Monday, September 28, 2009

The Shameless Hall of Fame

The bar for embarrassment is so high now it's almost out of sight for celebrities who do things that would make the rest of us die of shame.

Tom DeLay, who left Congress under a cloud of Jack Abramoff corruption, is ready to sashay in sequins on "Dancing With the Stars."

Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York for caucusing with call girls, shows up on Bill Maher's show, pontificating about the economy alongside Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and defending capitalism against Michael Moore.

Rod Blagojevich, under indictment for (in David Remnick's words) trying to sell Obama's Senate seat "as if it were a used Barcalounger on eBay," is doing TV shows (including Jon Stewart's) to plug his new book and making himself available to lecture at universities and corporate meetings and, from the evidence of his website, would no doubt be happy to do his Elvis impersonation for a price at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Mark Foley, who bowed out of the House for hitting on teen-age pages with sexually explicit e-mails, is back as the host of his own radio talk show.

But being disgraced and bouncing back, according to a New York Times media critic, is no longer enough. The fallen have to be outrageous enough to warrant a second chance in the spotlight.

"Politicians," writes Alessandra Stanley, "can no longer talk their way out of trouble, they have to shake it off by revealing their inner dancing fool. Celebrities can’t just write a tell-all biography and earn a coveted appearance on 'Oprah,' they must disclose a horrifying secret"--such as Mackenzie Phillips' nostalgia about sharing drugs and having sex with her father.

Yet someone is trying to draw a line. Eugene Robinson, as a columnist and commentator who "used to like John Edwards a lot," has now decided that the former presidential candidate is irredeemable--"a bad cad."

What tore it?

"Edwards is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign-finance violations, though I think it will be hard for the law to lay a glove on him.

"But looking forward, with his mistress, to the day when Elizabeth would die? Planning a post-funeral wedding? Choosing the rock band? Even if all this was just a fairy tale meant to reassure Hunter and keep her quiet, I can't have any 'like' for John Edwards anymore."

Robinson's disgust is refreshing as is Elizabeth Edwards' reported angry blogging but, if and when the $400 haircut man eventually shows up with an oily memoir, any bets on whether most of the media will welcome him back to make a case for his oh-so-sincere rehabilitation?


Fuzzy Slippers said...

"sashay in sequins" = Perfection!

What can we say? We're a forgiving society (as long as that doesn't include white Christians, anyway). ;)

Yellow Dog Don said...

As Jack Cafferty said on CNN, "When he (DeLay)goes to prison they can show that, like the dances and stuff, to the general inmate population."

Bubba will be pleased.

Holte Ender said...

The American public seem to be hooked on celebrities. Whether they be, lying, cheating, thieving politicians, or, people who are famous for being famous, and the media knows this.