Some items while waiting for my “Finkbeiner for Governor” button:
CALCULATED RISK: First, Britney Spears shattered her sweet-and-innocent image by “stripping” on a music awards show. Now, Toledo's Katie Holmes - whose popularity is probably directly proportional to her perceived level of sweetness and innocence - bares her breasts in The Gift, a movie that opened nationally last Friday.
Say it ain't so, Katie.
After watching The Gift, my wife and I agreed: Katie's topless scene was gratuitous. It added nothing to the movie.
For her sake, I hope it added to her checking account, above and beyond what she would have received for appearing fully clothed throughout. I also hope her contract stipulated that she will receive a percentage of DVD rentals and sales. As one Internet writer on roughcut.com put it: Katie's topless scene assures that “The Gift will be the DVD most rented by teenage (and not teenage) boys in the history of freeze frame.”
Apparently, the Notre Dame Academy graduate wanted to shed her “girl next door” image, one that she attained largely through her role of Joey Potter on TV's Dawson's Creek.
Boy, did she. In The Gift, the 22-year-old plays Jessica King. Critics described her character anywhere from “a promiscuous young woman” (New York Times) to “the town strumpet” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Dawson's Creek is popular among the junior high crowd. Parents would surely give Katie/Joey the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Those parents will do a double-take if they see Katie/Jess-ica in The Gift.
“Hopefully, mothers across America won't hate me,” she told the New York Daily News.
We'll see. On a Web site created by one of her fans, this question was posed: Do you think appearing nude in The Gift will affect Katie's popularity? Of the 4,019 votes cast, the most popular answer - 37 percent - was, “Yes, I think so!”
That's not a good sign.
It seems to me that the four years that she spent cultivating a wholesome image vanished in just a few seconds - in a potential box-office bomb, no less.
Here's hoping she doesn't suffer long-term ramifications for an arguably short-sighted decision.
PASSING THE BUCK(S): It's no wonder why more and more people are doing their shopping online. My wife was at a large department store recently, contemplating the purchase of a camera. She asked the person behind the counter what the difference was between a camera he had just handed her (which was more expensive) and another (which looked the same but was cheaper).
His response? "Honey, they just hire us to work here. I don't know anything about that."
Let the buyer beware, indeed.
SCHOOL DAZE: The two levies approved by voters in 2000 for Toledo Public Schools were reflected in the city's property-tax bills that were sent out recently. The levy-related taxes and the even steeper taxes from the county's property reevaluations made for a rather dramatic property-tax increase. Perhaps now is the time for Terry Glazer - an outcast on the Toledo school board - to demand greater accountability for this money, just like he did before the election. Maybe this time he won't be ostracized for wanting to be financially prudent.
Russ Lemmon's column appears Wednesdays. Readers may contact him at 1-419-724-6122, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.