Today the guy best known for shooting and killing an unarmed 17-year-old had his undeserved celebrity validated. George Zimmerman was challenged to a so-called Celebrity Boxing match by an actual celebrity, rapper DMX.
Now it’s true that the “celebrity” in Celebrity Boxing is singular, so we can pretend the designation only applies to DMX. A more accurate name for the match would be “Celebrity-and-Guy-Known-for-Killing-an-Unarmed-Teenager Boxing Match.”
Zimmerman is by no means the first guy with dubious celebrity credentials to get involved in these exhibitionist boxing fetes. Tonya Harding, for instance, founght in a similar match back in 2002. But Harding was known for something other than her involvement in the assault on Nancy Kerrigan in 1994: She started out as a world-renowned figure skater.
Before he killed Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was a neighborhood-watch coordinator. Now he’s selling his lackluster paintings, or, more likely, stenciled-over photos from Getty Images, for $100,000 on Ebay and he’s getting to perform in the same space as people like Dustin Neil Diamond, who played Screech in Saved by the Bell.
Of course there’s a long tradition of people using their infamy as a way to make money or converting that infamy into another moment in the limelight. Take Anthony Weiner’s 23-year-old sexting partner, Sydney Leathers, who capitalized on her notoriety by modeling for a leather apparel company and doing some filming for porn company Vivid.
But what Leathers did was at worst, distasteful. It’s certainly a far cry from killing a black kid in a hoodie and then going on to reap celebrity status for it. That has got to be a “celebrity culture” nadir of sorts.
Or maybe the nadir was that time O.J. Simpson tried to sell the knife he allegedly used to kill his wife for $5 million? At least he knew it was sick enough to keep it a secret.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."