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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Good stuff from The Daily Standard.

Two pieces worth noting:

1. Wielding a gore-caked axe, Matt Labash dances on the grave of the media creature known as Bennifer.

For the last year, even casual television-watchers and newspaper-readers have been afflicted by Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, the PDA-committing beast with two backs and one very prodigious behind, that gossip wags simply shorthand as "Bennifer." Apart, they were merely two over-hyped and overexposed mediocrities. Together, they resembled a blight, or even an unnatural disaster, two insatiable termites eating their way through the cultural rot of front-porch America.

Among other crimes against humanity, Bennifer has, in the parlance of Page Six, committed oodles of canoodles, and subjected us to constant public declarations of eternal devotion. In 2002, while J. Lo was still saddled with her back-up dancer/second husband Chris Judd, Affleck, seemed almost feverish to get in her knickers, taking out a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter. Contrary to the conventional wisdom on Lopez, he extolled her "graciousness of spirit, beauty in courage, great empathy, astonishing talent, real poise and true grace." By this point, Affleck, a self-admitted alcoholic, was supposed to have won his battle with the booze. He'd obviously suffered a relapse.

* * *

Then of course, there is a competing school of thought: that this whole break-up is part publicity stunt, part elaborate ruse--a sophisticated ploy to throw off the paparazzi so Bennifer can go ahead and have their wedding in peace, then sell the exclusive photo rights to offset costs that only they could incur, such as the $40,000 it took to charter a plane to fly in Jen's wedding dress. Like a bad slasher movie, it's a horrifying thought, that the Bennifer might not really be dead.

2. Switching gears, the invaluable Larry Miller offers his thoughts about the passing of his friend, John Ritter:

ABOUT A YEAR after the play John was asked to be the star of a television show called "Eight Simple Rules . . . for Dating My Teenage Daughter," and the writers and the cast were great, but there is no question whatsoever that the reason the show was a hit was because the country loved John in it. He and the producers asked me to do a scene in the pilot, and that led to my being in the first season a few times. I had the best time whenever I I walked onto that set, Stage 6 at Disney. My scenes were always with John, one-on-one, and he was the funniest, most generous actor I've ever met. Coincidentally, I was onstage rehearsing another one last week, the last one, the one that will never air, because that was the one where, on Thursday afternoon, the 11th, the star of the show suddenly got sick and, such a short time later, in the same hospital he was born, died.

It's a tragedy when anyone dies before his time, by accident, or misadventure, or, as with John, an invisible, congenital thing that just waited quietly and went off. His wife, Amy, was with him as was my friend, Flody, and Flody said one second they were wheeling him along, and John was joking around to make Amy feel better, and she laughed, and then, quietly, in an instant, like an edit, he was gone.

My father passed on seven years ago, and it was so sudden I always said he was sitting next to God before his knee even hit the floor. I think it was that way with John, too.

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