Jewish World Review August 11, 2003 / 13 Menachem-Av, 5763

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Consumer Reports

How J.Lo lost her glow | First of all, there is no truth to the rumor that North Korea wants to mass-produce the new Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck movie "Gigli." Apparently, that bomb is far too much for Kim Jong Il and his minions to handle. Best to stay with the nuclear stuff, which, apparently, is far less daunting than "Gigli."

Here's the question: Why is the press taking such glee in the failure of J.Lo and her boyfriend Ben, and why did the folks reject the film in the first place? Other terrible movies at least got an initial sampling. Well, the short answer is that "Gigli" is beyond terrible. It makes J.Lo's appearance in "Anaconda" look like "Citizen Kane." But the more serious problem for J.Lo and Ben is that like Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, and other exhibitionistic performers, putting your love life on display is offensive and crude to many of us. And that becomes a factor when deciding what entertainment vehicle to spend your $9 on and which performers to take seriously.

There's a reason it's called your "private life." Personal intimacy is supposed to be shared feelings of affection between two people. It's not supposed to be bartered for magazine covers and segments on "Entertainment Tonight."

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Does anyone in their right mind think that actress Demi Moore is helping her image by dating a guy who could be in charge of a frat house? Would Meryl Streep do this? Would Holly Hunter run all over Southern California holding hands with Eminem? Sure, it would get her publicity, but what about dignity? That's the key word here.

Most Americans are far more traditional than the elite media wants to believe. Public displays of affection are off-putting to many, especially if they are incessant. I mean, is there a person in his or her right mind who wants any more "insight" into the relationship of Jolie and Thornton? Enough already.

And it's not just famous people in play here. If you are making your private life a public spectacle, that will eventually hurt you. We all know people who can't stop talking about their "relationships." Do you want to go camping with those folks?

Critical mass is reached quite quickly with this kind of stuff. I believe Ms. Lopez and Mr. Affleck have severely worn out their welcome. Their in-your-face love affair has become obnoxious. They, themselves, have become tabloid cartoons and have lost credibility among those who are not really interested in salacious gossip.

The careers of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton nose-dived after the "Cleopatra" soap opera, and I could give you dozens of other examples of famous people who have damaged themselves after marketing their personal lives. It never works. We are a nation constantly looking for the new thrill, the new dish, the new scandal. We easily tire of publicity hounds like Roseanne, Madonna and Michael Jackson, who have all learned the hard way.

Dignity is what Americans admire, as the recent reaction to the death of Bob Hope proves. Nobody is perfect, and all personal interactions have speed bumps. But fighting for your privacy is a sign of character. Telling all about your latest love exploits is not. Jennifer, Ben, Angelina, Demi and all the others would be wise to rethink what they are putting out there. Fame may be the name of the short-term game, but self-respect is the key to a successful life.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.

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