by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Last week, as I sat before my TV watching Tonya Harding pummel Paula Jones, I was struck with a sudden thought.


I want Darva Conger next. Linda Tripp after that. Jenny McCarthy should be in the wings, alongside Gennifer Flowers, (Downtown) Julie Brown, Lorena Bobbitt and that witchy woman from “Survivor.”

On the men’s side, the dressing room should be packed. I’m seeing not only Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams, Vanilla Ice and Todd Bridges — all of whom fought in Fox’s “Celebrity Boxing” last week — but also Kato Kaelin, Fabio, Tom Arnold, Macaulay Culkin, Boy George, Donato (The Fisherman) Dalrymple, and, most definitely, Carrot Top.

I’m seeing a long night. I’m seeing uppercuts and jabs. But understand. I don’t want them boxing each other.

I want them destroying each other.

I’m thinking “Gladiator” here. We grab all of these desperately-clinging-to-the-last-rung-of-celebrity types and let them battle to the death.

That way, when it’s all over, we only have one annoying, low talent person on our hands.

And we drop a safe on him.

The not-so-sweet science

What’s that, you say? You think I’m going too far? Au contraire.

When you have a scandalized figure skater boxing a presidential fling thing — and it’s one of Fox’s highest rated programs of the year! — there is no bottom. The bottom fell out.

When you have a ring “analyst,” Boom Boom Mancini, saying “Todd Bridges has to be the favorite! He once met Muhammad Ali on the set of ‘Diff’rent Strokes!’ ”
— there is no bottom. The bottom fell out.

When that same analyst says “Paula Jones got down and dirty with one of the most powerful men on Earth, so we know she’s got what it takes to go the distance” — there is no bottom. The bottom fell out.

And when Jones says she’s “a little worried” about ruining her nose job, and Harding says she’s doing it “because the money will get me out of debt” and Bonaduce and Bridges tattoo their naked backs with the name of a dot-com company — there is no bottom. The bottom fell out.

So why fight it? Fighting gets you nowhere. I have railed against celebrities until my blood vessels burst.

I have written endlessly about our trash culture society, fiddling while the rest of the world burns. I have encouraged reading, listening to music, talking to family, exercising, even chanting at the edge of a riverbed — anything as an alternative to the E! Channel, “Access Hollywood” or the Psychic Friends Network.

And what happens?

Fox puts six has-beens in a ring and has a ratings smash.

A battle royal

So if you can’t beat ’em — let ’em beat themselves.

Forget six boxers. Go for 60. Forget the standing eight count. Forget referees. Forget rules. Whatever they can smuggle in, they can use.

Let Monica Lewinsky destroy Latoya Jackson and Richard Simmons destroy Richard Hatch. If these people are that desperate to be seen, and we are that desperate to watch them, why have limits? Eventually, we lift them anyhow.

Eventually, marriage becomes something you do with a stranger on live TV. And fidelity becomes something you test on an island with bikini-clad hot tubbers. And family is who you throw chairs at on talk shows. And courage is letting rodents crawl across your face. Limits? What limits?

You know who the advertisers were for Fox’s trashy boxing last week? Chevrolet and McDonald’s.

You know who the producer was? Mike Darnell, the same guy who created “Who Wants To Marry a Multi-millionaire?” That show ended in shame and fraud and apologies from the network. But was Darnell let go or downsized? Nope. He’s still there. Still contributing to our society.

Why? He makes his bosses money.

And we give it to him.

“The thing that’s great about this show doing well,” Darnell said, “is that hopefully the pool of names looking to participate will grow.”

Why? Was Carrot Top busy?

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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