The New York Post is tough on crime. Especially celebrity crime. They take gleeful pleasure (as we all do!) in cataloging the excesses and trashy doings of the drug-addicted and famous. Yesterday's breathless report on the arrest of poor former child star Tatum O'Neal went into embarrassing detail of her arrest for purchasing crack cocaine ("I'm researching a part," a "source" told the Post). But today's front page? And accompanying exclusive report from brittle columnist Andrea Peyser? A sympathetic tale of a troubled woman just doing her best to stay clean. The lead: "TATUM is saved!" Who the hell is O'Neal's publicist, Obi-Wan Kenobi? (Or, uh, Howard Rubenstein?) Drug-addicted celebrities! You may wonder how to garner such friendly treatment in the Post after your next drug deal gone bad! We have some suggestions:
1. Suck up to Peyser! Andrea Peyser is here to cast judgment on humanity. And generally, she does not like what she sees. As a hateful, finger-wagging moralist, her usual weapon is outraged hyperbole, especially against celebrities, and especially especially against lady celebrities. But, you know, if you give her an exclusive, and play desperately, shamefully apologetic, you might get a little sympathy! Especially if you compliment Peyser's columns viciously attacking a different terrible woman:
She called me to explain herself. Also, because she liked my columns slamming another discarded wife, Dina Matos McGreevey.
"If I were an acting coach, I'd tell her not to make faces!" she said of Dina. "Don't look mad or petulant. She looks like a 12-year-old."
2. Suck up to the NYPD! The cops? Heroes. Always. They do no wrong! Also, they are fantastic sources, if you're a tabloid. O'Neal is not only not mad at the cops for arresting her, she is grateful at the favor they did her!
"Just when I was about to change that and wreck my life, the cops came and saved me!" Tatum crowed.
"I was saved by the bell, by the guys in the Seventh Precinct."
3. Avoid the Sob Story Everyone's got one, and they rarely get you very far. So be careful when employing this one. Best to put on a cheerful, "there but for the grace of God" tone, say you're getting your life back on track, admit you've made mistakes, and leave it to Peyser to spin your tale of woe in her inimitable style. O'Neal focuses on the positive-her career is picking back up! Her boyfriend is a saint!-while Peyser reminds us of her lifetime of abuse and addiction. (Though O'Neal does point out that she lost her beloved dog, which is the sort of relatable sob story that does work. Poor puppy.)
(And if all else fails, hire Post flack Howard Rubenstein.)
Tatum to Cops: Thanks! [NYP]