March 26th, 2008
09:18 AM ET

Pols, take a tip from the celebs

There was a time in the not so distant past when pop culture observers like me looked to the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears for our daily dose of scandal. Those girls could always be counted on to flash a crotch, cop a plea or be caught in possession of an illegal substance.

Britney Spears acquitted herself well on "How I Met Your Mother."

But in recent weeks paunchy middle-aged men have replaced the pretty young things as the poster children for outrageous behavior. Now Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, and a recently initiated member of the horny elected rat pack, Kwame Kilpatrick, have replaced Young Hollywood on the front pages of the tabloids.

As a result, in the days leading up to the Iraq war anniversary serious journalists were grappling with questions like, “What comes in a seven-diamond package?” and headline writers were churning out tawdry gems like “Ho No” (the New York Post on Spitzer).

And now we have loads of new tidbits to file away in our “too much information” folder, whether we like it or not. Do we really need to know that Spitzer prefers to keep his socks on while doing the deed? That Paterson’s romper room of choice was at, of all places, the Days Inn?

Um, I’m going to go with a resounding no.

Nevertheless, we gobble it all up –- down to the titillating mayoral text messages (thanks, Kwame). And why?

Maybe it’s because we like to watch them recklessly flout the rules we’ve agreed to live by. Maybe it’s because we like to know our leaders are, to borrow a phrase from US Weekly, “just like us.” That is, far from perfect and sometimes shockingly stupid.

But here’s the difference. Most of us don’t spend our entire adult lives focused on how to be powerful and likable enough to earn the popular vote. And most of us don’t peddle ourselves as moral leaders with impeccable judgment. Hollywood’s girls gone wild certainly never did.

After jail time, rehab stints and reams of bad publicity, the starlets finally appear to be wising up … at least for now. At the ripe old age of 21, Lindsay isn’t the night crawler she used to be. Paris is in South Africa whooping it up at night, but touring orphanages during the day (that’s hot). And back under her dad’s thumb again, even Britney, the worst of the bunch, is apparently cleaning up her mess of an act. She looked healthy and thin and - most importantly - sober the other evening when she played a receptionist on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

We’ll see if the boys hunker down, pull their pants up and follow their lead.

- Lola Ogunnaike, "American Morning" entertainment correspondent

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soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    No Britney was never fat and no being thin is not the ultimate judge of a woman or person in general, but when Britney was in a better mental state and not a substance abuser she was thinner and in shape. When her mental health declined was not in shape. Yes she had kids, but substance abuse and depression are both big factors in not having the motivation to stay in shape. All the author was trying to say was that judging by Britney's thinner figure, she was likely getting over some of the substance abuse problems and regaining her prior motivation. Get off his back.

    April 19, 2008 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. California Boy

    I also agree with David, Jenny, Jamie, Jason, CK, and Slick

    April 7, 2008 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Org

    It's really sad how Britney's life is the center of our lives. I read a post by sister mary on celebrity prayer list and i just couldn't believe how said her life still is. I'll light a candle for you brit.

    April 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AgentZ

    Oh yes, lets laugh at the celebrities for their problems when we can't even handle our own...

    April 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. molly

    britney was at normal weight for JUST having kids. it's annoying how everyone keeps getting on her for not being perfect all the time. but then again, she did put herself into the role of being famous and got what she deserved.

    March 28, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jenny

    You people in the comments are very rude people about Britney. Also people from all the world are very rude about her and also the news people are too. You better stop talking bad things about Britney. She is trying hard to work her life around and be a good mom to her kids and Kevin.

    Shut up people!!! Leave Brintey alone!!

    How do you feel if the people talking about you all behind your back??? Think about it!!! Grow up people!!!!


    March 26, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    Look, I'm not going to debate whether Britney is fat or not, but the truth of the matter is that using the word "healthy" as a euphemism for overweight people is not any more helpful than drawing attention to how Britney looked thin on TV. The truth of the matter is that America is the number one most overweight country in the entire world, and it's a problem that's getting worse by the day. In truth, healthy and thin should go hand in hand. People shouldn't starve themselves down to skin and bone in an attempt to look like their favorite celebrity, because everyone seems to forget that celebrities have the time to work out for several hours a day, unlike most of the rest of us with real jobs. However, everyone can eat healthy and exercise. I think overeating and general inactivity is a much larger problem in this country than anorexia or bulimia combined.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAMIE

    Maxine- I absolutely agree with CK and I am 5'4 and weigh 110lbs..... My guess is you are underweight and care way too much on what people think of you which = no self esteem. Now in Britney's case she was not overweight just not wearing the right clothes at the time. Healthy should not be associated with thin- because there are a lot of 'THIN" people out there that are extremely UNhealthly either high Chloesteral etc...

    March 26, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    4K soldiers dead and this is what you choose to discuss ?????

    March 26, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Texas

    I'll take her body anyday.

    March 26, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cherie

    Lets all go marry a thug/user/sperm doner and then we can judge Britney.

    March 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Trae Apperson

    Take a trip down memory lane.

    Think back to the times before career goals, kids, or mountainous responsibilities.

    Let your mind wander back to your senior year and early college days.

    Now that you have that image in mind, add an absurd amount of money, access to whatever, whoever and wherever you would like....

    Really, would our stories or tabloid headline be that much different?

    March 26, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kim

    I would kill to have britany's figure - you guys are insane to think a few lbs after having a baby made her fat or unattractive. Her issue is being Bi-Polar not being fat. Why is 'thin' THE ultimate compliment now for a woman, like everything else just pales in comparision? What happened to healthy? These days a woman can be butt ugly but if she is thin then she is pretty cause thin is all that matters. No wonder girls grow up hating thier 'normal' bodies and asking for implants and lipo.....

    March 26, 2008 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jake

    I'm glad she's thin. Chubby = Unhappy. What's wrong with expecting our "sexy stars" to stay sexy? She wasn't exactly fat, but she wasn't hot either. Be honest. She looks better now than she did with a bald head, running mascara, and a roll of baby blubber hanging over her jeans. And it's not just the hair and makeup. Skinny is still hot.

    March 26, 2008 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Maxine

    So, C.K., you gonna tell us how overweight you are or should we just guess? I'm going to say quite a bit.

    March 26, 2008 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  16. Kim, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Unfortunately, it's people like this reporter who equate being thin as being healthy, that give our young girls complexes...Shame on you...

    March 26, 2008 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  17. C3

    It is sad, but the truth is most of us live such boring cookie-cutter lives that we depend on these people screwing up to make us feel better about ourselves.

    March 26, 2008 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  18. Slick

    I'm sure if we had fifty cameras on us every second of the day, there would be plenty of material to write about. People get drunk, have sex, have several relationships, dont wear underwear, get tattoes, act crazy, push limits, ......
    How would you act daily if you had a camera shoved up your %&^* 24 hours a day. I'm not perfect, you???

    March 26, 2008 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  19. Bonk Bonk

    After reading this, I'm remembering just how stupid all of America has apparently become.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  20. Teyhlor Robinson

    In reading this, I feel that people are forgetting that these young people are just living their lives. We have all have our times where we let our hair down and live life to its fullest. What makes them any better than you or I? Don't focus on a person's faults if you are full of them as well!!!! Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsey...who cares??? We should focus on more important things.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  21. MT

    Wasn't there a time when CNN was a news-reporting organization? I can't remember.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  22. Bob

    Reality Check.
    Political sex scandals are as old as politics.
    Paris Hilton's South African jaunt is not a selfless, charitable deed she's doing to help the lives of the less fortunate. It's a calculated move to repair her reputation.
    Britney was not thin on "How I Met Your Mother".
    And Lindsay Lohan will be behind the bottle and then behind the wheel real, real soon.
    All of these things are true because of one simple fact: these people are surrounded by others whose job relies on never telling them "no". When Lindsay pulls a little coke-spoon up to her snout and asks "one little bump won't hurt, will it?" the person that tells her not to do it will be out in the cold looking for another temporary celebrity to join the entourage of.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  23. Jen

    I second Matt's comment...

    March 26, 2008 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  24. K.V.

    I agree with CK, I was disturbed by the mention of her being thin. Why is that important... Is it such a bad thing if she was a little overweight? Before she wasn't evn fat just out of shape and needed to tone up. I'm glad that she is finally lookinh healthy and at least happy. I was done with the whole Britney Spears news everyday on what she does every second of everyday. I've never being a fan, but I was feeling sorry for her because she was being follow by those blood suckers of the papparazzi. So good for Britney Spears whether she is looking "thin" or not.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  25. Josh

    So Britney has a guest spot on a stupid TV show... who cares!

    March 26, 2008 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  26. Tom T.

    I took "thin" to mean in the sense of "not bloated from some form of substance abuse."

    March 26, 2008 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  27. Okey Onoh

    Good piece. Am glad that this writer is from my country.
    Lola, keep up the good work !

    March 26, 2008 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  28. vittorio marco

    Britney, the worst of all? Haven't you valued her real mental illness and postpartum depression? It is so bad that people are using her during her "complicated" period due to a mental problem, and not considering what she was before, and, of course under her father's arms (who best could be?), trying to return to enlight our lives as she did. You know for sure that putting Britney on the title of the article, everyone is going to read it.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  29. Matt

    Yes, please do take a tip from her...stop wearing underwear, show us your genitals and then commit yourselves to a psychiatric ward. All of you.

    March 26, 2008 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  30. Laura

    "Stupid is as stupid does" -Forrest Gump

    March 26, 2008 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  31. CK

    What exactly is the relevance of Britney looking "thin"? Despite all of Britney's bizarre behaviour, I don't think she's ever been obese, or even overweight. She looked like a woman who just had two kids, and was still trying to get back to her own normal weight. I think it would have been better to say healthy and wearing underwear. I don't think healthy should automatically be associated with thin.

    March 26, 2008 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |

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