Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Magazines and a Pack of Batteries

The big news this week is that actress Bai Ling was arrested for shoplifting two celebrity tabloid magazines and a pack of AAA batteries from a store inside Los Angeles International Airport. The products stolen had an approximate retail value of $16.

In case you aren't sure who Bai Ling is, maybe you know her by her actual name, which is Ling Bai. But if that name doesn't ring a bell either, don't worry. She's famous, but she isn't that famous. She isn't as famous, for example, as that other celebrity actress shoplifter, Winona Rider.

I knew I'd seen Bai Ling in a movie or two, but I wasn't exactly sure which ones, so I looked her up on IMDb and discovered that I'd seen her in The Crow, Nixon, Red Corner, Anna and the King, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Lords of Dogtown, and Edmond. To be honest, All I really remember seeing her in is Red Corner and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, so I was surprised to find out that I'd seen her in so many movies. But what I've seen her in turns out to be only a small fraction of her total oeuvre. And if you add up everything she's been in, you'll find that she's actually been in more movies than Winona Rider.

When Winona Rider was caught shoplifting, the police found about half a dozen prescription pain killers and anti-depressant drugs in her purse, so maybe her mind was pretty messed up at the time and that may have contributed to her ill-considered decision to walk out of a store carrying thousands of dollars of stolen clothing with her. When Ling Bai was caught shoplifting, they didn't find any drugs on her, but she was apparently distraught over a recent break-up, and as we all know, that can sometimes mess your mind up as well.

That doesn't excuse what she did, of course, but I'm not here to sit in judgment of her. However, I can't help making an observation or two.

First of all, on the day that Ling Bai was arrested, how many other people in the United States were arrested for shoplifting? I bet it numbered in the thousands, but most of those people didn't make the national press, probably because they weren't famous. And I bet that a lot of them stole more than $16 worth of merchandise. This makes me glad I'm not famous. Not that I'm a shoplifter or anything, but everybody makes mistakes from time to time, and I don't want all my mistakes to be open to public scrutiny.

Secondly, why was she arrested in the first place? What I read was that the owner of the store caught her and made a citizen's arrest and then called the police. My question is, when he caught her, why didn't he just ask for the $16? I'm sure she had that much money in her purse. And if she didn't, I'm sure she had a credit card. Did she offer him money and did he refuse to accept it? We may never know, because that's not the kind of in-depth detailed information our national media are accustomed to reporting.

In all the articles I read about this, it was mentioned that although she had been blogging at LAX while waiting for a delayed flight, there was no mention of her arrest in any of her recent blog entries. One article published a link to her blog, so I followed the link to see what she had written about.

I'm sorry to say that none of it was very interesting, and there were so many spelling errors that I couldn't get through a single blog entry. I'm not being critical, by the way -- I realize that English is not her first language, and she also blogs via a BlackBerry, which means she has to use a tiny little keyboard. I don't care who you are -- you could be very articulate and literate (like me, for example), but if you have to type something on a BlackBerry or similar product, you're going to make spelling mistakes.

However, one thing I couldn't help noticing is that no matter what she wrote about, she invariably got a lot of comments. Since I hardly ever get any comments on my blog, I couldn't help being a little jealous of that. So I read the comments to one of her posts and, not surprisingly, they were mostly from guys. Also interesting to note is that they weren't really commenting on what she'd written -- a lot of them were just letting her know how hot she is and how much they want to have sex with her. I checked back today and it looks like she's removed all those comments, but the point still remains that people who read her blog leave comments and people who read mine do not.

Of course, one of the reasons for this is that she's famous, so it stands to reason that her blog would be more famous as well. What I'm saying is, a lot more people read her blog than mine, so a lot more people are likely to leave comments on her blog than mine. I never knew she even had a blog, of course, and I'm sure a lot of other people didn't either, but then she got arrested and her blog address was published in one of the articles about her arrest, leading thousands of people to click on her link and discover her blog, just like I did. I probably won't read her blog again, but I may be in the minority. Maybe the simple act of getting arrested doubled or tripled her blog readership. Still, getting arrested -- even if only for misdemeanor shoplifting -- seems like a high price to pay, so I'm going to continue obeying the law a while longer.

The other reason for her blog's popularity, of course, is the fact that she's a hot Asian babe. Maybe being Asian isn't all that important, but being a hot babe definitely is. If she were an average-looking non-babe, she probably wouldn't have gotten so many "I want to have sex with you" comments on her blog. And she'd wouldn't have one tenth the number of readers she currently has. And if she were a handsome middle-aged man like me, she'd have even fewer readers. This is a simple, inescapable fact. But in case I sound bitter, be assured that I'm not. I hold no grudge against Ling Bai. She happens to have been born a hot Asian babe, and I happen to have been born a handsome middle-aged man. There's not much we can do about that -- we just have to do the best we can with what we've been given.