HOLLYWOOD, INTERRUPTED: Insanity Chic in Babylon—The Case Against Celebrity!
Release date: 02/01/2004
Not since Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons have two journalists (Breitbart feeds stories to Internet scandalmonger Matt Drudge and Ebner wrote for Spy ) gathered more mean-spirited gossip about celebrities they condemn as sick and depraved. This diatribe is so unrelentingly negative that it loses all power to persuade. Breitbart and Ebner cover a variety of subjects they stand against, among them celebrities voicing their political views, a woman's right to choose, single motherhood and celebrities adopting children. In a chapter devoted to anonymous nannies discussing disrespectful kids of anonymous movie stars, the authors suggest mandatory Norplant and vasectomies for Hollywood parents. Hugh Hefner can't win for being wild or conservative; the authors blast the "fossilized relic embalmed in nostalgia and Viagra" for watching a bestiality video 30 years ago, and then condemn him for his intolerance of illegal drugs. Peculiarly, the authors adore gay porn director Paul Barresi, who paid off the "she-males of the night" that Eddie Murphy frequented so they'd change their stories. But when Murphy's lawyers didn't compensate Barresi, he turned all his records over to the authors. Barresi went on to warn Michael Jackson that his latest videographer was also a gay porn director. But when Jackson wouldn't pay for the information, Barresi leaked the story to the tabloids. Instead of calling Barresi a blackmailer, the authors announce that "he has a code of ethics emphasizing loyalty and respect." Most of the gossip isn't new (e.g., Greg Allman was an uninterested father; Whitney Houston, Nick Nolte and Robert Downey Jr. have had drug problems), and without any illuminating backstories, this is a sour and joyless read. (Feb.)
Forecast: A 75,000 first printing, $100,000 marketing operation , Today Show appearance and national publicity campaign might spur tabloid readers to pick this up.