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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Bennifer - The magic that was

I'm feeling down about morons who slip stupid coded downloads into their blogs (all right, more like paste them on with the electronic equivalent of sloppy Elmer's glue that gets all over your fingers and winds up peeling off like the aftermath of a Death Valley sunburn)....WHEN, along comes a Yahoo! news story that lightens my spirits. The "Bennifer" engagement ring is up for sale.

Why would any reminder of the crashed, burned, trodden on, turned into a latrine relationship of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez appeal to me? Because it's like a penalty kick in football (soccer), a slow, hanging curveball in baseball, a first and goal at the one-inch line. It's like having a 90 pound weakling pick a fight with you. It's how George W. Bush would have felt if Dennis Kucinich had won the Democratic primary. These are easy targets. These are frozen ducks at 10 paces with a shotgun. Score!

I think the most interesting thing about the relationship was the tabloids choice of the name for the couple: "Bennifer". It is a singularly ridiculous pairing of their names, the kind of wordplay that could only have been accomplished by someone whose biggest previous challenge in newsprint was finding a way to combine the words "Bigfoot" and "love child" in the same sentence.

There are so many better possibilities: Ben-Lo, Jenffleck, J-leck, Af-Lo, Loffleck, Jennifen, Ben-pez, B.J. and the Bear. Why settle on something that nearly rhymes with "Winnifred", a word completely unsuitable for big-shot, celebrity scandal-mongering?

In truth I didn't follow the relationship that much, for the same reasons I don't follow trials like the Michael Jackson or Scott Peterson case (somewhere a Court TV reporter is praying they wind up in a cell together, just for the two-shot). It depressed the hell out of me.

I and Mrs. Fando took a tour of the BBC a few years ago and the guides mentioned Ms. Lopez's visit there, her large entourage and the several tiny Beeb green rooms they took up, her insistence that certain French luxuries be flown over during her short visit, and finally, most galling from my way of thinking, that Britney Spears was also on the BBC around that time, did two or three shows in her visit and was relatively normal, undemanding, and even earned the respect of those who met her.

Allow me to repeat myself: Britney Spears outclassed J-Lo. Britney "Let's get married for a few hours in Vegas" Spears. The same Britney Spears who once said "I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada." OK, she's not bright, but is apparently easier to get along with than Jennifer Lopez...though in all honesty they may have liked her better because her name was "Brit"-ney. (Somewhere, Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth the Second groans.)

This then was the woman Ben Affleck was drawn to. Was the attraction her insistence on being surrounded with a few dozen close friends, assistants, personal trainers, massusses, and bodyguards? Was Ben lonely as a child? Was it her ample posterior? Was he that obsessive and particular? Or did she just threaten to beat him about the head with a nightstick like that scene in "Out of Sight", if he didn't propose?

Well, it's over and now the ring's for sale for those wealthy individuals desperate enough for attention. "Look, I'm wearing the 'Bennifer' ring!" "OOOOH, they match your Madonna necklace and Evita Peron evening gown beautifully!" For some people, this ill-fated, star-crossed, cliche'-inducing romance can never be forgotten, so long as there are dinner parties to attend and snooty people who are easily impressed by the discarded dregs of Hollywood celebrity.

I expect the Trumps will top the bidding.


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