Saturday, October 30, 2010

[Google Fast Flip] Poparazzi | In Praise of Celebrity Excuses

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CHARLIE SHEEN NEWS



Poparazzi | In Praise of Celebrity Excuses

"My job is to entertain and not to explain," the actress Lara Flynn Boyle once said when dismissing a journalist's question about her personal conduct. It's a noble sentiment, but one that ignores the fact that celebrity excuses can be incredibly entertaining themselves. And after Charlie Sheen's recent misadventure in New York, those who consider celebrity spin to be almost its own art form have a new classic for the canon. Around 2 am on Oct. 26, Sheen was removed by police from his suite at the Plaza Hotel, which had suffered a reported $7,000 worth of damage. NYPD sources told reporters that he was found naked, and admitted to having been drinking and taking cocaine. The woman he was with, who had locked herself in the bathroom in fear for her safety, later said she was offended by reports calling her a prostitute: in fact, she is a porn star. The next day, Sheen's spokesman explained that the incident had been caused because "Charlie had an adverse, allergic reaction to some medication." You would need to be tone deaf to the music of public relations not to appreciate work like that. Celebrity blame-shifting is as old as Adam ("the woman you put here with me — she gave me the fruit from the tree") and Eve ("the serpent deceived me!") But to be truly great, an excuse needs to be more than just finger-pointing or a flat denial. Win McNamee/Reuters Bill Clinton denies his involvement with Monica Lewinsky in this 1998 photo. Bill Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" rightly went down in history as nothing more than a shoddy lie. But his smoke screen on marijuana use — "I didn't inhale" — is so wonderfully dubious, and so supple with nuance, that it suggests a whole world of obfuscation in just three words. The former Idaho senator Larry Craig showed a similar economy of language when he attributed his 2007 arrest on suspicion of lewd conduct in an airport men's room to his "wide stance" in the stall. George Rekers, who founded the fundamentalist Christian Family Research Council, took this line to the next level after he was busted at Miami International Airport in March, returning from vacation with a male hooker. Rekers explained that the young man, whom he met on the gay-prostitute Web site RentBoy.com, was a "travel assistant" he had engaged following medical advice against carrying his own luggage. Lest you think it's just old fuddy-duddies who get themselves in these pickles, let's remember Winona Ryder. The actress, who was convicted in 2003 of shoplifting designer clothes from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, Calif., initially claimed that she had been instructed to steal in preparation for a part. "I was told that I should shoplift," she reportedly told the store security guard. "My director said I should try it out." But for sheer virtuosity of excuse making, it's hard to go past this favorite from sports, quoted in Britain's Observer newspaper. Here is the tennis player Lighton Ndefwayl, explaining a tournament defeat by Musumba Bwayla, a fellow Zambian: "Bwayla is a stupid man and a hopeless player. He has a huge nose and is cross-eyed. Girls hate him. He beat me because my jockstrap was too tight and because when he serves he farts, and that made me lose my concentration, for which I am famous throughout Zambia." By the way, the incident that Lara Flynn Boyle was declining to explain? In January 2005, newspapers reported that she was behaving erratically halfway through a trans-Atlantic British Airways flight, having removed her clothes in the first-class cabin. Britain's Mail on Sunday quoted a witness saying: "She was starkers, woke a passenger up, tried to get into bed with him, pulled open the blind and said, 'We're landing, get your clothes on,' even though we were more than four hours away from London."...

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