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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 02/01/2007

Celebritology 101: Stars We Love to Hate

So many stars and not enough room in our hearts to love them all.

This explains why my sainted, nurturing mother can hate Matt Damon or why a friend who shall remain nameless contorts her face into a hideous mask when she catches even a brief glimpse of Jim Carrey or, to get to the point, why it is that I utterly and completely detest Diane Keaton.

I apologize to the Keaton lovers out there. I'm willing to concede that Keaton is a perfectly fine actor and deserves some kind of credit for her part in movies like "Annie Hall," "The Godfather(s)" and "Reds." Grudging credit granted. Still, there is just something about the fashion-challenged, whiny, goggle-eyed woman that I find maddening. And no, beyond these superficial criticisms, I just can't seem to put my finger on what it is about Keaton that bothers me.

Often, there is no logic involved with why we hate a particular star. We have a gut reaction, as if warding off a potential allergen. Our mood blackens and we are only able to find relief in the power of insult. A former co-worker of mine unleashes a string of venomous barbs every time he sees a certain "Today Show" co-anchor. Each successive comment about her hair ("Like a rat's nest") or her demeanor ("Why does she tilt her head like that?") acting as an analgesic, soothing his deeply offended sensibilities.

Often we gravitate to those we hate. How many times have you lingered, mid-channel surfing, to take in a scene or two from one of your least favorite actors or sat disgusted by some pop tart singer who has defied all that is right and good in the world to climb the pop charts with a song like -- oh, let's say "Fergilicious?"

Life is yin and yang, and even our fascination with celebrities attests to the duality of our attraction. Often, our dislike for a particular star is a personal thing -- invariably, we hate someone universally admired by pretty much everyone else. Still, there are some shared targets on which we fixate en masse. We don't like Paris Hilton. We like hating Paris Hilton. With every tawdry update about the celebutante's exploits, we are reveling in our shared contempt.

Which brings me back to Diane Keaton. Every time I see an ad for her new chick flick "Because I Said So," (trailer) I am spellbound -- I can no sooner turn away than leave a scab unpicked. The sight of Keaton -- in a series of awful outfits -- playing the overbearing mother hen to a flock of 20-something daughters, discovering online sex and ultimately finding love is almost too much to bear. I can't wait for the DVD.

Who do you love to hate? Get it out of your system in the comments section.

By Liz Kelly  |  10:43 AM ET, 02/01/2007

Categories:  Celebritology 101

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