Maybe I’m just nearing my snug harbor and rationalizing a lifetime of obscurity. But despite being inclined to view fame favorably, to wistfully suspect that a little larger portion of attention would have been nice, when I see what kind of jerk those served a few portions of smoking hot success tend to become, I realize that I’m better off having nursed my little cup of tepid local awareness and been fairly satisfied.
I’ve known men — no names, please! — who no sooner got that Pulitzer Prize, or National Magazine Award, or whatever, than they became world-class assholes, unfit to be around. Not that they have much interest in hanging with a nobody like myself, not after the spotlight touches them. And the ironic thing is, while notoriety hurries off, the prickishness it brings seems to stick around.
I was reminded of this watching James Corden, comic actor and TV host, bathed in public purgatory last week over his don’t-you-know-who-I-am? arrogance at Balthazar, a French bistro in New York City.
The public relations fiasco proceeded in orderly stages. Last Monday, restaurateur Keith McNally went on Instagram to dub Corden “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago.” He cited two incidents where Corden berated staff over supposed lapses. McNally banned “this tiny Cretin of a man” from his restaurant.
Next, the star “apologized profusely” and was duly forgiven. Then over the weekend, the third act: Corden, in a tone-deaf interview with The New York Times, firmly reestablished that he is, was, and no doubt always will be, an entitled bully, so insulated by fame and wealth that he just doesn’t realize he’s running the risk of being forever known as That Brit Who’s Mean to Waiters.
“I haven’t done anything wrong on any level,” Corden whined, clawing back his apology, before lecturing to the Times about what is and isn’t worthy of its attention. “It’s beneath you,” he said of what has been dubbed “the messiest feud of the year” by BuzzFeed. “It’s certainly beneath your publication.”
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