The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Our Super-Famous: Are We Just Too Nice, or Are They?

by Melissa Bell

For all of my sincere love of quality writing and superb television programming (HBO! Yoohoo! Love ya!), there’s nothing quite like kicking back every once in awhile with an issue of The National Enquirer or People or what-have-you and indulging in yet another guilty pleasure of mine. Celebrity gossip. There. I’ve come clean, friends. I feel better just for putting that out there. But the other night I got to thinking: What’s the matter with us? Or should I throw in some italics and ask What’s the matter with us? Why are there no Toronto tabloids or Canadian celebrity gossip rags? Is it a volume thing? A lack of homeland readership? Do we not care? Or are we just content with knowing that our American neighbours will pick up on the scandals of our famous compatriots and give us the dirt if and when the dirt occurs? I wonder.

It’s not like there’s any shortage of Canadian celebrities on “the scene”. On the contrary, given our population (and I’m no statistician, so this is strictly an observation), we Canadians appear to have a disproportionate amount of our maple-flavoured fingers sweetening some of the hottest pies in the Famesville Bakery. Like say Sandra Oh in Gray’s Anatomy. Isn’t that show supposed to be huge? How about The Trailer Park Boys. Isn’t somebody hiding somewhere, waiting for one of them to break character in public? Aren’t we dying to catch Sarah Polley snub a homeless person? Celine – now why does it seem like everyone picks on her music? She’s our own Streisand – a woman who is revered South of the Border – yet we virtually ignore her personal life. She’s got a frozen sperm child for heaven’s sake, and I don’t even know the boy’s name. Meanwhile I know the names of Gwyneth’s two kids, and I’m pretty sure neither of them was conceived with frozen sperm.

And we’ve got our own scandalous gabillionnaires too, thank you very much: The notorious Conrad Black. And how can we ignore our Tie and Belinda? Are we too lazy to pick up a camera and follow these guys around ourselves? Where are the pics of a hot and sweaty shirtless Evan Solomon or Justin Trudeau? Surely Nelly and Avril have cellulite issues! Don't Canadians care enough to pay $4.95 at the checkout to see them?


Blogger Anne C. said...

Maybe they're just a little too accessible? I see Justin Trudeau at the Blockbuster on Saturday nights. Sandy Oh went to my high school. She initiated me when she was head girl and I was a minor niner. But wait, I still love reading about her personal life. Didn't you see that piece in the Globe last weekend? I even went to her website after. It's maintained by her oldest and bestest friend. I love it.

Sun May 20, 10:26:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Chumplet said...

That is too funny. No wonder the Americans think we're too 'nice'. When a Canadian celebrity does something bordering on silly (see William Shatner) we just chuckle and shake our heads, thinking, "What a character."

I suppose we're still so tightly knit, if we tried to expose one of our own, it would be like betraying a sibling.

Like Anne said, they're very accessible. Belinda went to my kids' high school, and I'm surrounded by Leafs alumni here in Newmarket. I remember years ago, we crossed the Ottawa River on one of those little open ferries, and there was Brian Mulroney in his convertible, accompanied by two snot-nosed boys sitting up on the back. One of them was Ben, probably twelve years old. No secret service men surrounding these guys.

Sun May 20, 10:31:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

I agree with A & C, and that's what I like about Canada. The times I've caught that godawful Ben Mulroney on ETalk, I've cringed with shame. It's so...well, American. In actual fact, I care less about what my own peeps are doing than those south of the border because, for some reason, they seem more like the monkeys in the cage.

But Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon chose to live in Vancover for a reason, to be left alone. We tend to do that. And I like seeing them come out of the Buddhist vegetarian restaurant in my 'hood, giggling and dressed down like a normal couple. But fear not, I hear there *is* a CanFan mag coming out. Of course, it's pubbed in Toronto...

Sun May 20, 12:46:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Perhaps we're not eager to tear each other down? Or we just don't care?

Sun May 20, 03:49:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Thanks all for your comments on this weekend. I do think that because most our famous folk here really are under the Kevin Bacon six degree benchmark we're protective of them. I have to say, I really do like that.

I did, however, spend part of the afternoon today, watching the Comedy Cenral roast of our Pamela Anderson. Whatever that lady has done with her life, she remains, at her core, a typical Canadian gal. She has taken some incredibly hard hits in her career (bring on the Tommy Lee jokes!), but as I watched the show I was in awe at her demeanor, poise, and composure.

Canada seems to have a rather poor reputation for promoting our own talent, but on the other hand, we don't hang around waiting to tear them apart at their most vulnerable moments once they've hit the Big Time.

However, Anne...if Justin starts to feel a little overheated while waiting in line to rent a movie one night, offer to hold his jacket for him while I leap over the counter with my Canon PowerShot, would you?

Sun May 20, 08:38:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I was gonna say, sounds like an entrepreneurial opportunty for you, Mel, but per Tamara, someone else may lep into the breach.

Mon May 21, 01:42:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

Well- I have to say, I enjoy "Frank" magazine and despite the fact that it's usually half lies- it has the same thrill as celebrity gossip. Which is probably half lies anyway.

I do my best to spread the word about the antics Alice Munro gets up to.

Tue May 22, 04:07:00 pm GMT-4  

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