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Question Celebrity

By With Hank Stuever
Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page W09

If I ever move to Hollywood, there are two jobs I think I could make for myself. One would be as a "newspaper consultant" to film studios. Newspaper pages, headlines and story text inevitably seem faked in movies, even when the paper is just a passing prop. I would also do journalistic set decorating; movie newsrooms almost never look right, except in "All the President's Men" -- the producers actually imported desk clutter from the real Washington Post -- and in Ron Howard's "The Paper."

But I think the real business opportunity is teaching Journalism 101 to unsavvy celebs. My first client would be Mrs. Britney Federline (nee Spears), and my initial fee would be $500 an hour. We would cover some of the things a high school yearbook teacher might have covered, if Britney had only joined the staff back then. (For what is Us Weekly, if not a very, very sexy high school yearbook?)

On her Web site last month, Britney struck back at magazines and supermarket tabs, which were all aswirl with all-too-true pregnancy rumors and a supposed breakup with Federline. She chose a seldom-used, sometimes intriguing, always futile line of press criticism, a variation on Have You No Soul? "Do you, Us Weekly, In Touch, Star and other desperate magazines, want employees who are honest, or those who are liars?" she wrote. "I'm really concerned about the people you hire to work at your companies . . . I'd like them to ask themselves the question, 'What am I lying to myself about?' Is it that you are 50 pounds overweight? Is it that your children aren't making wise decisions? Or is it maybe that your husband or boyfriend is cheating on you?"

Us ain't havin' none of that, and issued this statement: "Britney Spears should start a magazine if she'd like to dictate her own coverage." Alas, the Federlines have decided to do their own six-part "declaration of love" reality TV show on UPN next month instead. But if she ever goes the journalism route, I'd like to put in for the job of executive editor of BS: The World of Britney! Oh, what fun we'll have, once I teach my new boss the inverted pyramid and the definition of news. (No, baby, not perverted pyramid -- inverted.)

E-mail: celebrity@washpost.com.


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