James Wolcott, contributing editor of Vanity Fair, Stanley Crouch, columnist for The New York Daily News, author Alexandra Pelosi, and Maer Roshan, Editor in Chief of Radar Magazine were on ‘Topic A with Tina Brown’ on Sunday to discuss celebrities famous for doing nothing, and highlighted the segment with a discussion on Britney Spears’ new UPN reality show ‘Chaotic’ with husband Kevin Federline. Read on for a rough transcript.
Tina: Okay. A fun new magazine launched this week. Radar edited by
our guest. It’s an irreverent, and the piece that caught my eye is the
one that titled famous for what? Tell us what it is about the culture spawning
this trend for famous people.
Maer: The thesis is that there is a new moment happening in regards
to celebrity, that there was a time when fame and represented accomplishment
and stalent, and the new fame is about packages and savvy marketing.
Tina: And you see this as a galloping trend?
Maer: Very galloping, and has galloped from entertainment to politics
Tina: I guess a prime examp cell Britney Spears reality show. Her new
husband co-stars with her in it, and it really reaches new heights of —
what do you make television?
James: First of all, I’d like to get my I.Q. Points after watching this,
i felt them dribbling out of my ears. In a funny way, what Britney spears
has done is they’ve worked off the madonna matrix. This was a sort of almost
dumb trailer version of truth or dare. But where madonna is surrounded
with warren beatty and there’s a sort of high level of crackle. This is
just a kid running around with a camera, and you’re watching it thinking,
first of all, learn how not to shake it. Secondly, why are you pointing
it so the nose
Tina: Isn’t that part of it where it’s a fake —
James: It’s fake revelation because the fact is, you actually don’t
learn anything about her off stage life. There’s nothing really revealed
except she’s silly. The funny thing is, they’ve gone from no talent to
personality, but they don’t even have personalities, either.
Tina: Stanley, one of the points she’s made in the radar piece is the
sense that chauncee gardner, the whole idea was unwittedingly people imagined
that he had this philosophical depth and importance, and yet today we don’t
even care if chauncee gardner is anybody. What’s that about?
Stanley: I’m trying to figure it out. Part of it is the fact dha many
people who are celebrities have never had a word that’s interesting. Part
of the projection of being a celebrity is to make them seem interesting
and to give them habits to send them out hunlting or doing something. Ask
then you had rock’n’roll where people couldn’t sing. And now they don’t
have to sing because you’ve got a machine. And then you have these things
on mtv where you actually get to see them, unfortunately. And then they’re
really dull. And not only dull, but dumb.
Tina: How do you feel about the Britney spears? You’re a filmmaker.
You’re a documentary filmmaker.
Alexandra: I support the young woman with the camera. I’ll tell you
why. If you go to the website, the reason she started this show is because
she was tired of the media coming to her life, so she wanted to make her
own story. So it’s her defiance against everybody else. Maybe it’s not
interesting. Maybe we don’t want to watch it, but it’s not for us. It’s
for the teeny boppers, and apparently they care what sexual positions she’s
Tina: My 14-year-old said, mommy, if you want to watch this, it’s up
to you, but I’m out of here.
Maer: I think one of the things we’ve noticed, recently in culture is
— there’s been a really pronounced shift in the culture into showcasing
thing tac are more red stated.
Tina: I don’t know if it’s a red state phenomenon, actually. I just
feel that she — what’s interesting to me about it is almost a dedication
in this move tow make herself seem as unattracted and i have unlikeable
and unappealing as possible.
Maer: Anti-elitist. It’s very successful now.
Tina: Where do you think it’s going, the trend, actually?
James: It’s not going away, unfortunately. But they’ll have to find
new ways of doing it. The fact that this was on upn which is sort of the
weakest of the non-cable networks show that is she’s not — Britney herself
is not hitting as high with the teeny boppers as before. They’ve moved
on. I don’t know who they’ve moved on to.