Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt’s new book is pretty representative of America at its worst. The title alone, “How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture” goes a long way toward illustrating the couple’s involvement with some of our most odious pillars of society.
But if you stopped at the book's title, you wouldn’t make it to other insipid chapters, like the one titled “Pretty on the Outside,” which reminds the audience that fitness is important because “celebrities are there to look hot for the common people. It’s our job.”
“Pretty On The Outside” is not followed by a chapter called “Pretty On The Inside,” but rather “The Paps Are Your Friends.” If you happen to think the camera-wielding locusts who cause accidents and invade privacy are actually not your friends, Speidi has a message for you: “We find these people embarrassments to the industry.”
Pot, there’s a kettle I’d like you to meet.
“How to Be Famous” also includes a chapter titled “Women’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Those “weapons” in question? Tears.
Montag writes: “A crying woman trumps all things … let’s pretend for one second you MIGHT be wrong in an argument one day. Just go to the waterworks and all is forgiven, isn’t it? … Even the most hardened villainess can break people down with puppy-dog eyes and a few tears.”
Hey Heidi, quick question: Why did you have to lump an entire gender into your scurrilous web of fame whoring tactics? I shudder to think, and do doubt, that a vapid essay about the upside of emotional exploitation could do anything to really move the needle on that front but nonetheless, it’s counterproductive to continue to perpetrate such ideas. Women work hard enough to be taken seriously, this does no good.
Actually, nothing in this book does any good. That’s not to say that there’s no value in entertainment for entertainment’s sake, that plenty of people (present company included) make their living in a way that’s at least tangential to the business of fame. However, this fame game has gone too far.
Is it all a joke?Montag and Pratt happen to be among the rare breed of reality-bred famous people who possess a lack of self-awareness that actually comes from an acuity of the same. The only way to explain the contradiction is to conclude that they’re in on the joke.
If being in on the joke means navigating fame in a way that minimizes the hurt that can come from it, then by all means, Speidi, go forth and continue to do your thing.
The bigger issue rests with those who don’t understand the very real downsides, that sometimes when the cameras roll, lives can fall apart. The image of a Jiffy Pop bag-like balloon supposedly containing a little boy and skipping through the Colorado air should stand as example enough that there are those who don’t understand the consequences of manufactured celebrity.
There might be only one genuine line in the 134 pages of sage wisdom and collected glamour shots that make up “How To Be Famous.” On page 14, Pratt, in a moment of rare brevity, says, “If I weren’t me, I’d hate me.”
I was taught to never actually hate anyone, so I’ll stop short. But I will say this: They didn’t need to play the music of Britney Spears and R.E.M. for detainees at Gitmo, they could have just read a few pages from this book.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc