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BOOK EXCERPT: The Entitlement of Celebrity


EXCERPT FROM Burt Prelutsky’s: Liberals: America’s Termites or It’s a Shame That Liberals, Unlike Hamsters, Never Eat Their Young

Although, as a rule, those people who star in movies are more obnoxious than their colleagues in television – perhaps because we’re not inviting them into our homes – the folks on TV tend to be even whinier.

The question that comes to mind is when appearing on the tube went from being a well-paid privilege to being an inalienable right.


So far as I know, it first became an issue when “Murder She Wrote,” a CBS staple from 1984 to 1996, was canceled. The phenomenon may have pre-dated that event, but that’s when I became aware of the sea change. Prior to that, diehard fans were naturally disappointed whenever one of their favorite shows bit the dust, but it was understood that nothing went on forever.

However, in 1996, Angela Lansbury went ballistic over her show’s demise, even though it had already made her enormously wealthy. As I recall, Ms. Lansbury felt that CBS had not treated her and the show with the proper reverence. She didn’t seem to realize that a pink slip is a pink slip, and should not be confused with a condolence card. In any case, I felt that someone should have pointed out to the lady that CBS is a corporation and not a friend of the family – although God knows this particular corporation had been enormously generous to her family, most of whom had wound up on the show’s payroll – and that a 13-year run is about as reverential as TV ever gets.

Since then, every time a show gets axed because of poor ratings or lousy demographics or because the star is so deeply into drugs that she can’t read a cue card, we have come to expect the likes of Ellen Degeneres, Jane Seymour and Brett Butler, to accuse cold-hearted corporate robots of having it in for them. The fact of the matter is that any TV network would be only too happy to hire Osama bin Laden to host a game show if they could only work out a deal. There is a reason, after all, they call it the bottom line.

Will we ever forget the media frenzy over Ted Koppel’s possible cancellation and the spectacle of Bill Maher’s carrying on over the axing of “Politically Correct” as if it was another of those notorious right-wing conspiracies? The plain fact of the matter is that nobody had been tuning in “Nightline” for years, except to see if Koppel had finally found a decent barber. As for Maher, I personally don’t know anyone who hadn’t grown tired of his incessant, adolescent gushing over the sheer wonderfulness of marijuana. So, while his 9/11 comments about the cowardice of the American military may have cost him an advertiser or two, did he really expect that his talk show, which was neither entertaining nor enlightening, was entitled to an eternal slot on the schedule?

From whence comes this bizarre sense of entitlement? And how is it that modestly talented people who have been made ridiculously rich and famous feel compelled to bite the hands that have fed them so well? What ever happened to simple, old-fashioned gratitude? More to the point, why do any of us hop aboard their ugly little, ego-powered, bandwagons?

And, finally, I’d like to know if Angela Lansbury ever sent Christmas cards and birthday gifts and little love notes to CBS during any of those 13 years they were going together.

“Termites” is only available through Amazon or, for an autographed copy, by sending a check or money order for $20 to cover shipping and handling to Scorched Earth Press, 16604 Dearborn Street, North Hills, CA 91343-3604.

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