Looking at a half-cut birthday cake that used to have “celebrate” written on it, I came up with a new term: “celebrat” (cel-e-brat).
A celebrat is a celebrity or sports figure who is a danger to himself or herself, and/or the people around him or her.
New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens went from sports celebrats and team cancers to good teammates by being on the right teams surrounded by the right people.
I believe the same is possible for current celebrats and rehab veterans such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Granted, they are only two of many celebrats, but they set an impossibly high standard of ineptitude and self-destruction. Someday, business schools around the country will showcase them as prime examples of what not to do to ensure your clients and your business long-term success.
Hilton is the poster girl for celebrats. She is famous for the sake of being famous. She contributes nothing positive to society and seems to lower America’s collective IQ by 20 points anytime she is on TV.
Can she act? No. Having a reality show on FOX is no proof of discernible talent. Can she sing? Definitely not.
I think she should take a page from Terrrell Owens’ book and take a low-key approach.
Owens used to be loathed by teammates and coaches alike. He poisoned the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room by being a loudmouth, dropped passes during the playoffs, and capped things off by saying that he believed 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia was gay before leaving the team for good. I think this would define typical celebrat behavior.
Then he went to Philadelphia in 2004, and his life seemed to be a fairytale after a 14-2 season that included a trip to the Super Bowl for the Eagles.
One season later, Owens began to feud with Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb. He routinely complained about not being given the ball enough, and then left Philadelphia after being suspended and kicked off the team. The public relations bashing he took seems to have humbled him, because he went on to join the Cowboys in 2006, where he is now friends with quarterback Tony Romo and takes a team-first approach on and off the field.
In Hilton’s case, I would think her stay in prison would have humbled her as well. She should take an approach that focuses more on other people and not herself if she wants her career to be relevant for the right reasons. She could start a TV cooking show or an Oprah-like program while also contributing part of her wealth to charitable causes.
Spears was on top of the world when her hit singles “Baby One More Time” and “Oops!… I Did It Again” came out almost a decade ago and made her the undisputed ruler of the music industry. Since then, she has been surrounded by a poisonous entourage that has driven her life downhill at 200 miles per hour with nobody willing to stop her.
Unlike Hilton, she does have talent. She can capture the audience’s imagination and be as sexy as anybody has been since Madonna, and she has a fan base out there somewhere that still adores her.
The trouble is, she’s too famous for her own good. She seems overwhelmed in every facet of her life, and the talent she has is slowly going down the sewer.
Moss used to be football’s version of Spears. The parallels are astounding. Playing for the Minnesota Vikings, he burst onto the scene along with Vikings’ quarterback Daunte Culpepper and became one of the NFL’s most prominent players. Then he left Minnesota, and just like Spears without Justin Timberlake, he collapsed and didn’t seem to care anymore. He left to play for the Oakland Raiders – the NFL’s version of Kevin Federline. People knew he was there, but he didn’t dominate anymore.
During last year’s draft he was traded to the New England Patriots, and Moss the touchdown menace was reborn. Playing for the NFL’s best quarterback and a coach who won three Super Bowls – Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, respectively – Moss found motivation again and broke the single-season touchdown record set by Jerry Rice.
Can Spears find her New England Patriots equivalent? For that to happen she needs to find a producer she can trust and make a record backed by relevant and trustworthy people in the music business. A CD with tracks featuring prominent artists and a music video that blows people’s minds would put her career back on track. After that, everything else should fall into place.
America needs celebrats – they make people feel better about the way they screw up – but that doesn’t mean celebrats have to stay that way forever. They can change and become great once again.
Martin Bater is a junior majoring in history and mass communications.