According to the founder of the Boring Institute and creator of the 19th annual list of "The Most Boring Celebrities of the Year," the celebrities themselves are not boring, but their media overexposure is.
"The most boring celebrities are people we could not escape, they're everywhere, we love celebrities, we lift them up, they have great wealth, an interesting lifestyle, and when they get in trouble -- usually self-inflicted -- we love that too," Alan Caruba, a public relations consultant who founded the Boring Institute, told United Press International. "And then we love welcoming them back -- Americans live through celebrities."
Caruba began the Most Boring Celebrities list in 1984 -- Michael Jackson headed the list that year -- as a spoof of famous end-of-the-year lists such as "the worst dressed" by Mr. Blackwell.
"The bottom line is that the media does not know when to stop; they write about a celebrity long after the story has lost its value," Caruba said. "The list is based on 'massive media overexposure;' it has been intended to call attention to the way the media identify a handful of celebrities in any given year generally based on their egotism, stupid, criminal or self-destructive behavior."
If the celebrities on the list are already overexposed in the media, why give them another shot of publicity via the annual list?
"I find once the list goes out, a lot of journalists make a mental note that we've had enough of those on the list and they decide not to chase them anymore," Caruba explained.
Caruba said his list for 2002 proved to be the most challenging but that the Ozzy Osbourne was the easy winner.
Caruba's list for 2002 and his comments were:
1. Ozzy Osbourne. "Proof that, by comparison, your family is fabulous!"
2. Anna Nicole Smith. "Proof that reality TV is not all it's cracked up to be."
3. Martha Stewart. "Her net worth and reputation are in big trouble."
4. Winona Ryder. "Shoplifting verdict makes everyone ask 'Why?'"
5. Barbra Streisand. "Singer turned political wizard advised Democrats."
6. Jennifer Lopez. "Let's hope husband No. 3 is the charm."
7. Ted Williams. "Talk about frozen assets!"
8. Robert Torricelli. "New Jersey Senator had no one left to lie to."
9. James Traficant. "Jailed for the worst toupee in Congress and other crimes."
10. Osama bin Laden. "Scarier than the bogeyman."
"I don't do this as a great social commentary, but to poke fun at all the end-of-the-year lists of 'What's Hot, What's Not' and 'Who's In, Who's Out,'" Caruba asked. "Who cares?"
According to Caruba, Americans are bombarded with messages from entertainment, the media and the news that they are not beautiful enough, don't have enough possessions and that others are living better lives. It makes people feel inadequate and dissatisfied.
"Celebrities are showbiz and it's not real and that's why it gets boring," Caruba said. "Your life is the most real thing going on in your life."
Although founded as a media spoof, The Boring Institute has evolved into a clearinghouse of information about boredom's impact on individuals and society.
"While everyone gets bored, when people say they are bored all the time it should be taken as a warning sign of an early stage of depression or anti-social behavior," Caruba said. "Boredom means the brain isn't being stimulated and being bored is the brain's way of telling you that it's not being used effectively and soon the brain will suggest something like 'let's get drunk,' or 'let's go steal a car.'"
The institute sells a booklet on "Beating Boredom," via its Web site boringinstitute.com, however, Caruba said there were three basic ways to avoid boredom:
--Always read, always have something ready to read, because reading stimulates the brain.
--Have a hobby, or several hobbies because that's where passion comes from and that leads to happiness.
--Be a joiner, get out and get involved with people in your community.
People who love to read, have active minds, are involved with their community, their family, their children, their friends, their hobbies are happy people who have found the essence of life and do not need to live their life through celebrities, according to Caruba.