With all that’s going on in the world, it’s fascinating how many people are truly obsessed with the comings and goings of celebrities.
Take this anecdote emailed to me from FOX News’ terrific foreign correspondent Amy Kellogg:
“I went to see a retired diplomat in Tehran. It was the morning after the U.S. elections. He asked me if I had the latest news from America. I said, “Yes, it looks like the Democrats won the House and probably the Senate, but we’re still waiting for the count.”
He said, “No, no, the big story,” and gave a giggle. “Britney Spears is getting a divorce.”
That’s right — forget about Iran’s nuclear weapons or the shifting of power in Congress … Britney Spears is getting a divorce!
It’s official: We are a Global Village of Gossip Hounds. With that in mind, I’ll give you a quick primer on what’s happening, in case you’re not quite as plugged in as that diplomat in Tehran.
· O.J. Simpson is reportedly being paid $3.5 million for a book and TV special titled, “If I Did It, Here’s How it Happened,” in which he basically confesses to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
I can see celebrities salivating at the chance to cash in on their bad deeds. Up next: Naomi Campbell stages, “If I Threw a Cell Phone at My Maid’s Head, Here’s How it Would Look.”
· Tom Cruise’s coming out party for his love of Katie Holmes may have happened on "Oprah," but the daytime diva was not invited to the real party — TomKat’s wedding. Oprah says the couple could only invite a “limited” number of people. Yeah — I hear space is tight at that 53,000 square-foot Italian castle.
· Kevin Federline took to a Virginia stage this week, threw his middle finger in the air and cursed Britney Spears. This after claiming he has a 4-hour sex tape of himself and Brit, who are also said to have played chess in the tape. If this guy can have sex for four hours and play chess, this’ll be the best PR he ever gets.
· And while concert halls are canceling K-Fed’s shows or giving away free tickets, the wannabe rapper is making backstage demands that include Jack Daniels, Grey Goose Vodka, two packs of Marlboros and aromatherapy candles. His audience, however, is merely demanding he have talent.
· Borat, aka comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, was slapped with more than a lawsuit by his latest victim. Baron Cohen was walking in New York with pal Hugh Laurie of “House” fame when he asked a passerby for his clothes while in character as Borat. The guy responded by slugging Borat in the face … thereby giving Kazakhstan a lesson in the “Cultural Learnings of New Yorkers.”
· Although they drive Priuses and preach the dangers of global warming, members of Hollywood’s film and TV community make more air pollution than five other L.A. sectors studied, say UCLA researchers. And that doesn’t even include their chain-smoking.
· In an upcoming interview, arms dealer Adnan Kashoggi does not deny he once paid Heather Mills for a night of sex. Word is Paul McCartney thinks Kashoggi got off easy — four years of sex with Heather will likely cost him $130 million.
Speaking of Paul … his new concert DVD “The Space Within Us” is terrific. There are lots of Beatles favorites, performed on tour last year in the U.S. and Canada. Keep your eyes out for flashes of famous fans in the crowds, including John Cusack, Billy Joel (singing along to “Magical Mystery Tour”) and Kiss’ Paul Stanley.
There are few artists who can sustain careers long enough to see signs held up at their concerts that say, “My Grandma Saw You in Candlestick Park.”
McCartney autographed copies of the DVD last week at the Virgin Records store in New York’s Times Square. Some folks camped out for two days to see Paul. I talked to a couple of guys in their '50s at about 1 p.m. who’d been on line since 6 that morning. Clearly the Heather Mills divorce mess has not dampened mania over this Beatle.
Walking into the store, I saw heaps of product displays that included Beatles lunch boxes, T-shirts, albums, books and even a 30-inch talking John Lennon doll. Yes, it was blatant commercialism, but it actually made my eyes well up with tears.
Seeing the fans on line — most of them graying at the temples, having grown up with the Beatles — and then seeing the young, fresh faces of the four lads from Liverpool, I understood what Paul symbolized.
As the guy who co-wrote much of the soundtrack to their lives — their wedding song, perhaps, or the song they heard during their first kiss — Paul is not just a pop star, but also a reminder of a purer, simpler time. A symbol of hope.
And though there was an unpopular war in the '60s, much like there is a hotly debated war now, the biggest boy band in the land provided solace through their music — not salacious distraction through their divorces and sex tapes.