The Death of the Dumb Blond

Why peroxide rot is, like, officially over

But this cycle has to end before the blond hair falls out and reveals pinheads. In fact, it's definitely all-aboard time for the blond reality-show survivors, who should start busing it to one of those New Jersey autograph conventions, along with the fake blind man from the diabetes commercial and the guy who played Chewbacca.

Clawing her way out of the wreckage, Britney Spears was brave enough to let her trailery antics subvert her singing career (says Liz, "Britney can stage a comeback—if she is not required to speak"), while fellow pop princess Jessica Simpson, says Richard Johnson, "is starting to tick people off because she's a liar, pretending to be happily married to Nick, and getting paid by OK! as some kind of career move." Telling too much has steeped the blonds in irreversible shit and so has blatant BS'ing, and as a result, the only sensible blond way to go—I repeat—is racing toward the Garden State with stripped-down boobs and a clenched mouth.

Of course the high-water mark in low living was set by Brit's and Jess's predecess-pool Anna Nicole Smith, who staged a comeback by giddily falling apart in public while gamely eyeing the gold. (Quips Liz, "Anna Nicole is a simple girl who accepts the old anatomy-is-destiny proverb. As long as about $500 million is attached to it.") She's dumb as a fox—a nouveau Marilyn Monroe, but more death-resistant —and tons of fun, though she's in for an awakening if she thinks mattress humping and corpse shtupping are soul-fulfilling talents with a future. (Wacky sidebar: I once asked Anna Nicole for her views on feminism and she widened her eyes and replied, "What is that? I never knew what that was.")

illustration: Leslie Van Stelten

Whether these gals are really dumb or just faking it like their last orgasm, they've managed to rise to the top while finding an angel standing there with a giant baseball bat, ready to slam them over their rinsed heads. Even a smart blonde like Martha Stewart slipped off the brain wagon when she felt she was above the law and—even worse—when she started overexposing herself with dueling TV shows. (No, I won't leave out all the other smart blondes just to prove my thesis. There's Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, and also . . . um, er, um . . . never mind.)

Bombs make for bombshells

Movie blonds are especially popular during wartime, balmy bombshells inevitably lifting spirits and raising flags. The more the casualties escalate, the better the career chances are for golden-tressed sirens with parted hair and lips. Back in the '40s, Veronica Lake was a sultry icon with sophisticated bangs and a tart mouth; Lana Turner was so shrewd she survived her boyfriend's death by her own, I mean her daughter's, hand; and Marlene Dietrich was a smart woman and a brilliant man.

But so many of today's blond dummies are only that—windup wildcats with no there there. They've given us relief from the Iraq situation, but only in the way a malapropian clown takes you away from the meat of a Shakespeare play. (Dumb-blond response: What's a Shakespeare play? I never knew what that was.) For example, Cameron Diaz is a winning actor, but In Her Shoes was a box office momentum killer, and offscreen she spends too much time fighting the press about her past or her blond boyfriend Justin Timberlake's present. Once, I asked her if she'd wear cum in her hair to a certain awards ceremony (admittedly a dumb question). "We'll see," she replied, even more weirdly.

Hollywood's pampered princesses rarely fail to annoy, but even the squeaky-cute kids end up jumping into the fame vortex, checking their minds at the gift bag counter, and falling apart while saying "Cheese!". The blood-red carpet is littered with the memories of Lindsay Lohan's wicked ways, the Olsen twins' bony, homeless chic, and all the other flaws that plague the prematurely processed and eagerly overexposed. And let's not forget Tara "I'm an Actress" Reid, who fought the press about her party image, then signed on to host an international party and travelogue show. "People are fed up with Tara," concedes Richard Johnson, "but that's probably only because she put on weight, became a lush, and lost her hotness." It's a tough world that allows you to be a skinny drunk, but not a puffy wannabe recoverer. No wonder the blonds are self-destructing for our nightly delectation.

At least some guys are keeping the gals company at the (un-)happy hour, particularly Brad Pitt, who humiliated his main course by moving in with an overbaked tomato, and Harlow-haired Eminem, whose cheesy family battles and bitter fights with both Moby and a hand puppet proved him to be the kind of wimp-ass extraordinaire he would normally beat up.

But the backlash culminated when Camilla Parker Bowles (the "other woman" in frump's clothing) dove onto America last week to curry favor with winged hair, and one realized that ill-advised blondness knows no nationality or social rank. Camilla's acceptance-craving visit provoked a multitude of yawns, cementing the fact that blond is officially as over as a Times Square hooker heading to an outlaw party.

The next step? A rising up of the cultured blonds (Patricia Clarkson) and an embracing of the sane ones (Nicolette Sheridan, Jenna Jameson), but mostly, an appreciation for people who aren't afraid to lay off the bottle.

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