A celebutard, by Andrea Peyser’s definition is, “a famous person with a grandiose notion of his own importance … a human being of subpar intellect, oversized ego, and colossal bank account.”
In other words, Sean Penn.
Peyser, the New York Post columnist, takes aim at Penn and other familiar targets who fancy themselves political pundits. It’s fish in a barrel time, but Peyser’s pugnacious prose makes it all go down so very easily. One only wishes she didn’t expand her target rich environment to include lefty politicians. There’s more than enough inane chatter coming from Hollywood to feed this book and a few others. At some point in too many celebrities’ lives, Peyser reasons, the famous begin believing in their own ignorance.
Take Penn, for example. Peyser lampoons his many public statements and actions, from his boating excursion during Hurricane Katrina to his admission that Saddam Hussein used him as a propaganda pawn in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Penn, like every other celebutard here, gets deconstructed with a short bio and details of his rise to fame.
Any conservative with an internet connection or a radio can name the names on Peyser’s list: Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon, Sheryl Crow, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and others. Babs gets taken down, hard, for her blog’s frequent and hilarious spellings and her even more confusing explanations for them. Peyser hammers Crow for suggesting we only use a square or two of toilet paper to save the word from climate Armageddon. Madonna gets the material taken out of her in Peyser’s short but withering chapter on the pop princess. While the singer dabbles in dubious political science on stage, her bigger sins involve the hypocrisy betwixt her work and the values she tries to instill in her children.
Some information won’t be familiar to most readers, like the bitter exchange between sour comic Bill Maher and talk show host Craig Ferguson. Peyser relates an unsettling interview in which Maher claims he’d rather be “diddled” by Michael Jackson than beaten up on the schoolyard, while Ferguson squirms in his seat and calls for a commercial break. That’s ugly stuff, about as ugly as a celebutard can get.
Laurie David, famous for being the former wife of Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David, gets her own chapter to detail her global warming hypocrisy. She’s the ultimate “do as I say” charter member, and Peyser punctures her self-importance with alacrity. Yes, she takes private planes often, but she does feel very guilty about it. That makes it all better, right? It’s a stretch to include David here, since she’s not nearly as famous as the other people in Peyser’s cross hairs. But what about Nancy Pelosi, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the New York Times? That last one isn’t even a person, it’s merely the Democratic Party’s daily talking points.
Oddly enough, former Vice President Al Gore’s inclusion makes perfect sense. He’s no longer a politician. He’s a left-leaning rock star, celebrated hero, Oscar winner, and prophet all rolled up in one. But his penchant for gobbling up energy via his oversized home, and his film An Inconvenient Truth‘s sloppy truth-telling makes him fair game.
Simply put, Peyser should have dug deeper with her research. Celebrities are constantly spilling inane information, most often about how they can‘t believe anyone can admit to being a Republican. Heck, the fact that her book leaves Cher out is a troubling sign. Sonny‘s better half is a walking, talking, and sometimes singing celebutard.
Celebutards also tends to get too personal. Peyser often meets the rich and famous, and she lets the reader know it. The book feels like the author is getting even with some chapters, letting those she interviews for her newspaper column know she’s on to them. And some critiques seem downright unfair. Her chapter on Clooney slaps the handsome star for openly enjoying the single life. Heck, he’s shouted to the rooftops how he doesn’t want to be married, so why blame him when a long line of gal pals are shocked by his unwillingness to marry them? Peyser also feigns incredulity that Clooney could be upset by a paparazzi stalking him all the way to the men’s room. I think the ER star has a good reason to be miffed about that.
The book delights in rumors that some of these celebutards could be hiding their true sexuality. The section on Winfrey reads like a gossip page run amok, with innuendo and half-truths trying to pin the talk show goddess as a lesbian. Whether she is or not has nothing to do with her well earned celebutard status.
Celebutards could have been sharper, savvier, and even more eviscerating of its targets. But Peyser’s aim is mostly true, and the celebutards in question should take a long look in the mirror before making their next inane pronouncements.