August 15, 2006


Akikoyada_1Celebrities. It's hard to be them. Sometimes people act like you're the devil, and sometimes you are the devil, but that's usually just because you're misunderstood. Like poor Taiwanese rapper Jeff Huang. In 2003 there was legislation to limit the fees performers could be paid for legally downloaded music and Huang, never one to back down from an opportunity to spit rhymes, named the 43 legislators supporting the bill in a song, claiming they were being "bribed by the website owners" and that they should watch out and might die unexpectedly. Stunned that Huang was organized enough to kill 43 legislators, the Taiwanese legislature swung into action and three years later, Huang is being indicted for the threats. Former party leader Chiu Yi-ying wants to make Huang apologize and says she'll drop the suit if he does. Huang says he's not apologizing and Huang fans are supporting their hero Naomi-Campbell-style by calling Chiu's office and verbally abusing her staff.

"She is complaining about the truth, and I will not compromise when it comes to that," Huang says.

Which is exactly how Aflac Japan feels about Japanese star, Akiko Yada. A spokesmodel for insurance giant Aflac for the last 4 years, Yada has kept her image so clean that it squeaks. That is until she was spotted on a Hawaiian vacation with Manabu Oshio a notorious bad boy who spits at the paparazzi. Aflac dropped her from the campaign like a hot potato and a producer for the commercials refused to compromise about the truth when he said, "When the women's magazine took photos of her pouring suntan lotion over the back of guy whose body was covered in tattoos she looked like nothing more than a typical yakuza whore."

Perhaps he should have attended the Hong Kong Sex Workers' Film Festival so he could have a reference point. Featuring movies by and about sex workers from all over the world, it opened August 10 and the organizers are already complaining that it's underfunded. There's a simple solution to that problem right there in the title of their festival, and I bet when they realize it they're going to be kicking themselves.

This would be a better way to make money than the eight recently-raided Malaysian DVD pressing plants which were making pirated discs at the same time that they made officially licensed DVDs and VCDs of the exact same movies. How they thought they wouldn't get caught is a puzzlement, but it was fun while it lasted. Then the MPA swung into action and arrests were made.

But let's not forget that there is also goodness in the world. Gwyneth Paltrow's "I am African" ads. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Imaginary Suri stopping to lift a burning car off six homeless orphans and their pet baby seal. And Zhang Ziyi making soup. Apparently the much-loathed Chinese star is such a swell gal that she made soup for the art and cinematography departments on THE BANQUET and spooned it into their mouths herself while they desperately assembled her mile-long silk gowns with bloody, shredded fingers for three dollars an hour.

But what if you really are the devil? Is there any hope? The short answer is: no. Akuma was just a normal kid born in 1993, like millions of others, but his parents named him "Akuma" which means "devil" in Japanese. The Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau challenged the name and it became a national obsession for a while until poor Akuma was allowed to be named Akuma after all and the fame clock hit the fifteen minute mark. Akuma Update: his dad lost his business in 1994, and in 96 he got divorced from Akuma's mother and was subsequently convicted on drug charges and went to prison. Akuma was sent to a Boys Home. Dad's out of prison now, but says Akuma's too expensive and is keeping him in the home. But he's a good soccer player and as a relative says, "He spends his summer holidays with relatives and always goes back to the Boys Home with a really good tan."

See, Suri Cruise-Holmes. Just because you bear the name of the devil, it doesn't mean things are going to turn out badly for you. You can always get a really good tan.

(Thanks to Jennifer for all the hope, and to Suri Cruise-Holmes for proving that being imaginary doesn't mean that you can't inspire everyone)

August 15, 2006 at 10:35 AM in News | Permalink


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