Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Faked Out Again

Is there anything more irritating in the entertainment world than an athlete or performer who milks his retirement for every bit of publicity and adulation he can possibly squeeze from it and then refuses to actually retire?

Think Roger Clemens, he who announced his retirement prior to his "last" World Series and who was the toast of the sports world in his final days in a New York Yankee uniform. Everyone loved Roger (well, maybe not the folks in Boston) because of the way that he chose to retire on top after helping his team to get into another World Series, exactly what every major league ballplayer dreams of doing.One problem: Roger traded Yankee pinstripes for Houston Astros pinstripes just a few months later, pitched three years in Houston and then another half-season in New York. Who knows what happens next for Clemens unless the steroid scandal finally forces him into "real" retirement for good?

Think Garth Brooks, the guy who somehow hyped himself into country music stardom despite abandoning real country music to become Billy Joel in a cowboy hat (except that Billy never swung from ropes or smashed his piano on stage). Ol' Garth retired and then repackaged his same, sad selection of songs so many ways that only Wal-Mart could keep up with his "retirement." Then, of course, Garth and Trisha Yearwood made it official and got married just in time for him to sing on stage with her and record with her during his retirement. But, by then, all those Garth Brooks fanatics had already spent their money on all the repackaged goop they could get their hands on because Garth let them believe that was all there would be for at least the next dozen years. And the new songs keep trickling out. Funny guy, that Garth.

Now J.K. Rowling, she who practically shut down the world one night last July in celebration of what was said to be the last Harry Potter book EVER, a woman who makes the marketing machine behind Garth Brooks look amateurish, is hinting that she might yet write an eighth Harry Potter book...or a ninth or tenth, for all she knows. Seven, you say? We were promised seven and out and we all thought that we had now read the whole Potter saga so we laughed and cried together in sad celebration of the best and most important seven books ever written in the history of the world? No, says Ms. Rowling. Never say never.

These people have no shame. Their accountants and bankers love them, but I've had enough of faux retirements to last me a lifetime. Now, even Harry won't go away quietly.


  1. Tracey Ullmann said it best: "GO HOME! GO HOME!"

  2. There was a really good in-depth interview (1 hour) with J K Rowling on British TV last Sunday evening. The question of writing further HP books came up, and she said not for a long long time if ever. What she doesn't want is for someone else to take up the HP world (she considers it to be her inner world) and try to write further books and so she has attempted to block that from happening by giving verbal sketches of what happens to the characters and their children. She DID say that one of Harry's daughters intrigued her as she would marry a zoologist and travel to remote places to discover/document rare animals, birds and insects!

    Everyone who watched the programme (several millions I believe) was struck by how normal and nice she was, how unphased by fame and fortune. The programme was fascinating and far from sycophantic. She is currently working on a book for very young children - nothing to do with HP.

  3. Keith Whitley's death was a tragic event, but the worst aspect about it was that it allowed Garth Brooks to become a star.

  4. Herschellian, I'm sure she's a nice enough person and, since she struggled for so many years, I'm sure she's well-grounded.

    Personally, I'm just sick of all the hype associated with the whole Harry Potter thing and have come to believe that it is one of the most overrated products of the 20th century. Her folks have great marketing skills, and I suspect those skills far exceed the true value of Rowling's work.

    I'm ready to move on and give the floor to someone more worthy of literary praise.

  5. I'm a big Keith Whitley fan, Tony, and I agree that his sudden death was a major tragedy for country music, one from which the genre has never really recovered. Replacing a Keith Whitley with a Garth Brooks was almost enough to kill off country music...Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, etc. have finished it off now as far as commercial radio is concerned.