We should all be shot. Or, rather, taken out back, tied up to our trees, and whipped with our cable cords until not one of us can wrap our driveling mouths around the words Brad, Jen, Bennifer, Britney and/or any joke involving the term "Gigli."
Shame, shame on us.
Watching the world curl over in belly-laughter last week as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez reportedly finalized their figurative Greek tragedy (minus the blood) left a synthetic stain on the seat of my pants. Who gives a shit? Who? Well, even your grandmother does, apparently.
For what seems like months, entertainment hacks have been pouring idle speculation to (reasonably) valid media sources -- including Katie Couric's shoes -- saying things like, "God bless Ben and Jen for paying my paycheck. I hope they last forever." The affluent Afflecks-to-be even went as far as to let snaky Pat O'Brien into their house for an NBC taping that revealed little real chemistry at all. No surprise there.
"So you are dating, huh?" O'Brien sneezed.
"Uh, uh," uh-ed Lopez.
"I guess we just found out, it seems," snarked Affleck.
"This is your first interview together," juiced O'Brien. "What does it feel like? You're finally doing this."
"Good, pretty good, I gather," Affleck looked away. "It is like being stoned, apparently. [laughter] No!"
Additional flaccid inanity ensued, as the couple pretended to cook dinner and never once mentioned their actual personal worth, beyond that of skeets in a global skeet shoot-off. Uncomfortable, I tried to cook some sympathy dinner, too. Except I don't eat.
"Do you realize how fascinated America is by you? I mean, do you ever say, 'What happened here?'" Such is the extent of O'Brien's vapidity.
"It's so weird to even hear you say that," Lopez employed the term "weird" to decidedly beige effect.
"Yeah," Affleck chopped an onion.
"It's like such a strange thing," Lopez Lopezed. "No, we don't sit around here and think about that."
"I don't know what's the fascination," Affleck is from Boston. "It seems strange to me. I don't know what to tell you. I think you can really make yourself crazy if you start thinking about who is paying attention to me, who is interested in me."
Surely, deeper conversations have occurred over a half-bottle of Boone's Farm behind the dumpster at a high-school dance. But these two were set to be married. Like, multimillion-dollar ring married. No wonder the world hates us.
Asked about the temporary reprieve offered by Ashton and Demi in terms of tabloid exploitation, Affleck demurred as much as Affleck can demur.
"Elated. I tried to drum that up. I'm constantly calling the tabloids, like, 'Have you guys heard about Kirk Douglas and Mandy Moore?'" he grabbed another straw. "You know, I sort of anticipated that, like, there would be a certain amount of attention this would get and then something else would come along that would be more tabloid fodder."
To wit, I myself took an assignment recently from the coveted Wenner enterprise of US Weekly, reporting on the early dating habits of one Justin Timberlake. From a smattering of insider remnants still longing for the boyband halcyon days, I culled a page and a half of quotes, most saying that, "Justin's really shy," and that, "He's really mature for his age." I was a history major, after all. And 'N Sync are definitely history, right? Anyway, when the cover feature hit the streets last week, it contained only one quote from my efforts, yet still paid me twice what one of these columns does (that's two wheat pennies, not one). The moral here: I am not above opportunism. Viva la sensationalism!
But I feel bad. Honest I do. Although not as bad as I would have felt saying that the Judy curse is alive and well, and that David Gest was always gayer than me. I don't dig that deep. Just the same, it's demand that begets supply, and without trailer-park paeans for celebrity dish, said dish would be reserved for the local potluck and its requisite pot roast.
Omigod. It feels like I'm growing a conscience. Scratch that.
So what happens now? Is the dish falling off the shelf in the wake of Jen's paparazzi photos, climbing out of the ocean in a skimpy bikini ... alone? Is the Ashton and Demi celebrity ruse really fading into an odd wife-swapping futility? Bruce? Anyone?
Well, whether we can or not, Ben and Jen are moving on. This from the reliable thumb-drumming of the E! Online news machine.
"An anonymous pal of J.Lo told the magazine that Lopez was 'devastated' by Affleck's decision. Needing time to regroup, the actress-singer flew to her home in Miami's trendy South Beach, where she was spotted signing autographs and cooling off in the ocean with some friends."
"Meanwhile, Affleck headed to Las Vegas for a little R&R, where the swinging bachelor was seen lounging poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and hitting the tables -- less than a month after his infamous night out at a Canadian strip joint. Picking china patterns is obviously not in store for this dude."
Wow. Sounds serious, dude. Maybe Brittany Murphy's throwing up on Jack Black's shoulder somewhere, right now. Can I get a photograph?