… the controversy is leaving with us

I’m not sure if there has ever been a gossip column in The Temple News. I know that when I was a freshman, there was no one to shove out of the way. The landscape of entertainment reporting in this town, let alone at a college newspaper, is rough. Other things take big, big precedence.

Like sports. Philadelphians want Eagles scores, not Britney sightings. Or “real news,” where 10-car pile-ups get top billing over Kate Moss piling up cocaine lines. The news agenda I can live with; that’s likely never going to change.

Yet over my three years writing this column I’ve witnessed some fascinating things about the role of celebrity and entertainment in our culture. You want sports?

How about the tug-of-war I went through with cracked out Scientologists over the tiniest little mention of Tom Cruise and his wacky church? When technology and chemical imbalances meet, you get Scientologists doing news searches on Google and responding with threats.

And then my arch nemesis, PETA. One tiny little complaint about how they’re essentially domestic terrorists and all of the sudden I hate fluffy little animals and want them all skinned.

Gosh this column is self-serving (I’m starting to sound like Straight Up Sex). What I’m trying to say is that floating in the gossip stratosphere has afforded me all kinds of fun and relevant experiences as a writer. Haven’t we had some good times together, babies?

I got to be here for you when The Split Heard Round The World went down (Brad and Jennifer’s divorce, of course). And what about all the new life we’ve welcomed together? Apple and Moses Martin, Sean Preston Federline, Suri Cruise and Lord knows how many of Charlie Sheen’s babies.

I do hope, readers, you’ve enjoyed the Dirt over our brief but salacious and hysterical time together.

What’s next for me, you ask? Well I can’t say. If I had a publicist he/she would throw hot coffee at you and demand you mind your business until I make an official statement. But fret not, I’ll be riding out the rest of the semester with joy, partly because I won’t have this deadline anymore and that makes a boy smile just a tad.

I will miss you all. That’s for sure. I can’t comment on a replacement, but I can confirm The Temple News wants to keep gossip alive in the paper, which is total loveliness to my ears.

And what will become of you all? Branch out, I say. There’s a big world of gossip publications (both in print and online), go and find the ones that hold the most juice. Keep your loyalty to this paper though, bitches. Remember we all start somewhere.

So how could I possibly end this? How to put a cap on these three years? If I’ve learned anything I can share from reporting this kind of news I can safely give you this advice: never film or photograph yourself having sex, never talk about your religion or politics if you want to be an actor or musician, never physically attack the paparazzi, don’t hire a popular stylist because you’ll wind up looking his/her other clients and never say you’re overexposed because it will come true in that second.

And that’s just from the first half of the archives. And one last thing … what you came for! How could I say goodbye without (for the last time) giving you some Dirt.

Mariah Carey. As if the broad wasn’t rolling in dough and spray-abs. La Mariah has signed with Pepsi in a mucho lucrative deal that has the diva writing and producing original ringtones for the cola customers. Pepsi is so thrilled with their new spokesgal, they’re sponsoring her tour kick off and inviting her to do several TV spots.

Carey’s official paycheck hasn’t been disclosed and its killing me. I’m guessing $10 million to $20 million, including commercials.

Julia Roberts isn’t having such an easy go of it, however. When Dirt first reported her Broadway debut, I was sure she’d be radiant and well received. Umm …

“Ms. Roberts works her way around the stage with the self-consciousness of a homecoming queen being forced to stand up and play Blanche DuBois in English class,” said the New York Sun of Roberts’ performance in Three Days of Rain.

That can’t feel good. At the very least, Roberts has some superstar pals to cheer her up. Like George Clooney, who reportedly played a prank on Roberts shortly before opening night. E! Online is reporting that Clooney had a production assistant deliver a dozen pages of new lines “from the director.”

Roberts’ subsequent meltdown sent the staff scrambling, and Clooney eventually knocked on her dressing room door asking, “Learn your lines yet?” Keep your friends close and your A-List actors closer.

Speaking of, she might have friends but they’re no longer chocolate or deep fried. I’m talking about Janet Jackson of course, who has once again lost a dramatic amount of weight to generate buzz for a forthcoming album.

At the beginning of 2006 at the Las Vegas opening of nightclub Tao, Janet looked like a new ride at Disney world. Fast forward to today, she’s got me singing “If I was your girl …”

Bless her heart. She’s also got a big surprise coming for her fans. The artist’s official web page has a time set to expire in 6 days. No one knows what’s going to happen exactly. Neverland will go up for auction?

Janet’s losing, but guess who is gaining? Spies say Luke Wilson is getting mucho fatty (ala Toby Maguire?)

Oprah is wearing a ring on her left finger. Just thought I’d mention.

Shall we even broach Nick Lachey? His explosive interview with Rolling Stone has been circulating for weeks with details of his bizarre marriage and its heartbreaking conclusion. Poor bubby. I’m actually rooting for him, Dirtlings, he fell prey to Joe Simpson.

A homeless man in Washington, D.C. was photographed holding a sign that read: “Brad and Angelina are having a baby and I need money for a gift.”

God Bless this country.

Oh, Dirtlings, I sign off for the last time. I’ve so enjoyed this ride. Thank you for reading, it’s allowed me to write about the things I love for the past three years. Here’s hoping I can continue doing that and all of you can continue reading.

Peace, love (tear) and Dirt.

Matt Donnelly can be reached at DirtTheFragrance@yahoo.com.

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