Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Watching this commercial made me realize something:

There's a level of fame that exists for certain celebrities for whom we have no respect. Not just the ones we dismiss outright, and heap scorn and ridicule upon like Joe Piscopo. I mean the ones we get to participate in their own scorn and ridicule heaping by letting them think they're good sports who are in on the joke....even though they aren't. The same sort of symbiotic relationship you had when you were younger with that one kid who you'd let hang around because he allowed you to do the cruelest things to him and he'd just take it. In this scenario, we're the cool kids sitting at the cool table and they're the desperate, love-starved dweebs who are willing to do anything for a mere scrap of our attention. And money. People like:
  • WILLIAM SHATNER - The Alpha. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - Yes, but it was a loooong time ago. Before Star Trek became a cultural phenomenon, before George Takei devoted his life to hating him, before the hairpieces and before "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
  • DAVID HASSELHOFF - The Next Shatner. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - When he was the star of the original (aka "good") "Knight Rider", he seemed pretty cool. Following that with the ridiculous "Baywatch", the even more ridiculous "Baywatch Nights" and the downright outlandish "Singing Career", all of which he seemed to take seriously, and he burned through whatever good will credit he had established in no time.
  • SNOOP DOGG - America's Pet Pothead. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - Are you kidding? We were scared shitless of him! When he first appeared, he was a sinister, menacing figure who may or may not have killed someone. He was rolling with Dr. Dre, the leader of one of hip hop's most notorious crews, NWA, who had more songs about killing cops than Alanis Morrisette does about bad relationships. Now, even little old grannies dig Snoop: "Oh my, that Snoop is such a scamp! He sure does enjoy his marijuana."
  • CHUCK NORRIS - Toughest Man In The World. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - Sure. He had some martial arts credibility and a pretty sweet gig appearing in a string of action flicks that were in some sort of strange middle ground between major studio releases and b-movies. Then some smartasses started a list of "facts" about him that he seemed to endorse as, well, facts.
  • FABIO - Romance Novel Cover Boy. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - Hmm, I don't know. When somebody makes a living by being cartoonishly good looking and then gets hit in the face by a goose, respect really doesn't factor into it...
  • MR. T - Action Figure. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - The first glimpse most of us got of Mr. T was during the opening montage of "Rocky 3", featuring him working out in an abandoned building or savagely thrashing people in a boxing ring, all while grunting and scowling like a vicious animal. He followed that movie up with "DC Cab", "The A-Team" and an affiliation with pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. Still, he might have been able to survive all of that if we didn't discover that when he laughs, he giggles like a little girl.
  • ED McMAHON - HiYo! DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - Well, as Johnny Carson's sidekick on the Tonight Show, he played a part in establishing what is still the gold standard in late night television talk shows., probably not.
  • MC HAMMER - Hammer. DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - At a time when the nation was wringing it's collective hands over the rise of hip hop music and the violence that seemed to be such a big part of it, Hammer was selling a ton of records with consistently uplifting, positive messages, but he never received critical acclaim. He then blew all the money he made, in large part because out of loyalty to his roots, he went back to his old neighborhood and employed a bunch of people who sucked him dry. What a chump.
  • GARY COLEMAN - Watchu Talkin' 'Bout, Willis? DID WE EVER RESPECT HIM? - It doesn't matter; Gary Coleman hates us.

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