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.
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