Thursday, August 18, 2005


Our celebrity culture may distort what’s important in society, but the worst of it is not the drugs-and-sex distortion social conservatives decry. Far worse is that our obsessive interest in celebrities has become something like new parents’ obsessive interest in their children, giving outsize weight to the slightest and silliest bit of activity.

Parents can quiz junior for hours on the adventure of playing in the sandbox next door, hanging on every word — probably recording every word on digital video.

And we pay attention when Sean John Combs changes his name. Again.

Perhaps his several careers entitle him, even if this latest change does follow somewhat pathetically upon the heels of ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez taking back her nickname “J.Lo” entirely. Either way, the evolution from Sean Combs to “Puffy” to “Puff Daddy” to “P. Diddy” to “Diddy” (“Sean John” is reserved for the clothing he designs and sells; also lists the variations “P Diddy” and “P .Diddy” for awards show appearances) can’t possibly justify the length of his explanation to MTV News.

It’s five letters, one word. The name is changed. We made it simpler. We removed the P. The P was getting in between us. We’re entering the age of Diddy. A lot of my peeps in music been calling me Diddy, so it’s not a drastic change for them. But people around the world didn’t know what to call me. We was at [Madison Square Garden] rocking with Jay-Z. The last time I was there, half the crowd was chanting ‘P Diddy,’ half the crowd chanting ‘Diddy.’ We gonna stop the confusion. ‘Diddy. Diddy, Diddy!’ Simple. To the point and it sounds strong. It sounds like something is about to happen. It sounds like something is about to go down in history.

Sure it does. The level of delusion in this extended monologue would be staggering if it weren’t for the fact that MTV News, the World Entertainment News Network, and, well, me weren’t paying attention. Google shows some 230 hits for “The P was getting in between us” since the announcement was made two days ago.

This is why it’s so astonishing to think of the invective against celebrities expressing unpopular political views — because, as celebrities, they’re not allowed to have serious thoughts or opinions.

Combs thinks he’s cool. It’s hard not to when MTV lets his idolatrous ramblings run on to millions of viewers and plans an “unveiling of Diddy” ceremony for this month’s Video Music Awards.

He’s a jester, though, who prances and flounces for our pleasure. William Shatner gets to pimp, too, but Tim Robbins must shut up about Iraq. Combs will find out when he gets serious, as he did with his “Vote or die” campaign, that there’s a limit to his time in the spotlight. It’s limited to the time in which he entertains us. The name changes, while increasingly absurd, are getting less and less entertaining.


eric said...

Oooo, oooo, ooo!

Can I be referred to as E. Diddy from now on?

Indri said...

Wait, Lopez is taking J. Lo back? I thought she was done with it.

Like "Diddy" sounds like anything besides a word you teach a little kid to use in place of something dirty.

Scape7 said...

I guess that was unclear. Good point.

Jennifer Lopez took back the fact that she had the nickname "J.Lo." She gave up the nickname. Relinquished it.

(Too little, too late, of course.)

Sorry for the confusion.

eric said...

So my sister, Jill, can have it?

Cool, her birthday is coming up!

Scape7 said...

I have no problem with it, E. Diddy. We might as well take it off the market again. But wouldn't your sister be "J.Le"?

eric said...

No...I think J-Lo will better further her career. It's the least I could do for a bithday or Christmas gift. e