Wednesday, February 1, 2012

$5,300 For A Snotty Tissue?

For sale: A 2005 Chrysler 300C, only about 19,000 miles on the odometer. Kelley Blue Book says it's worth about $14,300. Asking price $1 million.

Barack Obama once owned the car. So the "Obamacar" can sell for a ridiculous amount, says its current owner Tim O'Boyle.
Is this car worth $1 million to you?

So far, no takers, and some experts say the Chrysler will "only" fetch maybe $100,000.

This got me thinking about the sky high prices people will pay for weird things that had the honor of being touched by celebrities. I guess that makes them magical.

Some examples:
In 2008, Jay Leno got Scarlett Johansson to blow her nose into a piece of tissue. The snotty tissue later sold for $5,300. I hope the person who bought it got a nasty cold.

A piece of gum that Britney Spears once gnawed on fetched $4,000.  Some French toast that Justin Timberlake couldn't finish eating was purchased for $3,154. I wonder if the French toast was worth more once it really started to rot.

Justin Bieber once sold a piece of his hair for $40,668, but at least the proceeds went to a good cause: Rehabilitating animals.

Old-timey celebrity detritus also sells for big money. A battered hat once worn by John Wayne sold for $119,500. A chest X-ray performed on Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s costs its buyer $45,000.

I can't find a clear explanation for this insanity. I'm sure some people see this stuff as an investment. Buy something weird for a ridiculous price, then try to sell it to some other sucker, I mean buyer, for a higher price. Some researchers refer to the phenomenon as "contagion," with the notion that the stuff some celebrity touched has some sort of essense that can be transferred. Or something.

Geez, there's all kinds of contagion you could get from this stuff. Britney's gum? What else was she chewing the night she had that gum?  And how long was Justin Timberlake's French toast left out on the table. How many flies landed on it?

An article from June at speculated that people just want to fantasize about being the celebrity who owned it. The article quoted psychotherapist Joan Ingber, who said, "Maybe it's a way for someone to slip into the celebrity's skin and the trappings of their lives."

But why spend tens of thousands of dollars on memorabilia to vicariously live the life of a celebrity, when you can go to, watch Entertainment Tonight, or buy a supermarket tabloid to get the dirt on what your favorite celebrity is doing? Then you can just pretend you're in the middle of the scandal du jour of the week if that's how you get your kicks.

Yes, you, too can get in and out of a car wearing a teeny tiny miniskirt with no underwear so you can flash your, well, never mind. Or you can recite Charlie Sheen "winning" screeds out on the street if you prefer that.

Or maybe you can do the hard work of becoming an actual celebrity. Just sign up for as many reality TV shows as you can, try your damndest to make an utter, complete loutish fool out of yourself so that you can watch the fame wash over you.

See? No need to spend that kind of money. You can thank me now for saving you all that cold, hard cash.

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