Mike Tyson’s arrest in Scottsdale on drug and DUI charges a week ago is still making national news, not only because he was once the world’s heavyweight boxing champion but because he faces returning to prison — at least if the county attorney has his way.
It’s local news, too, although celebrities in Scottsdale certainly aren’t new. And they aren’t always here in very glamorous circumstances.
Actor Vince Vaughn was pulled over in a traffic stop here in 2005. Despite testing under the legal blood alcohol limit, Vaughn voluntarily — and politely, police told the Tribune — surrendered the keys to his car, in which his love interest at the time, actress Jennifer Aniston, was a passenger.
In 2003, country singing legend Glen Campbell, who at the time lived in east Phoenix, was involved in a crash. The Tribune reported that he was charged with driving under the influence and that he admitted to mixing a prescription drug with alcohol that day.
Celebrities are like any group of human beings. Some are angels. Some are, well, difficult people. Most are somewhere in the middle. You could say the same about auto mechanics or anesthesiologists.
We in the media sometimes harrumph at the public’s large appetite for celebrity news.
The Internet search engine Yahoo!’s list of the top 10 overall searches on its site in 2006 had Britney Spears as No. 1, WWE wrestling as No. 2, followed by singer Shakira, actress Jessica Simpson, socialite Paris Hilton, Fox’s “American Idol,” singers Beyonce Knowles and Chris Brown and actresses Pamela Anderson and Lindsay Lohan.
But Yahoo!’s top 10 news story searches gave some hope that we’re a society that likes substance along with our thrills.
Seven of those top 10 news searches were what can be generally accepted as serious stories: Iraq, the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, U.S. elections, Fidel Castro’s stroke, North Korea’s nuclear threats, the trial of Saddam Hussein and the uproar over Danish newspaper cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Mohammed.
The No. 1 news search, however, was the tragic death of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, who was a bona fide celebrity whose death wouldn’t have been widely reported had he not been one. No. 2 was the death of the son of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith.
Even those who wouldn’t dream of scanning the racks near their grocer’s cash registers for the latest celebrity magazines still will at least chuckle when Bill Murray clowns for the gallery at the FBR Open at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale. Or shake their heads a bit at the attention paid to a Britney Spears’ sighting at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Or at least pay a few moments’ attention to who shows up at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Auto Auction.
The well-known are part of Scottsdale’s fabric, which includes many other threads as well. We don’t need frills, but we like them anyway.