It’s like this. On Tuesday night I had a startling realisation: I’ve surrendered my personality and/or masculinity to popular culture – and mostly because of the internet.
I was walking home from work with a skip in my step. Why? Because I was counting down the minutes until the Being Lara Bingle premiere. Yes, Being Lara Bingle.
At this point a friend stopped me in my tracks to remind me there was a schedule clash. “Ummm, the Socceroos are playing Japan in half an hour!”
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Lara Bingle. Controversial? Definitely. Polarising? Certainly. Gossip fodder? Absolutely. Savvy? You betcha. Not as vacuous as most people think? You’d better believe it.
The 24-year-old’s first foray into television debuted on screens across the country last night and while most were too proud to admit it, almost a million people tuned in to watch her show.
We set aside half an hour to sit down with our cups of tea and bucket loads of commentary and we watched it. All 925,000 of us.
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So US tourist numbers are down since Oprah’s “Down Under” fire sale of our national dignity and the much-wished-for Oprah cash has failed to materialise.
The idea of letting a foreign talk show host turn our country into giant television studios smelt dodgy from the start, but after yesterday’s revelations, it stinks.
The news yesterday that US visitor numbers have dropped by 0.8 per cent in the last year just leaves you wondering how this ever got so out of hand.
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Lara Bingle’s recently discovered that she only has three real friends to call on in her time of need, but at least she’s capable of doing the right thing when it comes to engagement break-up etiquette.
As she told the Daily Telegraph this morning, she didn’t think twice about giving the $200, 000 ring back to Michael Clarke:
“I felt it was the right thing to do. It cost a lot of money and he works so hard to achieve what he does, I just thought that was the best thing.”
And according to The Knot wedding website that’s exactly what she should do. Because while legally there’s no real reason why you should hand it back, good etiquette demands that you do.
Even so, have you seen the ring? What would you do?
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The media storm surrounding Lara Bingle and that bloke who plays cricket has got me thinking about the pressures of celebrity and whether we should give a bugger about putting famous people under such intense scrutiny. It also got me thinking about my own brief, shameful experience with harassing a star.
Several years ago I went to dinner at a posh Chinese restaurant. This may sound perfectly benign, but I’m a squeamish vegetarian. Being surrounded by living things swimming in tanks meant the only thing on the menu that looked vaguely appetising was the beer. Two slabs later, while my friends were still picking at their entrees, I decided I needed to make a phone call.
I staggered down the restaurant stairs like a drag queen post-Sleaze Ball and off to the phone box outside. In the middle of this drink-and-dial episode I spotted a large man sheltering a smaller man in a way that made him look important. So I dropped the phone and tottered over to see who the smaller man was. It turned out it was the actor John Cusack. Being a self-anointed film critic I proceeded helpfully to tell him who he was. “You’re John Cusack”, I slurred.
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``How do you start a small business? Give Warwick Fairfax a big one’‘, should be reworked in a PR context in honour of Australia’s pre-eminent spiv, the celebrity publicist Max Markson.
The events of the past few days have demonstrated, in my view, that if you really want to damage your reputation, you should hire Max Markson to defend it.
In a few days, Markson has helped pull off an extraordinary feat in relation to his new client, Lara Bingle. His contributions have only helped to further turn what seems like the entire country against this girl when, less than a week ago, she was enjoying rare public support after being belittled and demeaned by one of the biggest yobbos to grace an Australian sports field.
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Update - 8pm: A Current Affair has reported that Clarke has ended his relationship with Bingle. Read the news.com.au report here.
I’ve been thinking for a while now that the Australian cricket team and the huge machinery around it contained a bunch of over-paid, under-developed, spoiled brats happily trapped in a pre-feminist world, but today really tipped it over the edge for me.
It’s clear the cricket mob is not coping with the loss of the good old days when wives maintained a dignified presence at home for 10 months of the year while their husbands traveled their way around the world safely cocooned in the mantra “what goes on tour stays on tour.”
According to Peter Roebuck, Robert Craddock, Mark Waugh, and just about every other bloke with an opinion on this, Lara Bingle didn’t get the memo that it’s her job to stay at home and play a “quiet, dignified supporting role.”
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Who needs Posh ‘n’ Becks? Australian cricket vice-captain Michael Clarke and his model girlfriend Lara Bingle have confirmed themselves as the nation’s celebrity circus couple.
Clarke is known for being unhappy with the ongoing publicity that surrounds their relationship but its effect has reached a nadir with him quitting the team camp on the eve of a one-day match against New Zealand because his girlfriend was upset.
This is no Hollywood couple’s restaurant flare-up. Clarke’s sudden and stunning decision to return to Sydney to be with Bingle raises questions on his future role in the team and ability to focus on his cricket. Clarke has been a consistently excellent performer and is the favourite to succeed Ricky Ponting as captain.
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