Crisis in America: Celebrity Break-Ups Humorist Brian Unger is shocked -- shocked! -- that rocker Sheryl Crow and cycling champ Lance Armstrong called off their engagement. He fears the rash of celebrity break-ups is infecting the rest of us mere mortals, and that America is facing a crisis of the heart.

Crisis in America: Celebrity Break-Ups

Crisis in America: Celebrity Break-Ups

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Humorist Brian Unger is shocked — shocked! — that rocker Sheryl Crow and cycling champ Lance Armstrong called off their engagement. He fears the rash of celebrity break-ups is infecting the rest of us mere mortals, and that America is facing a crisis of the heart.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Now this week's Unger Report in which Brian Unger takes on a national crisis that President Bush failed to mention in last week's State of the Union Address; a crisis of the heart. Here's Brian.

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

The president's State of the Union Address has gotten a lot of play over the past week. We've heard much chatter about oil addiction, animal-human hybrids, and switchgrass; but it's time to talk about a different state of the union equally in peril. I'm talking about celebrity unions. Stand in a line in any supermarket and you'll see for yourself, the state of the union in Hollywood is a disaster. Criminy, no one can stay married in that town. It's like love moves to Hollywood to die and the grocery aisle press-core is writing its obituary. Waiting to buy milk is an emotional roller coaster of Brad and Jen, and well, Brad and Jen.

Then on Friday night, late word of another celebrity couple crack up; Sheryl Crow and Lance Armstrong, a tour de fizzle.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: Fresh off the news that Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora are history on the heels of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe's public parting. And in the wake of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's unexpected divorce. Hollywood, how many tears do you have left?

You might think the lesson learned here is this, dump your loved one on a Friday night. Like announcing a bad earning's report, political scandal, product recall, or a firing, releasing bad news to public on a Friday night is customary. The hope is that in newsrooms across the country, journalists go home early. There's no one or no time to react to a PR sneak attack. And the less agile weekend staff is caught shorthanded and flatfooted. Concurrently, TV viewership drops. It's as if the 24-hour information age goes into deep freeze. Bad news is old news by Monday, or the few exposed to it will simply forget; not true in Hollywood. Friday night break-ups give the Hollywood press-core the entire weekend to ask every other star promoting a movie, a charity, or a new line of pajamas what they think about their fellow celebrity's break-ups. Thus the epic Monday morning wrap-up in splitsville, featuring someone, say like Big Momma's House Two star Martin Lawrence who's shocked, just shocked at the sudden break up of Sheryl and Lance.

(Soundbite of music)

UNGER: The real crisis facing the state of our unions outside of Hollywood is a possible rash of copycat divorces among noncelebrity couples. If the famous are shining role models for dead love, it's only a matter of time before the nonfamous pick up the trend. Couples, be weary of the supermarket check-out line. Instead of a loaf of bread, your spouse may bring home a six-pack of irreconcilable differences.

And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

CHADWICK: And Brian, thank you for that.

And dear listeners, a reminder; podcasts of the Unger Report are available at our Web site, NPR.org.

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