Sunday, June 19, 2005

If You Can't Take It, Don't Dish It Out.

Every time I think the world just can’t get any screwier, something happens that makes me totally re-evaluate it.

Today I heard a story.

Ever heard of the shock-jock, Howard Stern?

Course you have.

Know who his girlfriend is?


Well, his girlfriend, the model Beth Ostrosky, being an apparent hottie; got the inevitable FHM cover.

Now that isn’t so screwy, it happens all the time. If you happen to be a very attractive woman, and get in the public eye somehow, chances are, at some point, you’ll end up on TV or on a magazine cover.

This happens all the time. Look at the socialite ‘celebrities’. The women who are famous for being famous. For example, Paris Hilton.

Lots of money? Check.
Long blonde hair? Check.
Nice pair of breasts? Check.
Willing to show off said breasts in a series of revealing outfits? Check.
Happen to be in a high-profile nightclub when the press is present? Check.
Any discernable talent? Maybe, but doubtful.

Congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of magazine covers, and bloody terrible reality TV shows. Apparently, all it takes to become a celebrity these days is a nice rack, and a nearby camera.

A few weeks ago, Jake Bronstein, the Editor-at-large of FHM America was interviewed on my favourite TV show, G4TV’s ‘Attack of the Show’ (There’s a link to their website on the left).

It just so happened that Howard Stern’s girlfriend was on the cover that month. The Editor was explaining the photo shoot, and started talking about the accompanying interview. (More accurately described as the ‘girlfriend excuse’…no darling, I wasn’t looking at her nearly bare breasts, I was simply reading the informative article.)

Kevin Pereira, the host asked:

“What can you actually ask her about? She’s only known for being Howard Stern’s girlfriend.”

Bronstein also said: “"Nobody knew who Beth Ostrosky was before she became Howard Stern's girlfriend…It was a good move on her part."

Fair points, don’t you think?

I know that sounds a little like he was saying Beth Ostrosky got involved with Stern purely for the fame…but in the context of the interview, it didn’t mean that. He was just pointing out that her relationship with Stern gave her career a boost. Which is true.

For example, If I happened to own a 6-pack, instead of the beer keg that adorns my middle, and just happened to have a face that looked slightly less like an arse…if my wife was a film star, and I ended up in a photo shoot, I’d expect all the questions to be along the lines of: “So what is it like to be married to Sunny?”

After all, she’s the talented one, I just happen to be a bit of convenient eye-candy. Sure, I may have my own things going on the side, maybe writing a column for a magazine, or I may be a z-list celebrity in my own right, but who do you want to hear about? The slightly well-known, or the world-famous?

Breasts and six-packs sell magazines and, let’s face it, very few people care what those boobs and that washboard stomach have to say. Let’s face it, would Pamela Anderson or Paris Hilton be on TV if they looked like Gomer Pile? Would Brad Pitt be half as famous if he looked like he’d fallen from the top of the ugly tree, hit every branch on the way down, and was then administered a sound beating with the ugly stick for good measure?

I don’t think so.

I’m not saying that every attractive female that has ever graced the cover of a men’s magazine is an airhead, bimbo or not a worthwhile person. I just mean, from a media point of view, very few are actually interesting.

Models tend to be famous for being good looking. Some of them turn out to have led interesting lives, but most of them tend to follow the “I got spotted by a talent scout in the local supermarket, and here I am today.” Storyline. We’ve heard that before, we don’t care. We just want to know if they have any interesting gossip about their famous partner.

It’s not just true for girls either. Ladies, when you see the new Ralph Lauren underwear billboard, you don’t suddenly develop an interest in where the well endowed guy in the tighty-whiteys went to school…you just wonder what’s under that small piece of white cotton.

Anyway. The FHM editor turned the question into a bit of a joke, explaining how in that sense you have to be a little tactful, and act interested in what the girl had to say, then just work in their relationship to the famous person.

Think of it this way. Imagine that a major celebrity gets a new non-celebrity girlfriend. She’s good looking, and ends up being in your magazine.

What are you going to ask her? Are you going to go over her life, step by step, in the hope of finding something halfway interesting? Or do you simply focus on her relationship with the celebrity?

You focus on her relationship, all the way. Your readers don’t care if the model is interesting; they just want to know about the bigger celebrity they’re involved with. If you interview a bit player from a movie, the first thing you ask is “What was it like working with (insert big star’s name here).”

Kevin Pereira and Jake Bronstein weren’t being vindictive or purposefully trying to humiliate Howard Stern, or his girlfriend. Pereira was simply asking a valid question, and receiving a valid answer.

Ok, I’ve set this up enough. Here comes the crazy part.

The next day, Howard Stern, on his show, started bitching and whining about how unfair to his girlfriend ‘Attack of the Show’ was. He also said “They kind of made me out to be a total dope.”

This was reported on ‘Attack of the Show’.

Pereira’s reaction?

He said, live on air, that they weren’t deliberately being offensive, and actually said he was flattered that someone like Howard Stern had even heard of them. Apologetic and flattering.

The story doesn’t end there.

A few days later, FHM’s Editor-in-Chief gets the sack.

Now I have to point out that FHM’s editor’s sacking is not directly linked to Howard Stern, although it was reported on ‘Page 6’ that Howard Stern had him sacked, and at this point in time, the story has not yet been retracted. In Bronstein’s personal blog, he also states that the ‘Howard Stern Incident’ was why he was sacked.

Right now it’s ‘officially’ only a rumor, but a highly likely and plausible one.

Now I can understand someone being upset that they were made to look a little stupid, and that it was insinuated that their girlfriend wasn’t super-talented on national TV…but Howard Stern?

This is a so-called “Shock Jock”. A guy who makes his living being as politically incorrect as possible. Here’s a guy who says what he likes on his radio show, and basically tells the world to suck his cock if they don’t like it. Here’s a guy who is apparently dead set against censorship.

If you’ve ever listened to this guy’s radio show, in my opinion, it is absolutely terrible. It’s basically an entire show based around insulting people, and him telling a procession of models to show him their boobs. Real ‘lowest common denominator’ entertainment.

This is what Howard Stern ‘shock-jock’ is known for. Making fun of celebrities and giving the censors heart attacks.

It seems that Howard Stern feels he should be allowed to be as insulting, as politically incorrect and as ‘in your face’ as he wants to be. However, no one else should be able to do the exactly same thing as he does, especially if it’s a jibe against him or someone he cares about.

A show that ‘kind of’ makes him out to be a ‘total dope’, is going to far.

Howard Stern laughing his ass off at everyone else is fine, but woe betide anyone who so much as insinuates something less than complimentary about his girlfriend, or puts him in a slightly bad light, however mild the so called ‘insult’ is.

A guy whose job it is to make fun of everyone else gets upset when someone even insinuates something bad about him.

What a hypocritical, self absorbed asshole.

If you want to retain any kind of credibility in a shock-jock image, don’t make shows like “Son of the Beach”, make a career out of laughing at people and giving the censors the middle finger…then throwing a hissy fit, and having someone fired, all because someone was mildly unkind to your girlfriend…especially when what they say is true.

Every model that has been on his show has spent most of the segment being told she’s hot, being asked about her boobs and getting hit on. He regularly makes other people out to be ‘dopes’.

Seems Mr. Stern tasted his own medicine and didn’t like it. Seems Mr. Stern thinks that it’s perfectly acceptable to ruin someone’s career, just because they acted slightly like him.

What I want to know is why is different because this time? Because the well endowed blonde is his girlfriend? Because, for a change, it’s someone else making fun of him?. In fact, ‘making fun’ is too strong a word. Asking a valid question, and exposing a slightly embarrassing truth is more accurate.

Come on! How ridiculous can one person be?

I mean, even if he didn’t have ‘editor’ fired, the fact he was bitching about it on his radio show is laughable. It’s like a professional thief complaining because his own house was broken into.

It seems Howard Stern enjoys being the biggest bully in the playground, but runs to the teachers when a kid hits him back.

You can’t make a career out of humiliating people, and run crying when someone gets you back.

I’m looking forward to a real celebrity getting Stern fired next time he decides to do the very thing he got Bronstein fired for…again.


Miz S said...

Don't like Sterns In-Your-Face type of trash show.

Too abrasive-I lived with that in another life and would best not re-live it.....even for a few minutes of shock radio listening.


Vicarious Living said...

I'm all for freedom of speech and his right to a radio show and all that, but personally have no real interest in him. He's 5% funny, 95% annoying as hell. And obviously does not understand the rules of fair's fair.

Magazine models - whoo. hoo.
A relative unknown dating a celebrity - well what did you expect people to ask you about?
It's just all so pointless, and really, you can look at hoochies at any mall or beach, who needs magazines?

Kato said...

I'm with Cindy, he can do and say what he likes, but for the most part I find him more annoying than anything else.