Stupidity is in.
I realize that's not a revelation. Paris, Brittany, Nicole, and Lindsay have made stupidity seem stale by now. But then, last night, Victoria arrived. As in Beckham: The British siren who was a pop music success for five minutes in the 90s and went on to marry a muscled soccer star, who cheated on her. (She took him back.) That's her storied rise to celebrity. And now she's come to America to join the roster of anti-role models for girls all over the country.
Every review I read about her reality show called it a train wreck, but I watched it anyway. I had to see for myself why she's been getting so much press. Since last January, when the Beckhams decided to move to L.A. for David Beckham's reported 250 million-dollar contract playing for Galaxy soccer, I've been bombarded by pictures of a dour-faced Victoria, wearing jagged hairstyles and posing like Catwoman. I've never seen her speak. So last night I tuned in to Victoria Beckham: Coming to America to see if maybe she was smarter and more winning than she looks.
No such luck. The show was a train wreck. But beyond the cringe factor, it was dispiriting. Not because I was surprised that it was inane, but that it was as inane as it was . All this woman seemed to do is get dressed up in outfits she can barely walk in, wear heavy make-up that's applied by one of her "closest friends," -- her sidekick makeup artist, and hobble around in high heels, going from one expensive store or mansion or car to another.
Not one intelligent sentence came out of her mouth. Not even genuine wit.
When she talked about missing her sons (who were back in Britain with their buff dad), she said one of them recently said he wants to marry someone as beautiful as Mommy. What about wanting to be like Mommy? What about Mommy's brain? Does Mommy spend time on anything except her body and her closet? Since one assumes she must, does the camera want to give us a glimpse of it, so there's some hope for girls watching?
News reports said that the producers of the Beckham special were hard up for material. Does that mean there was really nothing more interesting from Victoria than the time she bought an inflatable sex doll to act as a decoy for the paparazzi? (She wanted to be able to shop, unfollowed, at Chopard for a watch for her husband without cameras ruining the surprise.)
Show us what else Victoria does with her day to ensure that maybe she'll have a future when her body isn't perfect any more? What is the message to girls about life-after-suspiciously-perky-boobs?
Beckham obviously played up her incompetence to give the show some "story," but it was ridiculous to watch her ask the Motor Vehicle officer what he meant when he asked for her signature, and then to watch her cheat on the written driver's test by whispering questions to her personal assistant standing nearby.
Speaking of that personal assistant: Victoria's job requirements for her new American minion were that she be overweight and non-threatening. This woman fit the bill, praising Victoria's outfits and guffawing at her every joke. Now that's a career to aspire to.
When Victoria was asked to toss out the first ball at Dodgers Stadium, she went to the Little League field beforehand to have grade schoolers teach her how to throw. They should have informed her that real ball players don't wear teetering high heels on the mound. That's not a funny sight; it's just stupid. And it won't help your fast ball.
I'm not going to rail that the world is coming to an end just because vapid famous people make good television, but I am going to bemoan the fact that there is a dearth of the other kind of woman being shown to young girls who are so easily influenced. There is undeniably a message that simply looking sexy and inept will get you far in life.
I'll never forget the bat mitzvah party I attended recently, when the girl of the hour -- a brilliant A-student -- got up to thank her friends. In a Valley-ish voice that projected nothing of her education and intelligence, she said, "I just want to, like, thank my friends, who have, like, always been there for me! We have had, like, so much fun together!" That accomplished 12-year-old I knew vanished before my eyes.
I don't need to list the examples of the Dumb Girl Brigade. Brittany Spears has perfected ill-fitting dresses and invisible parenting. Kelly Pickler reinvigorated the dim blonde on American Idol when she couldn't pronounce "calamari." Even the president's twins, Barbara and Jenna's speech at the Republic Convention in 2004 epitomized the Keep-It-Stupid credo: they were giggly and inarticulate at the podium.
I have an eight-year-old daughter and I can only hope that by the time she starts to absorb the pop culture, there exist a few more pretty celebrities who can actually put a sentence together and seem proud of the fact.