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L.A. Times Eats What The Publicists Feed Them
There was an ENORMOUS profile of the utterly uninteresting but non-sweatpants-wearing soccer wife Victoria Beckham in the LA Times' Image section this Sunday. Supposedly, according to the LAT, Mrs. Beckham's taking the town "by storm." It appears to me that the only people she's taking anywhere are the writers and editors hoodwinked by her publicity army.

The reality, in short: She's here. Nobody cares.

Why is this even significant? Well, because I think it shows the pull publicists (and lobbyists) can have on those who drink the Kool Aid and eat the free lunches.

At least Linda Stasi, at the New York Post, gets it:

The Beckhams drive to become as famous in the U.S. as they are in the U.K. is driven, of course, by Beck's signing a $250 million (yes, million) contract to play for the LA Galaxy soccer team. Good luck.

Until soccer can have as many commercials as football, baseball or basketball, it will never be covered as big time on U.S. TV. And without soccer taking hold, I don't think they will ever achieve their dreamed-of status as the most famous couple in the U.S.

But over at the LAT, Booth Moore, probably the least interesting fashion writer at a major daily, drools on publicist command:

IT'S her first time going for drinks at the Chateau Marmont, but she negotiates the dark staircase up to the lobby like a pro, using the kind of sidestep one has to perfect when 4-inch Balenciaga heels are everyday footwear.

In the words of a French photographer I know: "Eef you cannot do stairs without walking like a crab, you have no beezness wearing heels."

Booth continues her multi-page dribbling:

"Beckham, is it?" the bar hostess asks in a feeble attempt at acting nonchalant.

Oh, please. The bar hostess at the Chateau Marmont is suddenly starry-eyed at the pop star wife of a soccer player? Am I wrong to not trust Booth Moore's appraisal? Well, scroll down.

It's no use. There is just no way not to notice Victoria Beckham. She's dressed in a black bandage dress by Hervé Léger, her legs tanned the color of an Hermès Birkin.

Tanned the color of an Hermès Birkin? Would that be ice blue or hot pink?

Now, perhaps she means the original Birkin, made for actress/singer/Serge Gainsbourg muse Jane Birkin. Was the original brown? Did all the LAT readers have access to Google as they read this story to search all the various colors of Jane Birkin's Birkin? (Apparently, she only ever had two, and this one seem to be the older one, and it's black. So Victoria Beckham has...jet black legs?)

Birkin, Merkin...Oh, fuck it. Let's move on.

This week, the Beckhams and their three boys move into the $22-million, 13,000-square-foot Italianate house they bought in Beverly Hills. ("I didn't want anything too big and ostentatious," she says, by all indications being serious.) But for months, every detail of their arrival has been engineered to build buzz. The Beckhams hit the Oscar party circuit in February, then announced plans for a reality show in March, which Victoria began filming in May, popping up at the Grove, the Saddle Ranch Chop House and the Pleasure Chest sex shop — always with a film crew in tow and always in a head-turning get-up.

I can't think of a less compelling woman, and frankly, while she does typically look put-together, it's the merely the look of money buying trashy, and her style is neither very creative nor very interesting.

By the way, speaking of sex shops and soccer wives, the LAT has yet to correct this July 8 story by Grahame Jones on which Mickey Kaus "fact-checked their ass":

On another occasion, while Victoria was expecting their third child, Beckham spent $1.8 million for a diamond-encrusted sex toy with matching 16-carat diamond necklace.

Here's Mickey pretending it's Luke who was sloppy:

The Strange Case of the Diamond Dildo:

It's just like porn-centric lone L..A. blogger Luke Ford, writing about new arrival David Beckham, to recklessly report:

On another occasion, while Victoria was expecting their third child, Beckham spent $1.8 million for a diamond-encrusted sex toy with matching 16-carat diamond necklace. [E.A.]

Too good to check--and bloggers don't have to check, do they? It turns out Mrs. Beckham has now denied the tidbit:

"It isn't true," Victoria said, her voice calm and measured. "We do buy each other nice things," she admitted, but some things get exaggerated. "I don't have a diamond-encrusted vibrator."

Indeed, a quick NEXIS search brings up a lot of stories citing a man who was selling $1.8 million diamond-encrusted vibrators speculating that Beckham was thinking about buying one. Anyone with any professional journalistic experience would view with suspicion subsequent reports that might have Beckham actually purchasing the thing.

Posted by aalkon at July 17, 2007 7:18 AM


Why is the (trash) media trying to jam these people down my throat? I've only got things to say on the subject:

1) The Spice Girls sucked when they were popular.
2) No one in the US cares about soccer unless their kids are playing.

Posted by: meshaliu at July 17, 2007 6:48 AM

Even with the hoopla over the Beckhams hype, I'm still not interested in watching a single football/soccer game. I'd rather watch curling, sober.

Brits succeed in the US via our floundering publishing and journalism entities and not through sports or athletics. The Beckhams will fail and blame the uncouth Americans along with the UK tabloid press. I thought cricket was the sport of elites over on the isles? Someone needs to inform the American soccer mommies, just because its ‘European’ doesn’t automatically make it sophisticated.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 6:54 AM

I'm not sure it's possible to determine whether the "tv Beckhams" will fail/not fail? Since Posh is already a kitsch Amazon warrior in the stadium of the uncouth anyway.

Re: the diamond dildo thing.
I took one for the Empire by watching NBC's documentary last night and there was a whole segment about Posh going to a sex shop to buy a blow-up doll as a decoy for the pap press while she went off, in fact, to shop for a vulgarly pricey diamond-dripping watch as a surprise gift for her hubbie.

Possibly this is the Chinese whispers source of the diamond dildo red herring?

(I do have a few more metaphors going spare...)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 7:10 AM

I didn't think there was $250 million available in the entire soccer world, let alone a surplus available to woo one past-his-prime player.

Posted by: snakeman99 at July 17, 2007 7:38 AM

I didn't think there was $250 million available in the entire soccer world, let alone a surplus available to woo one past-his-prime player.

Only about 50 million of the contract is actually being paid by the team; the rest is through endorsement deals.

I agree - this is a nonevent, culturally. And Kaus' skewering of the LAT was great, one of the best among many tweaks of that paper.

Posted by: justin case at July 17, 2007 7:54 AM


The only way I know about the Beckham story is through Amy's post and seeing the cover of Sports Illustrated at one of my cousin’s house over the weekend. If it were not for the internet or the magazine, any reference to 'Beckham' would have received a response from me: "What about the historian?" (reference to Stephen D. Beckham)

Yes, I am quite lame when it comes to celebrity culture and other significant subjects.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 8:49 AM

"The only way I know about the Beckham story is..."

Remember, knowledge is its own reward, Joe:)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 8:59 AM

Other than publicity placements, you really don't hear about this girl. Now, I'm not eavesdropping on the whole of Los Angeles, but I have yet to hear anyone anywhere mention her at all.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 9:09 AM

Quite true, but there have been a few uncomfortable public faux pas moments. One person asked if I was living in a jungle the last few years Well, mostly a desert region, with a few excursions into a sub Saharan environment from time to time. The jungle experiences would come later and rare.

Usually, I'm comfortable going both ways... being the performer or the target of a joke. Once in a while, there are moments of being both at the same time.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 9:56 AM

..."..but there have been a few uncomfortable public faux pas moments.."

Aw, c'mon, Joe.

Faux pas indeed!

Some boob asks you if you've been "living in a jungle" 'cos, say, you can't tell a Posh from a Paris.

And you have to point out that no, actually, it was a desert - not a jungle?

Who's winning the cool wars there:)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 10:32 AM

Yes it does have perks.

I am guilty of venting and trying to alter the thread away from the evils of celebrity culture with a little side detour.

By the way, did you watch the movie?

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 11:26 AM

By the way, did you watch the movie?

Not yet, Joe - (if you mean "The A of E"?) . It's now at 16 in the family Netflix queue. We have an irritating democratic rule here which I introduced but now regret. No one is unilaterally allowed to move "their" latest movie request into prime position without UN-style bargaining. This was intended to benefit me but the older son - a film student - is home for the summer - and he's swamped the system.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 12:02 PM

The only thing I care about regrding the Beckhams is now that they are in LA hopefully some enterprising paparatzi will manage to get a sex tape of her. Other than than that I could care less

Posted by: lujlp at July 17, 2007 12:50 PM

Yes, The A of E. Its one of those rare movies where the screenplay directs the movie, instead of the actual director. (Arthur Hiller of Love Story fame) It will be worth the wait.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 12:57 PM

The speeches alone you pasted will be worth it Joe...talking of great screenplays, funnily enough I was working with a lovely archivist yesterday - his last job was helping Bud Schulberg get his papers in order ("On the Waterfront"/"A Face in the Crowd" writer. Guy is 93 and still going...)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 1:23 PM

Major apologies to Amy for going off-topic..I honestly don't know what I was suddenly thinking!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 17, 2007 1:26 PM

Budd Schulberg is a national treasure. One of the last of the Cold War liberals of the John Steinbeck mold. What Makes Sammy Run? is a personal favorite and I would recommend it to your filmmaker son, if you haven't already. ;)

Yes, Amy sorry.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2007 2:19 PM

Who is this Beckham person? Dammit, I want to know about Paris!

Posted by: Radwaste at July 17, 2007 2:39 PM

Don't apologize -- it brings back good memories. I used to live at Lafayette and Houston, a few floors below his sister Barbara.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 4:24 PM

> uninteresting but non-sweatpants-
> wearing soccer wife

No matter how backhanded that post looks to newcomers to your blog, I read that as fairly high praise from you. Someone else on the internet said something kinda nice this morning too... I think it was NYPost review of the show, that said the problem is that she's pretty normal. She's a little funny-looking, but nowhere near as grating as people hold Hilton and Lohan to be.

Posted by: Crid at July 17, 2007 5:01 PM

I'm just happy to look at photos of the husband. I don't care who he's married to.

Posted by: Lena at July 17, 2007 9:30 PM

Pffft. In three weeks the paparazzi will get bored with the Beckhams, and they'll be able to walk around Los Angeles just as anonymously as every member of the L.A. Galaxy does. MLS and its sponsors paid $250 million for about three weeks of contrived tabloid coverage.

Posted by: Gary S. at July 17, 2007 11:49 PM

Right? Especially with the latest news that Beckham's most recent injury will prevent him from playing the all-important 1st game.

Posted by: Flynne at July 18, 2007 11:05 AM

You're right, Crid, that is a compliment -- but only because the quality of dress of everyone else in Los Angeles is so low!

The Beckhams can walk around Los Angeles anonymously now!

A large part of what's making the difference at the moment in terms of attention paid when they're out (I mean, beyond the all out war to get her in the media that's clearly being waged by their hired flacks)...go anywhere in an extremely expensive car, accompanied by an entourage, and people will look at you.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 18, 2007 3:10 PM

I'm with Lena. Who cares about anything when you're looking at those photos? And did you see the white speedo photo? Whew... I just blushed a bit.

Posted by: Christina at July 18, 2007 3:21 PM

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