One of the interesting things about LA is the people you see while
just going about your business. Biking through Marina del Rey, I
happened upon a bearded man in a G-string and hiking boots who claimed
himself a miracle healer. I wasn't in need of a miracle at that precise
moment, but he managed to solicit a couple of bucks from me anyway. I
told him he was taking casual Fridays too far.
A while later I passed Martin Sheen, who was not nude, but handsomely
attired in a very sharp suit. He was filming a PSA for what I presumed
to be the LA County Sheriff's department, owing to the three LASD vans
parked nearby. I waved to him, and he smiled and nodded. I was tempted
to stop and bring up the time I interviewed him on the set of a movie a
few years back, but thought better of it. It's not nice to put people on
the spot like that. Besides, he's got a country to run (on TV).
Since so many other people here are also on TV, fitness, and looks are
taken very seriously. This weekend LA hosted a Festival of Health and
Fitness, offering seminars about health, wellness (apparently there's a
difference), and appearance. Two of them caught my eye: "Facial
Rejuvenation Without Surgery" (and 10,000 plastic surgeons tremble), and
"Got Sex?" I couldn't track down the publicist for "Got Sex?," perhaps
indicating, in his or her case, the answer is yes.
One of the prominent scheduled guests at the festival was Dr. Barry
Sears, diet guru and creator of "The Zone" phenomenon. Dr. Sears'
approach to weight-loss is that fat and protein are your friends. Who
doesn't like the sound of that?
I worked at the PR firm where the Sears dietary heresy was launched.
I remember sitting in on a business pitch conference call with a Dr.
So-and-So and being shocked. This quack was railing against
carbohydrates, the dietitians' darling, and advocating steak! He dreamed
of creating an entire industry around his "Zone" philosophy. I thought
he was half-crazy, but nevertheless wrote an enthusiastic PR proposal
that won the account. Thankfully, another publicist, Tany Soussanna, was
asked to do all the work. After all, winning accounts is more fun than
working on them, yes?
Well, Tany ran with Barry Sears like she was Barry Sanders. She is to
the PR profession what a pit bull terrier is to canines. Her dogged
tenacity helped make Sears famous and convinced millions to abandon
fat-free muffins and have a little bacon.
So the moral is, if you've lost weight on "The Zone," there's a
Tinseltown publicist to thank. If you haven't, well, for heaven's sake,
put down that pork rib. Maybe the good doctor was wrong.