Friday, April 01, 2005


I'm trying really, really hard to keep this blog focused on international and social issues that speak to us all as humans first and nationalities second, and with that in mind I feel it's my duty to point out that Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak, a global treasure, has his own blog at, where he writes about baseball and his thoughts on being a Republican in Democrat-centred Hollywood and other interesting, essential issues central to our perserverance as a species, and if you're wondering how I came across this information, it's so that you wouldn't have to. Not everyone can handle that much Pat; I can. Enter at your own discretion, and don't blame me for the consequences.


"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."

-- Mitch Hedberg


I was just thinking: At one point, Gary Coleman was the man. He was the dude. You can't get any bigger than Diff'rent Strokes. You can't. He had his ass kissed on a daily basis. People cut his hair for free, brought him sandwiches, secretly rooted for him because their jobs depended on how funny he was.

And then one day the show was cancelled, and he becomes a joke. I know, because I've made jokes about him, and Emmanuel Lewis, too. That's not right. (And for my birthday one year a few years back my friends Eric and Greg took me to Yuk Yuk's comedy club in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where the featured comedians were Marc 'Skippy' Price from Family Ties, along with his special guest, Emmanuel 'Webster' Lewis from Webster, and it was so sad, seeing these two young men who had provided so much entertainment for me as a kid, reduced to groping for laughs from an audience who were more urgently concerned with downing some beer and, potentially, copping a few feels from their dates.)

That's what sucks about success -- it never, ever lasts. Ask Milton Berle. George Burns. Chevy Chase. Gerald Ford. The dude who played handyman Schneider on One Day at a Time. Eventually, it goes, leaves, hikes up its thumb and hits the road. That's what I think about when I watch the Oscars, or listen to music, or cruise the net. We are viewing the next generation of has-beens. It's an illusion, all of it, the whole deal. Instead of thinking of 'celebrity' as something that one goes out and actually aspires to and achieves, it's better to think of it as something that one lives through, and emerges from, scalded but alive (hopefully).

And the great thing about living abroad is that you begin to learn that being famous doesn't, mean, shit. You know why? Because noone's famous. Not really.

You think anybody in Japan or Cambodia knows who Oprah Winfrey is? Ray Romano? Yes, sure, Brad Pitt is huge in Japan, and Tom Cruise, but that's about it. They don't know who the hell Johnny Carson was, and they don't care. The only westerners that Cambodians can recognize are George W. Bush and maybe, if they have a satellite dish, Larry King.

All the things that the western media focus on, the Jerry Springers and Dr.Phils and P.Diddy's and Puff Daddy's and 50 Cents and Madonnas and Jack Nicholsons and whomever, it's all transitory; it's all see-through. They're all the Gary Colemans of the future. We just have to wait.

Reality TV has made the everyman a celebrity, which means nobody is a celebrity. Maybe it's better to focus on the people who live next door to us, or across the street, rather than the ones on a supermarket tabloid while we buy out Ben and Jerry's. (Which, incidentally, I don't think I've ever tried, given that that particular ice cream brand isn't available in Canada, I don't think, but I'm reaching for a colourful image. And yes, I spelled 'colourful' with a 'u', because that's how Canadians spell it. I need to hang on to my Canadian heritage and language usage in order to maintain my citizenship. If you don't believe me, just see bylaw 056479-03321-A section three, paragraph two, line four, right under the picture of Pamela Anderson, who, true story, at the time of her birth, was somehow chosen as Canada's Centennial Baby because she was born on July 1, 1967, which was Canada's one hundredth birthday, and nobody knew at the time that she would grow up to be a bona-fide representative of California bimbodom because she was a) a baby, and b) a Canadian, but there you go. And she recently received American citizenship, as did Jim Carrey, as did Michael J.Fox, as did Peter Jennings, and it's not that I'm against them doing it, as they still maintain their Canadian citizenship, but I can't help but feeling a lit bit, as a Canadian, deflated because of it. Which shows you how celebrity has wrecked my world, because I know all of the above facts, when I really should know more about the pythagorean theorem and the Versailles treaty. Don't know shit about either.)

The people on the floor us below might not be as interesting as Rosie O'Donnell or Kirstie Alley, no, but, assuming you stay in the same place, I'm betting you that they, unlike insert-celebrity-name-here will still be around and relevant in twenty, thirty years time.

And they'll probably have something to say.

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