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If I Were A Celebrity You Would Care
#2 & #3

Ape Culture's correspondent Gary Baum's riff on Detour's "Living Space"
& "Catty Corner"


Gary Baum, writer, essayist, contemporary culture critic, and distinguished sixteen-year-old publisher of My Manifesto, pauses here to reflect on the favorite aspect of his Living Space -- his toilet.

A writer, his toilet, Calabasas, California

"For me, the toilet has always revealed an abundance of answers and depth to life. Visiting the stall provides me with a place of quiet and solitude. I enter a dreamlike state there. My bathroom is completely decked out. I have everything I need within reaching distance. Lysol, toilet paper, reading material, a small television set, a phone. I conduct business on the can. I make shit happen, both figuratively and literally. The toilet is symbolic for me, no matter where I am in the world I will seek out a toilet like mine, a santuary that grounds me in this crazy world."

Gary Baum, writer, essayist, contemporary culture critic, and distinguished sixteen-year-old publisher is used to being obsessive on his webzine, My Manifesto, but he's really gone off the deep end recently. What gets Baum pissed? Glad you asked.


My 10 Dislikes (in no particular order)

1. Celebrity profiles
This encompasses most of the other dislikes listed below. Celebrity profiles are a paradox for magazine journalists. They get cover stories, contributor bios, large sums of money, but there has to be no self-respect with this stuff. The profile genre is not crappy all of the time...when someone is profiled and they are not famous there is usually something worthwhile and interesting about them that merits such publicity. Celebrities can act all cool and detached and enigmatic and really just be assholes with no individuality.

2. Celebrity hairdos
This transcends the Jennifer Aniston deal from a few years back. It also reaches into those lists in beauty magazines where famous (and usually cinematically-inclined) stars talk about what makes them photogenic. There are entire pages in magazines that are dedicated to this new breed of celebrity dermatologist.

3. Celebrity hangouts
Specifically, after they are not hot anymore. Trendy, expensive, and elitish places that you read about in magazines, such as Detour. In Los Angeles, a restaurant or club or any other sort of 'hang out' is hot for about three to six months and then nobody goes there. Once the buzz has died down the staff and management still act like they are hot shit when, in fact, they aren't anymore.

4. Celebrity stupidity
Two parts to this one. First, where big-name stars (such as Geri Halliwell) champion causes (such as zero population growth) not because they know much about them but because it is good publicity. Second, where relatively intelligent celebrities get into Ivy league schools not because they are anything wonderful academically or are well-rounded as a person (see Claire Danes at Yale) but because they are stars.

5. Celebrity originality
Every celebrity is portrayed in their profile (see #1) as original. But they are not. Even the ones that you think have something to offer. They don't.

6. Celebrity advice columns
Normal life experience for most famous people is limited. They are treated like stars wherever they go. So then they get hitched up with (usually ghost-written) advice columns in glossy magazines, newspapers, or tabloids (read Ivana Trump) and tell everyone how to live their lives. I mean, I take offense at anyone spewing their advice on me (Dr. Laura, for instance) but when celebrities do it I want to crawl into a hole and scream.

7. Celebrity monologues
which try to make the star look normal in various forms of media. I hate this. Really, this is the worst. Two of the best examples are Elton John and his song that goes "my gift is my song, yeah/and this one's for you," or something like that. All I know is that in the song part of the refrain is where he explains that he has no money and so all he has to offer is the love that comes from his music-making capabilities. Elton, hello! You are mainstream. You are worth who knows how much money. You sell out your tours. The one word that keeps going off in my head when I hear that song is 'hypocrite'. I mean, it's like why doesn't he just stop singing that song or at least change the lyrics so that he does not sound like so much of a wanker? Oh, and also Brad Pitt and Meatloaf in Fight Club. Specifically, when Pitt is giving that speech about how everyone dreams of being a movie or rock star but how when we all realize that that is not going to happen to us, we want hit someone. Personally, I would have been a lot happier if some young unknown character actor had delivered that speech. All I kept on thinking was "Brad Pitt is saying this and Meat loaf is in the background nodding in agreement." Oh, and I remember a couple of months ago reading that Pitt said somewhere that people need to not be so superficial. I think it was Leno who said that after Pitt finished his speech on consumerism in America today he hopped into his new, fully-loaded Porsche and drove home to have sex with Jennifer Aniston (see #2).

8. Celebutots
Alt.culture describes them best as a product of "late-century media...[where] celebrity entrance qualifications get lower, and the star-maker machinery is grateful for anything with a doicum of name recognition. Thus, American culture is presently awash with star-spawn, of varying degrees of accomplishment." Examples include Carnie Wilson, Sophia Coppola, Eleanor Mondale, and Frank Zappa's kids. The phenomenon is true, but pathetic, and definitely annoying. I mean, with entrance qualifications so low, everyone should be asking themselves why they haven't hosted their own failed talk show yet.

9. Celebrity name-dropping
If you live in Los Angeles, you know people who know people who know people who usually know celebutots but sometimes luck out by knowing a big-name star. Everyone is in the industry and everyone thinks they know what's what. But hardly any do. And those thare are inside the 'loop' are smart enough to keep their mouths shut.

10. Celebrity gripe lists like this one
'Nuff said.

Read Gary Baum's If I Were A Celebrity You Would Care #1.


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