Thursday, 20 August 2009

Fame can be murder

In his best-selling book Downsize This, Michael Moore argued that OJ Simpson was innocent, because he was too stupid, pampered and priviledged to risk it all on a crime of passion. Taking his idea further, he suggested that the vast majority of Hollywood's finest would never commit violent crime because they simply have too much to lose.

It's an interesting thought, even if it never popped up on Perry Mason as a viable defence option. But Michael's book was published in 1996, before the world of celebrity opened itself up to anyone with a willingness to surrender their privacy, integrity and soul in exchange for a few front covers and a house with a pool. Thanks to the explosion of reality TV, the majority of Hollywood's population is neither great nor good. So when it comes to propensity for violent crime, it seems like all bets are off.

Today's entertainment bulletins are leading with a story about a new VH1 show called Megan Wants A Millionaire. In this tasteful sounding 'game show', an avaricious tart called Megan Hauserman screens 17 single millionaires to find herself a husband.

The whole series is already in the can, but now it sounds as though it's also in the pan. Unfortunately, one of the eligible, 'stable' bachelors, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, is wanted by California police, since the naked body of his wife was found strangled and stuffed in a suitcase inside a dumpster.

Don't worry, there was no typo. When the show wrapped in late March, Ryan went to Las Vegas and met Jasmine in a strip club where she was working. They married two days later. Despite these inauspicious beginnings, it's still shocking to think that the marriage could end with such grim abruptness. The police would like to question Ryan about the murder, but he's on the lam, presumably hiding out in Canada where he's exempt from extradition for a capital crime.

Meanwhile, over on So You Think You Can Dance, producers will be reeling from the news that the show's one-time choreographer, Alex Da Silva, has been charged with eight cases of sexual assault. His alleged crimes include four seperate rapes, plus four other assaults which took place between 2002 and 2009. The victims were all aspiring dancers who met Da Silva through the dance classes he taught.

Although Megan Wants A Millionaire has been pulled from the schedules, and producers of SYTYCD will no doubt be a little skittish for a while, the long term effects of these shocking crimes will be minimal at best. After all, the old cliche about 'no such thing as bad publicity' seems to get truer with every passing day. And as long as people are willing to debase and devalue themselves in pursuit of a career in media, front page news will never be seen as anything but a triumph.

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