The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, November 28, 2003  

A Woman Without a Past?

Is Tina Brown expecting everyone to have forgotten her past? Her star-gazing days at Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Talk?

After reading her latest column in the Washington Post, “Kicking the Stuffing Out of Celebrities,” published on Thanksgiving Day, one might be tempted to reach that conclusion.

Focusing mainly on the recent arrest of singer Michael Jackson, Brown discusses the unique problems faced by the rich and famous, those caused by the trappings of high celebrity. In doing so, Brown mocks something called “the bio-porn industry,” leaving the reader to recall on his own Brown’s prominent role in creating that very same business as we know it today.

Brown also offers this gag line:

One thing to give thanks for this morning is not being Michael or Kobe or Phil or Paris or Martha or any of the other spectacles of the great American circus. There should be a celebrity branch of the Animal Rights League. Media exposure is so pitiless and relentless that fallen stars might as well go to the Baghdad zoo.

Yes, `tis a pity for Tina Brown that the public seems incapable of getting enough celebrity news and gossip that a giant media-industrial complex has emerged to try to satisfy that hunger -- and profit from it.

And Brown, who earned her place in publishing history by mastering, for a while anyway, the art of “the buzz,” now demonstrates an amazing flair for subtlety, though perhaps unintentionally. “Henry Kissinger,” Brown writes, “once commented that the best thing about being famous is that when you’re boring, people think it’s their fault.”

Nice try, Tina, but when it comes to your columns, readers know exactly who the boring one is.

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