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Perspective Is Lost in the Face Of Celebrity

By Donna Britt
Friday, February 4, 2005; Page B01

Perspective is everything.

Martha Stewart, who's in a West Virginia prison for lying to federal investigators, is "really a brave woman," according to Donald Trump, who just snagged America's most immaculate jailbird to star in a new spinoff of his popular TV series, "The Apprentice."

"Few people could have withstood what [Stewart] has," said Trump, who will act as an executive producer on the spinoff. Stewart, Trump continued, is "an amazing woman" who "will do an amazing job" on his new show -- assuming she isn't too distracted by the live syndicated NBC daytime show she's starting in September, which has been sold to TV stations in at least 70 percent of the nation.

_____Martha Stewart Coverage_____
NBC, All Fired Up Over Its Martha Stewart Show (The Washington Post, Feb 3, 2005)
Martha's Daughter In for Her Shares (The Washington Post, Feb 3, 2005)
In Web Posting, Martha Stewart Speaks From Prison (The Washington Post, Dec 22, 2004)
Complete Trial Background

Surely millions got a giggle from Trump's self-serving observations -- which doesn't change that he could be right. Maybe Stewart is brave. I have no perspective -- none -- on how the Donalds and Marthas and other Famous Folks live, feel or see the world.

I'm not someone for whom a jail sentence would be a brilliant career move. My existence is so alien to Trump's that I thought he was "really a brave man" for facing the public each morning with that comb-over.

It's all about perspective. Years ago, I asked Barry Manilow, whom I'd found funny and gracious throughout an interview, whether he thought of himself as "nice."

"As nice as someone who gets his [butt] kissed all day can be," he replied.

Of course. What would we be like if people only told us how smart, beautiful and gifted we were? What if the behind-kissing went on for years, as it does for most major celebrities? Would it be easy for us to keep the radar that tells us when the puckerers are lying?

I'll tell you what's easy: being dismissive of those who are rich, beautiful and famous. Last week, I called Angelina Jolie a "radiant nutcase" because of odd, much-publicized behavior in her past. With her beauty, Jolie easily could spend her life in the mirror. Yet this "nutcase" adopted an orphan, donates huge sums to charity and recently traveled to the World Economic Forum as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Her surface resonated with me more than her actions.

In fact, I've long believed that all human beings are nutcases. You just have to know where to look for their nuttiness. Each of us has a flaw, a foible, a point of undoing.

The rich and famous have a better chance of hiding theirs -- money obscures a host of sins. Once a star's flaw is revealed, he or she will be forced to "bravely" face brutal public condemnation. Then -- a la Martha Stewart -- that celeb has a great chance of emerging unscathed.

But maybe not, according to photos at awfulplasticsurgery.com. I visited the self-explanatory Web site on the recommendation of a friend who found herself mesmerized by pix of Melanie Griffith, Vivica A. Fox, Meg Ryan, Burt Reynolds, Nicolette Sheridan and many others allegedly before and after they, um, "had some work done."

Photos on the site are grouped by body part, such as "Bad Collagen in Lips" and "Bad Face Lifts." The site boasts dozens of ads for plastic surgeons ("Next generation lip plumping!") and features an ungrammatical disclaimer: "This site is merely the opinions of the author."

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