolving around 1850 or so. Men with faces like parched deserts routinely date and even marry women whose high school diplomas are still drying. It doesn’t exactly make them appear younger, but it’s enough to keep them viable as celebri- ties for a little longer. His adult children will mostly refuse to be seen in public with his new child bride, and once she has a baby, the public will silently tsk at him for his irresponsibility while begrudgingly admiring him for still being fertile at his age.

Compare this to the lady side of the aisle, where a forty-year-old female star with the kind of bikini body that 95 percent of twenty-year-olds would kill for gets raked over the coals by the press and the public for allowing someone under the age of thirty to find her attractive and have sex with her. She’ll get compared to predatory animals and generally be seen as a slightly sad figure, trying desperately to stave off her inevitable descent into irrelevancy. Fortunately, most of these ladies couldn’t give less of a shit what the rest of the world thinks of them (hence the sleeping with men decades younger than they are), and they ignore the constant frowning and poo-pooing being directed at them in order to concentrate on having yet another orgasm that day.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 15: Acts of Contrition

“Sometimes a star reaches a point where the arrests happen more frequently than financial reports or she’s done something that the public, not to mention the authorities, can’t easily forgive, like desecrating the flag or being photographed shooting up while nursing her baby. This is when you separate the winners from the nominees. It’s sink or swim time, and if a star has that special something, she’ll reach deep inside, find that inner strength, pry that rock out of her nose, wash her hair, borrow that dress, and show up on the courthouse steps sporting an eight-hundred-dollar pair of sunglasses and a renewed sense of purpose. The lesson here is, when you hit rock bottom, dress like you’re here to pick up your award.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 14: The Full Chernobyl

“It’s not that we love assholes so much, and it’s not even that we love celebrities (although that is, of course, a huge part of it). No, it’s because once again, a celebrity stands in for our own fears and desires, and when one of them simply snaps, while standing in front of forty paparazzi, we try to see some part of ourselves in them, some bit of our own struggles reflected in the actions of the wild-eyed, underfed teen pop star shaving off her eyebrows on a sidewalk at 3:00 a.m. And when some middle-aged overpaid douche bag, after years of living in a diamond-hard bubble of privilege, has a tantrum that escalates into a full-blown psychotic episode, again we rise to our feet as one and cheer. Not because we love overpaid middle-aged douche bags of privilege, but because there isn’t anyone out there who wouldn’t love to indulge in a little “Fuck you, world” moment. But since almost all of us have to live with the consequences of our actions in one form or another, most of us never do it, preferring instead to applaud the privileged few who are allowed to live as consequence-free a life as we will grant them. Of all the odd celebrity/fan relationships, this one’s easily the oddest.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 13: The Exhaustion Sweepstakes

"It’s always great if the singer can collapse on stage in midsong, in front of an audience of thousands. If nothing else, the phone videos on the Internet will be the most discussed item of the week. If there’s vomiting involved or pyrotechnics gone wrong, all the better. Besides, it’s always kind of hilarious when they do it, especially if there’s dancing involved; the backup dancers always hesitate for that one split second, wondering if she’s improvising and maybe she’s going to start popping and locking or spinning on her head or something.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 12: Flop Sweat

“The far more likely route that a desperate, post-flop star will take is to run into the comforting arms of past career triumphs and try to replicate them. These are the rom-com stars who wind up making ludicrously dramatic and glamorous epic love stories, playing characters much younger than their actual age. Or the aging action star who thinks the last movie flopped because he didn’t make enough implausible leaps from moving cars to moving trains. Basically, these are the stars who run from career failure straight into a new project that’s all about saying to the public, “This is why you love me, right?”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 11: Giving Unto Others

“Having played out every major life event and career triumph in front of an audience of millions, a celebrity will quite often develop a messiah complex and decide that what the world really wants from her is to tell it what to do. Despite the supreme condescension, this is often born out of a fear of career or public decline. It’s every insecure busybody friend you ever had, writ large. You know that friend who’s always bouncing checks and dating guys with teardrop tattoos but takes the time out of fucking up her life each day to tell you what you’re doing wrong with yours? Imagine if that friend had a publicist.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 10: The Epic Breakup

"The very best kinds of celebrity break-ups, the ne plus, is when each person involved is a singer. Oh Jesus, can you ever expect some lyrical payback when that happens. Actors don’t always get the chance to let their personal life inform their work so directly, but singers are encouraged to do so and rewarded for it. If those singers just happen to be bitter, vindictive, immature, and attention seeking, so much the better. Male rap and female country stars get the prize for most vindictive lyrics, but the dance-floor divas can achieve immortality if their song of triumph after pain becomes a gay or bachelorette party standard.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

Chapter 9: The Well-Orchestrated Cheating Scandal

“Celebrity adultery scandals come prepackaged with a set of archetypal characters, so that everyone gets to identify with one of them. Whether it’s a ladystar cheating on her celebrity husband with another celebrity or a male star cheating on his celeb better half with another ladystar, each character in this melodrama gets cast in one of three roles: the Temptress, the Bad Boy, and the Victim. There’s no room for any other interpretations. It always gets boiled down to a simplistic scenario straight out of a 1950s melodrama. Or The Old Testament. No matter who cheated on whom or who bears the most guilt, or which one of countless scenarios played out to get to this point, it always comes down to the Temptress, the Victim, and the Bad Boy.”

~ “Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me