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Pique n' your interest

Cause célèbre

So guess who was in town a little while ago. None other than the hottest Hollywood twosome to grace the pages of People, actress Cameron Diaz and her pop-tart boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

I never caught a glimpse of them myself, but sightings were reported at The Circle snowboard shop, where supposedly the two cleaned out the joint in true multi-millionaire style. Someone’s friend also saw them shopping at Nesters and someone else’s friend, or friend of a friend, gave JT some skiing lessons, and so on.

Of course this info came to me courtesy of my co-workers AFTER I hung up the phone with a woman named Carol from California.

Carol was calling me from the offices of The Star.

For those of you who don’t know, The Star is a supermarket rag dedicated to informing the celeb-crazy about which toothpaste Britney uses. They regularly feature two-page centre spreads of first-hand accounts by ex-call girls who slept with actors.

To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a guilty pleasure to read. My 88-year-old grandma in Edmonton, God bless her crabby old lady heart, picks up a copy of both The Star and its twin publication, the National Enquirer on her weekly trip to the IGA in Capilano Mall. Back when I used to live closer, I’m not ashamed to say I’d check it out during visits. The "what are they wearing" sections where they praise evening gowns and tear apart the fashion choices of the more eclectic celebrities are good eye-candy. And I was particularly intrigued by a damning but nevertheless amusing feature about Mike Tyson that was accompanied by a hilarious, half-blurred picture of him smoking pot in his underwear.

But more important to The Star than deteriorating pugilists and snarky fashion captions are celebrity "it" couples. They love "Brad and Jen," they love "Catherine and Michael," they love "Bennifer," and right now they especially love "Cameron and JT." The minute details of their day to day life and relationship are front page "news."

It was Carol’s reasoning that as an entertainment reporter in this town I party down with visiting celebrities and am privy to all sorts of juicy tidbits. For those that don’t know me, let me say the most famous person I’ve ever partied with is probably our movie columnist Feet Banks, who aside from offering brilliant film analysis and making independent horror movies was recently voted Whistler’s Best Waiter. Sorry to burst your bubble, Carol.

Even though I had absolutely nothing to offer her, Carol and I had a nice chat. She didn’t know anything about Canada, so I related the area to some American places so she could understand. She left me her number and told me to let her know if I heard anything. "It’ll be good for Whistler," she added, by way of encouragement.

I never called Carol back that day, even with the new information from the office water cooler that directly followed. Really, what was I going to say? "A girl in our ad sales department says she knows a guy that knows a guy that rented JT some ski-boots. His feet are size 9 and he has a blister, a bunion and his second toe is way bigger than all the others." Not worth my time, even though it was probably worth hers.

But as I hit the road on my daily contemplative commute from Function to Emerald, I remembered what she said about coverage of visiting A-List celebs in The Star being "good for Whistler."

Really, in what way would this be good for Whistler? Do we really want the type of people that plan their lives around celebrity sightings populating this town? Justin’s fan base has a disproportionately high number of screaming ’tween girls that don’t understand that you need more than baby fat to fill out a tube top. And I’m sure the unearthly gorgeous Ms. Diaz has a dedicated group of stalkers that would be happy to set up Camp Creep-a-Zoid around these parts if they were tipped off that she was a regular visitor.

Sure there are the mega-rich that might start looking to Whistler if the ultra-hip are said to be staying here, cementing the resort’s status as Aspen North, but one thing’s more for certain. If Diaz and JT can make it through a stay without their whereabouts being plastered all over celebrity media, Whistler will become a whole lot more esteemed among A-Listers.

There’s one more thing the Carols out there should also realize. As a resident of Whistler, I’m not alone in my celebrity ignorance. If you’re looking for the celeb-obsessed of The Star’s kind, this is not the best place to start. I’m not sure I’ve even seen The Star for sale here. If it is, it must be tucked behind TransWorld Snowboarding and Powder. The celebrities in Whistler are not ex-boy band members who rough up their image by wearing trucker hats, but the busboys by night that launch 50-foot table top jumps by day. It’s my reasonable estimation that there are more exceptional people per capita in this area than anywhere else, making the kind of celebrity Carol’s publication endorses less impressive. When the dirtbag next door drops cliffs on his snowmobile, it takes a lot more to turn your head than the knowledge that Cameron Diaz prefers apple juice to orange. If JT is spotted throwing stylish methods 15-feet out of the super-pipe, then we’ve got a story!

So Cameron, JT, if I may refer to you both as such, if my second and third hand sources were indeed true and you really did choose Whistler for your Christmas vacation, I hope you had an amazing time. I hope you come back and spend more money at The Circle, ski more nipple-deep powder, and buy more caviar or whatever it is you eat at Nesters. And, most importantly, I hope you appreciate the fact that there are some of us here that feel your vacation includes some time away from the pages of The Star.

It’s good for you, and it’s good for Whistler.