Saturday, March 27, 2004


Some man in Arizona intends to sue Richard Simmons for bitch-slapping him -- he made fun of Simmons’ exercise videos -- although the violence of such an encounter is obviously like the bite of a kitten after it’s been antagonized with playful wrestling.

My friend Mike was once told to “fuck off” by a drunken, disoriented Elliott Gould and didn’t go off crying about it, because it’s a badge of honor to share a moment with a celebrity that rises above, or sinks below, the usual “Love your work, can you sign this for my daughter?” moment. I rode on a plane with Jeff Goldblum once and would give just about anything to be able to boast that he’d maliciously tripped me as I lurched my way toward the restroom. In reality, because he was in first and I was in coach, I didn’t even know he was on the plane until after we’d landed.

It’s all part of our grotesque fascination with celebrities, which manifests itself in our increasing consumption of gossip and patience with celebrity profiles -- the ones in which no-names write themselves into the stories pretending they know what a star is like after hanging out with them for a few hours. They say or ask daring things to elicit an unplanned response, portraying themselves as heroes that dare to mock the gods. (“Naomi, clad in blue sweatpants and a Nascar T-shirt with a 2-inch blue stain near the neck, held her orange juice with her left hand. I made a comment about menstruation. She switched the glass to her other hand, smiled like a goddess and began stroking my thigh. The clock ticked.”)

We now have this model to follow when meeting a celebrity ourselves. So insulting Richard Simmons is a cheap thrill, and getting face-spanked by him is a gratifying response.

Suing is taking it too far. Go back to your ordinary, humble life, sir; your cameo is over.

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