THE PUBLICIST: To get on a top-10 list, you are only as good as your publicist

I sometimes get e-mails from publicists trying to pitch celebrity profiles - which I don't do, unless the star also happens to be a publicist. Not many of those around (unless one is willing to drive an SUV through a crowd of highly fashionable people). I don't mind these pitches, because I realize we publicists often have to contact publications and writers we aren't familiar with.

I sometimes get e-mails from publicists trying to pitch celebrity profiles - which I don't do, unless the star also happens to be a publicist. Not many of those around (unless one is willing to drive an SUV through a crowd of highly fashionable people). I don't mind these pitches, because I realize we publicists often have to contact publications and writers we aren't familiar with.

This particular publicist was pitching a celebrity who had just made one of those fatuous "Top Celebrities of the Year" lists. Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with both the publication and the celebrity, but the latter apparently clocked in at No. 53. Intrigued as to how a 53rd-ranked celebrity could slip past my keen cultural radar, I wandered down to the magazine stand to check out numerous other publications with such lists. There were, reassuringly, hosts of old faves: Nicholson, Newman, Spears, et al. But I must admit there were just as many I didn't know. Is our gliteratti pool getting too shallow, or am I simply watching too much Discovery Channel and not enough ET? Granted, many of these newly famous are of the 15-minute variety. They are often winners of talent contests, bachelor searches, survival tests, and the like. Noticeably absent were the "everyday heroes" that comprised last year's lists: cops, fire fighters, doctors, and teachers. Remember the ordinary people we promised to honor after September 11? True, the media has a very short memory, but behind every top-10 list are a hundred publicists, and most ordinary people simply don't keep a publicist on retainer. The most surprising revelation was Jennifer Aniston being voted top celebrity on some online publication. Taxidermists In Love Monthly, I think it was. Jennifer seems like a perfectly decent sort, but did I miss something while I was lying around on a beach in Malta this summer? Has she done anything other than make a million bucks a week saying a handful of lines on a weekly TV show? Did she invent a cure for cancer, devise a new booster rocket for NASA, or donate a billion dollars to UNICEF? Is smiling all that's required to be a celebrity among celebrities? The public certainly has the right to demand more from its idols. Cash rebates, for one. How about if Leo DiCaprio, for example, refunds one dollar to each person who sees one of his movies over the holidays. That's the kind of noble thing we can rally around in these hard times. Jennifer, do I hear $2?
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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