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1 TV cameras were banned from the courtroom in the recently concluded OJ civil trial, but nightly "re-creations" were made available to the American public, thanks to the country's bottomless reservoir of shameless and unemployed actors, and the resourcefulness of the cable network E! (which stands for Entertainment, although you'd never know it). The Simpson trial may be over, but the media obsession threatens to go on forever. Murder victim Ron Goldman's family are currently on a nationwide publicity tour for their book, His Name is Ron: Our Search for Justice. My local bookstore, somewhat disconcertingly, files it under "Entertainment Biography".

1 The Spice Girls are No 1 in the US singles charts with "Wannabe", and inspiring numerous straight-faced evaluations of the Spice phenomenon: "A post-feminist palette of archetypes ranging from madonna to whore, with a few stops in between" (Entertainment Weekly); "Spice Girls are to boy bands what Alanis Morissette is to alternative rock: a melodic, instantly accessible summation of what went before, with a personal twist that provides the greatest commercial hook of all" (Village Voice). To millions of cable subscribers in this country, however, the "Spice Girls" have always been the voluptuous women on the adult channel called Spice. Recent reports say that, barring copyright problems, Spice will launch a promotional campaign featuring their starlets lip-synching to "Wannabe"; all, of course, in the best possible taste.

1 Now that everyone is past caring, Ellen DeGeneres will have her TV character come out as a lesbian after all. The series has been teasing viewers and dropping hints all season, but according to TV Guide, the critical, confessional episode of Ellen will be aired in May. Possibly joining the cast are Laura Dern as Ellen's girlfriend, and Oprah Winfrey as the therapist to whom she comes out. Expect Disney, the parent company of the ABC network, to take a lot of flak. When the rumour first surfaced that US prime-time television would have its first gay lead character, conservatives flipped. The Christian Coalition's Pat Robertson, for one, expressed genuine incredulity at the idea of a gay Ellen. "I find it hard to believe," he said, "because she's such an attractive actress."

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