Madonna's P.R. Campaign Pays Off | Will Smith: Getting His $100 Goat | Christie’s Defense; Wmg Stock Ride; 'today' Saves Coldplay

Madonna's P.r. Campaign Pays Off

Sorry folks — I was out of pocket for a few hours today. In that time, many gossip minds went nuts.

Madonna, dear friends, is not having an affair with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. I know this is disappointing, but here’s the real story.

The singer and the ball player — who could be the new Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe but aren’ t — are both managed by Guy Oseary.

In every picture offered by US Weekly and the New York Post as evidence of this wild affair, there is only one man featured: Guy Oseary. He’s not invisible, so I have to think that the tabloids simply don’t identify him because it would ruin this fantasy.

And, no disrespect to Madonna, but why in the world would Rodriguez, who’s 32 and could cheat with any number of nymphets if he so chose, be interested in a 50 year old? And does anyone really think such an affair would be conducted in Madonna’s apartment while three children are there? Are people really this gullible?

The answer is: Yes.

Indeed, last week there was much discussion in this column and other places about Madonna’s concert ticket sales being slower than expected. Also, her album sales have been disappointing. Is it a coincidence that suddenly Oseary’s two clients have turned up in the tabloids as an item?

Uh, no.

Similarly, it was more than amusing to see an item about comic Sandra Bernhard, suggesting that she slagged Madonna over the weekend at a show in Toronto, or that they’re no longer friends. People! It was just more publicity. It was only last Friday night that Bernhard attended a Kabbalah “service” in New York with Madonna. She’s in all the video footage and paparazzi pictures. She, too, isn’t invisible.

Finally, this idea that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting a divorce is preposterous. But it’s stirred up interest in them, without a doubt. And this is why: not only does Madonna have a lot riding on her fall tour, but Ritchie has directed a feature film, called “RocknRolla,” due from Warner Bros. on October 31. After numerous flops, Guy needs a hit.

In other words: We are being subjected to a summer long P.R. campaign surrounding this couple just to build interest in them. Enough already! Oh yeah, is it working? Well, now you know about the film and the tour. I guess it is. Brilliantly.

Will Smith: Getting His $100 Goat

Much is being made of the private school funded by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith in Calabasas, Calif.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times published an article about New Village Academy, citing its inclusion of Scientology teaching in its curriculum. Some of the teachers, the Times said, are Scientologists. The Smiths deny being members of the group.

I told you in this column last year that Smith had donated money to Scientology’s LEAP curriculum. The Smiths' burgeoning friendship with Tom Cruise, Will Smith’s proclamations about Cruise's incredible work ethic and even Smith's new movie, "Hancock," which is about a reluctant superhero, point to an interest in the religious sect started by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

But a visit to the Web site for New Village Academy is even more revealing about the direction of the school, if not the Scientology involvement.

Smith’s students are getting an odd education in global policy. According to the school’s mission statement, students "recycle plastic bottles at 10 cents per bottle. Once we have $100 (1,000 bottles) we have enough money to buy a goat for a village in Africa, which can ensure the survival of this village."

Most rural Africans would agree that goats are not what they need at this point. When I got a tour of an extremely rural village in Botswana’s Okavango Delta last summer, I asked what the children there needed most.

"A school," replied our guide, Xanthe, without hesitation. He didn’t say, "goat." New Village Academy might be interested in this. African villages also need things like shoes, electricity, irrigation and medical supplies. That $100 might go a long way to getting those items through Save the Children, UNICEF and other proper organizations.

But the goat — this is what is making me nervous about New Village Academy. It’s not just the presence of a Scientology curriculum; it’s that the school was devised by movie stars who homeschooled their kids because they didn’t concur with the National Education Association or the United Teachers, groups that disseminate public education to 99 percent of the schoolkids in the United States.

As for the Scientology influence at New Village Academy: The school’s much-invoked mantra is "Spiral Up." Whether the Smiths know it or not, and I suspect they do, the word "spiral" is very much a part of the Scientologists' lexicon. It appears constantly throughout their propaganda. A "dwindling spiral" is when "one commits overt acts unwittingly."

That certainly describes Smith’s character, "Hancock," in his movie opening on Wednesday. Hancock uses his superpowers to keep disrupting society in big ways — destroying highways, buildings, etc., when "saving" victims — until he sees the light.

Christie's Defense; Wmg Stock Ride; 'today' Saves Coldplay

Christie Brinkley is stacking up her defense for her divorce trial on Wednesday. I’m told that the first witness for Brinkley will be good friend and respected writer/journalist Jill Rappaport.

Meantime, Peter Cook is sprucing up before the trial. He's been seen getting his nails done at Angel Tips in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Sources say he's been overheard referring to Brinkley as his "cash cow." ...

Warner M. Group had a quick, miraculous stock price rise this spring, reaching $9 on May 8. On May 12, Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s brother-in-law made almost $2 million selling at $8/share. He must have been prescient. On Monday WMG closed at $7.14. …

Coldplay’s "Viva la Vida" album will stay at No. 1 for a second week — thanks to the band's appearance last week on the "Today" show — but just by a whisper and no thanks to Capitol Records.

Capitol Records is minus a president, not to mention publicists, sales and promo people. Capitol’s parent, EMI, is said to be on the brink of announcing a chief for the record company — a marketing guy from Procter & Gamble.

Meantime, Capitol looks like it’s losing its grip on Katy Perry’s hit album, too. Well, music is like Pampers so this should all work out. Look for the Beatles in every package of Tide. ...