Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Well at least Andre didn’t sleep with his mother

Mackenzie Phillips has probably forever raised the bar on celebrity-penned autobiographies with her disclosure of a ten-year long sexual affair with her father. Any celebrity hoping to get a book published is going to have to go one further. Except that the bar is now just too high. What possible other means of self-abasement can any celebrity ever come up with as a means of earning money?

I wasn’t surprised that Serena Williams tried her hand at a memoir. If a Williams sister was going to go there, it was going to be Serena. After all, she has already posed nude on more than one occasion. And she has been fighting down the Hollywood scene ever since her first Slam victory.

Can you remember the horrific Williams Sisters “For Real” reality show? Will anyone ever get over the bizarre scene in which Serena seemed to have broken up with Brett Ratner in the season finale? Did you too get the sense that he seemed to just be playing along, in the manner of a man who has already moved on but who is willing to give a persistent famewhore her dramatic moment in front of the cameras? Ouch.

I have not read Serena’s memoir. I would be willing to review it in exchange for a free copy, but I am decidedly uninterested in buying it. My reason? The Williams sisters have never been big on self-disclosure. Of the two, Serena has always been the more forthcoming. But what on earth could she have been up to that we don’t already know? Once you take your clothes off and put on a reality show, unless you’re going to admit something utterly far-fetched and unexpected -- like that you seduced Venus’ boyfriend and bore his secret lovechild who now lives in Germany -- well, the rest is just tame stuff.

Because this is how it works in the world of the celebrity memoir. You have to be willing to go there. You have to expose yourself naked and then some. Oprah’s disclosures of a teenage pregnancy went a long way towards making her a household name. Her admission of cocaine use pushed her over the edge into ultimate celebrity-hood.

I don’t care how many times Serena takes her clothes off, one gets the sense that the fundamental Williams reticence will always prevail. Of course I may be wrong and she may leave us jaw-dropped with some revelation in her follow up part deux. She can feel free to use my idea above, no charge.

Now comes word that Andre Agassi is about to share his deepest darkest with us all. In keeping with the way celebrity memoirs are peddled, Andre has admitted to using crystal meth during the period in 1997 when his career sank in the toilet.

Note to Serena: This is how you sell a memoir, Hollywood style. Andre clearly did not spend years promoting the notion that appearance is everything, for nothing.

Andre’s memoir is titled “Open”, a brilliant play-on-words, at once capturing his tennis past as well as a decision to share his secrets. And as an aperitif intended to leave us salivating for more, he has revealed that he used crystal meth during the period he was married to Brooke Shields.

Well it could be worse. At least he did not claim to have had sex with his mother.

When asked if he was concerned about how his fans would feel about him being a meth-head at one point in the 90s, Andre responded, “I was worried for a moment, but not for long...I wore my heart on my sleeve and my emotions were always written on my face. I was actually excited about telling the world the whole story.” 

Given their prolonged rivalry, I wonder what Pete Sampras will come up with to top Andre? I actually have a few ideas, all involving Pete Fischer. Remember him?


happygeek said...

Your review only convinces me further to stick with Grisham for content. As for Agassi's "Open"'s front cover artwork: they could've definitely done better.

tennischick said...

i kinda like it. it makes him look "open" and unretouched. not attractive but thqt is not what was needed to sell the premise of the book.

Greg Delaney said...

it's too bad about Agassi, here I thought Tennis was one of the cleaner pro sports out there... looks like horseshoes is the only one left

tennischick said...

i used to have long arguments with a former coach over whether or not tennis was dirty. now i feel so vindicated.

now Agassi has disclosed that his Dad was feeding him what sounds like speed since he was in the Juniors!