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I'm Annoyed With Kelly Osbourne!
by Esther Hartstein
09 December 2002 

Why the teen queen is less "real" than Britney

Kelly Osbourne is going to be a major pop star.

The pampered, punky, London-bred daughter of shock-rock legend Ozzy Osbourne has evolved into a star of her own merit, a accomplished talent in and of herself. She is daddy's little girl no more.

The world's stage curtains have opened to present a new cultural icon. Her hair has been every color in the rainbow, hair that has worn every style known to the scissor. Her vocabulary consists of a small pool of four letter words and pre-school-level connectives. Her diverse wardrobe is a psychedelic headache of loud colors and outdated fashions, and her face wears a perpetual moody frown. She never completed eleventh grade.

This, now, is to be the grand icon of out times. A role model and sex symbol for our children, present and future. This woman is to be America's idol.

Sure, she is talented, and no doubt many teenage girls can relate to her. But while Kelly Osbourne, with her pink-streaked hair gets praised by Entertainment Weekly magazine and scores appearances on MTV, other women with pink-streaked hair are stuck flipping burgers. While Kelly Osbourne wins icon status for her crude, vulgarity laced way of talking, other people with far richer vocabularies are rejected from job after job because of their poor communication skills. When Kelly Osbourne curses, the global spotlight keeps on shining. When Joe Schmoe does it, he loses another chance at employment. But Kelly's audience does not know that.

When Kelly Osbourne, who has ADHD, leaves school for good at age 16, opportunities open up for her. Finally, she has the time to star in a big-bucks reality TV show and work on her singing career. For most Americans, though, dropping out of high school is like signing a poverty contract. Statistics show that there is a positive correlation between education level and income, and few employers will hire dropouts. Those of the latter who manage to find work are limited to demeaning work and sometimes even more demeaning social status. Hardly the red-carpet-and-limousine lifestyle that follows Kelly Osbourne.

It's just so unfortunate. The good parents of America try so hard to push their kids into college and teach them to succeed, and bad role models like Kelly Osbourne don't make the job much easier. I am writing to you from my heart, a heart that, according to the entertainment biz, does not exist. When was the last time a movie or music video featured a girl like me, a girl who studies hard, volunteers, attends religious services and wears modest clothing?

As far back as I can remember, the last time such a character was presented was in the 2002 flick, "A Walk To Remember". In it, Jaime, a minister's daughter played by Mandy Moore, presents a buttoned-up, sweetly disposed, vocally talented brainiac who dreams of becoming a doctor. Moore's brilliant role-playing blew me away. I saw myself in her every move and stirring experience. Finally, the big screen had recognized a girl like my self.

Sadly, though, many folks in entertainment hadn't. Mandy Moore's character was denounced as unrealistic, annoying, and a goody-two-shoes by film critics around the country. This is an entertainment media that sees no irony at all in a cursing simpleton like Kelly Osbourne being elevated to the status of a linguistic icon. When President Bush dares to miss a grammatical not, he is derided as a "moron". When Kelly Osbourne storms onto the scene with the eloquence of a pre-schooler, she is celebrity material.

I can only shake my head.

The big honchos behind the punky, pink-haired pudge ball's debut probably had a PR strategy in mind: Enough with Britney Spears. Let's give America a "real" woman. One with "real" style (I'm blind. This is a pink-haired country!) "real" content ("shut the f-k up!") , you know, someone who can represent "real" teens (who apparently drop out of school at 16 and have their rich daddies buy them record deals) . Excuse me, but when I look out the window, I see more Britney Spears look-alikes than Kelly clones. Despite all we hear about Britney being unrealistic (by the same people who accuse her of being a generic clone) my vision does not fool me. Britney Spears is not only more representative of the average woman than is Kelly Osbourne, but is also a far more realistic model of what a successful person is. It is a shame that honchos in the entertainment biz, with their constant promotion of thug rappers and freak shows, are doing their darndest to show or children otherwise. According to hard numbers, 70% of millionaires are self-made. They did not have Daddy's megabucks behind them as did Kelly. They probably did not drop out of school at 16.

Then again, reality is all relative, isn't it?


Email Esther Hartstein

A multi-award winning poet, Esther has written a book, "Eros Wins The Battle", about a U.S. immigrant fighting for regime change in her native country. The book, filled with Greek myths and poetry, is available at BN.com (Barnes and Nobel) and Amazon.com.