Those subjected to the morass of our pop culture in recent months must be feeling like they're about to implode. Things have gone frighteningly awry, to which anyone who survived accused murderer Robert Blake singing "Daddy's Little Girl" into the camera on 20/20 can surely attest. (Remember when Dynasty was the lowest you thought television could sink?) What used to be gleefully addictive trash is now dangerously addictive garbage, and there's more and more of it. Someone has to restore some semblance of order to our beloved detritus when In Touch celebrity rag debuts and USA Today, with no detectable irony, quickly publicizes it as a smart alternative to Us and People. Waste, like a fine mousse, must be kept from excess lest it lose all flavor. The following is a list of 10 rules that, if followed, should return us to a relatively balanced sense of inanity:
1. Has-beens and/or mentally ill personalities who have recovered from drugs, recorded a new album, dangled a baby from a hotel balcony, and/or allegedly killed their wives are no longer allowed around Barbara Walters.
2. No one involved in hosting ABC's The Viewincluding Barbara Waltersis ever allowed to be on the cover of a national news magazine as a representation of anything right and good (e.g. Starr Jones' recent Newsweek appearance in which she's used as an example of the crucial ascendance of black women in U.S. culture).
3. No one may discuss the idea of Ben Affleck potentially pursuing a political career without the accompanying use of a violent choking noise, an exclamation to the heavens, or some sort of written approximation (i.e., "Ack!", "Argh!", "Please, God, grant us your mercy!", et al.).
4. If no federal limits are set on Reality TV, President Bush's daughters will be forced to eat worms, perform a bad pop cover tune, and choose a future mate from one of the Osbournes on a desert island.
5. People will quit pretending that any movie about Nazis or the Holocaust is a must-see artistic triumph. (Shoah? Absolutely. The Pianist? I have a dental appointment.)
6. When The Hours' Nicole Kidman receives the Oscar for Best Actress later this month, keeping Julianne Moore from her rightful award, everyone must taunt her that she managed to win "by a nose."
7. Any magazine pretending that Eminem is an articulate Everyman, or that Justin Timberlake doesn't cause black people everywhere to laugh food through their noses, will be fined $1 million.
8. Kevin Spacey is forbidden from acting with a monotone meant to suggest deep reserves of hidden passion, and any article calling him a "ladies' man" or any variation thereof must follow it with the parenthetical statement, "Yeahand if you believe that, Richard Simmons is on his way over to bring you to triple orgasm."
9. Movies may no longer resemble video games. Video games may no longer resemble movies. Joan Rivers and her daughter may no longer resemble the Thanksgiving leftovers I pulled out of my fridge yesterday.
10. Simon Baker, who plays TV's The Guardian, will be overcome by the knowledge of his heretofore empty existence, causing him to flee the set and run toward Seattle in a dripping sweat screaming, "Is there no big-nosed, self-indulgent, balding journalist who can save me?"