Brent Bozell

 It's a rock-solid fact of life that fame and fortune can do strange things to people -- primarily because the first perk that surfaces is the freedom to make heinous personal choices. The worst thing about this phenomenon is that these famous jerks are the role models that young people admire and seek to emulate.
Last week, the Los Angeles Lakers re-signed their star guard Kobe Bryant to a seven-year, $136 million contract, the maximum allowed by the NBA. Bryant is going on trial soon for rape, but that doesn't stop the Lakers from rewarding him with a massive new contract. Didn't they wonder if they might be paying millions to a convict? Is there a clause voiding the contract if he's sent to the slammer? Doesn't anyone find this a bit ? odd? His Lakers jersey is still one of the hottest merchandise items in the NBA -- evidence, I guess, that people aren't bothered after all.

 At least that news has some novelty in it. Now comes pop tart Britney Spears, who is at it again, embarrassing the institution of marriage for the second time this year. First, she tried the two-day Las Vegas wedding publicity stunt, which ingloriously backfired on her. Now she's on the cover of People magazine nuzzling with Kevin Federline, a dancer. She's declared she's now really, really ready for marriage, and eventually a brood of four or five kids.

 That might sound nice. But now look deeper, which requires reading beyond the silly celebrity glossies that are already skipping right past the children who are going to suffer because of them. Federline already has a 2-year-old daughter with "Moesha" actress Shar Jackson -- and their second child was born just as Federline announced he was leaving. Federline does not exactly look the rock of future marital stability as he walks out the door.

 Jackson said of Britney: "She can't wreck a home by herself, but if you're a real woman and you find out someone you're seeing has extra baggage, you say, 'Go home and take care of your business.'" Jackson insists she's personally fine with her breakup with Federline, but can't explain it well to their daughter. "Hearing her ask for Daddy and he's not there ... That's the only part that hurts. That's it." Eventually, she'll have to explain that Daddy took off with the lady who sells sex on MTV.

 For his part, Federline is telling People magazine that he loves his children "more than life itself." For her part, Britney insists she'd love to meet his abandoned daughter: "I love little ones. I think the situation is good.?

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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