With celebrities beholden to endorse (and at least pretend to wear and use) all kinds of products and appear magically at parties where select sponsors have paid for their presence, I'm waiting for the logo-covered walls surrounding red carpet events to come crashing down in a war of conflicted interests.
Within the last decade, at almost every event at which celebrities and the media might show up, paparazzi zones have been walled, draped or otherwise festooned with a pattern of name-brand logos touting everything from vodka to cosmetics to magazines and cable networks.
It is increasingly likely that a starlet attending an overhyped charity event or awards show after-party may have to pose in front of a sponsor's name that is in direct competition with a cause or product to which she has already sold herself. Julianne Moore and Susan Sarandon get lots of money from Revlon, but they tend to live lives that walk them past, and pose them before, plenty of other cosmetics logos. Surely the lawyers and marketers who dreamed up such deals don't like seeing their client all dolled up, in thousands of dollars of borrowed gownage and jewels, lingering for minutes in front of an enemy's logo. (Indeed, photo editors and TV producers cringe -- and crop -- when a competitor's name shows up all over the background.)
I'm not so worried about the commercialization of life itself (since life was long ago commercialized), but I do find it odd that even the most adamantly principled or highest-wattage celebs (George Clooney, Mel Gibson, Bono, Angelina Jolie) so frequently, patiently pose before a wall of logos, indirectly endorsing the ads behind them. Having loitered around a few red carpets and showbiz after-parties, I've never watched a star refuse to be seen against all that schlock.
Madonna, questioned and answered: So that I may with clear conscience say bad things about her in the future, I should clarify something from my November 13 column: Madonna did respond to rabbis outraged by her new song "Isaac," telling MTV News that it's not about a 16th-century Kabbalah founder: "It's not a song about Isaac Luria. I don't know anything about Isaac Luria, so I couldn't write a song about him." There you go.