05. June 2011 · Comments Off on Entourage · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Good God, That's Entertainment!

Only once in my life have I ever had first-hand acquaintance with the necessity of a body-guard. Not for myself, mind you – but for a fellow military broadcaster during my year at Yongsan AIG, Republic of Seoul, South Korea. Being – in a relatively minor way – something of a local celebrity is a thing that the younger broadcasters doing an on-air job as a radio or TV voice would rather glory in, at first. Ohh! You’re on radio, or television, everybody knows your name, your voice and your face, all over the ROK! After a good few years in the career field though, the older and career broadcasters would wise up and sober up – it was just a job; talking on the radio, playing records for folks and saying things to amuse them. Nothing special, just a job, albeit a little more public than most; after a while, one perfects the ability to keep the on-air personality a completely different and separate thing from the every-day-at-work NCO. Divas and their male equivalent do not last very long in military broadcasting.

Having thousands of fans, though – is nice. What’s not so nice is to become the focus for a deranged one – and it will. That’s a guarantee for anyone in the public eye, even a military broadcaster. That kind of irrationality is deeply frightening, even if it never goes any farther than disturbing phone calls. And that’s what happened to one of the young female broadcasters during my year in Seoul. She was the dee-jay for the mid-night rock and roll show: she was funny and earthy . . . and within a short time, she had a big circle of fans, both military and among the young English-speaking Korean audience. (American military radio usually does develop a local-national shadow audience.) And one of those local national fans began making increasingly disturbing phone calls to her, when she was on the air, which escalated to the point where he had vowed that he was going to get on post somehow and kill her for rejecting him. She had fortunately been taping his calls, since we had the capability to patch in a studio line to a recorder, but as it turned out, the local police were disinterested in taking any action against the deranged fan. Their attitude seemed to be that – eh, she had led him on, boys will be boys, and he hadn’t done anything but talk . . . but still – she was frightened very badly, all of her friends, and the rest of the AFKN staff – and the Air Force Security police contingent at Yongsan were furious. There was a small, but real possibility that he could manage to sneak on post, and figure out who she was, among the uniformed female staff at AFKN. Most of us walked between the AFKN building and the dormitory where we lived, a distance of about four blocks – and she would be doing this after dark. The handful of AF Security Police who lived in the dorm took it in turns to walk with her, back and forth for most of the rest of her tour. They were organized by an NCO who had just come off of the Presidential protection security team – who had beau-coups of experience being a bodyguard.

Anyway – yeah, quite often people who work in a capacity where they are out in front of the public eye do attract a lunatic fringe, and do need the services of a body guard . . . but I really have to wonder about Patti Labelle. Yep, that Patti Labelle – who passed through Houston’s airport in March, with no less than three body-guards, a raft of luggage and an even larger raft of self-importance. Apparently, a guy talking on his cell phone in the pick-up area while he waited for a ride from his family, failed to appreciate the splendor and importance of Miss Labelle, or more precisely her luggage. And Miss Labelle’s body-guards’ manner of making sure that such lesser mortals did know their proper place – with regard to the luggage of a super-star – involved leaving him bruised, bloody and with a concussion. Oh, and the airport security officers who came to investigate took the time to pose for pictures with Miss Labelle, knowing they were in the presence of a star, and knowing the properly graceful way to acknowledge celebrity.

The young man with the cell phone and lack of proper appreciation for the presence of a celebrity turns out to be a senior year cadet at West Point. And he has just filed suit – story here, from the Houston Chronicle. And just for fun – the airport security cameras caught the whole beatdown and aftermath.

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