When Bruno Mars was picked up for suspicion of cocaine possession earlier this month in Las Vegas -- or "Busted for Booger Sugar" as TMZ reported, gross -- it wasn't the arrest that was so engaging, it was the mug shot. He looked downright giddy in his photo, almost creepy.
Mars is currently riding the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 for the second week in a row with Just The Way You Are, and luckily for him, in a few weeks, the drug arrest will be forgotten by our short attention spans. But right now, his soft gaze, perfectly set curls, and white teeth are burned into our brains. It's like we're are looking right into Bruno Mars' silky, effeminate soul.
Celebrity mug shots are often the only time we see celebrities looking and acting like "regular" people -- they, too, get busted with coke, or decide to drive drunk, or beat up their girlfriends, just like us common folk. When that happens, we get to see them in their natural human state, shifted from the safety of popular culture presentation.
For most famous women -- unless you're Paris Hilton or Zsa Zsa Gabor, and you were born with your game face on -- a mug shot means exposure to the world without make-up, which is a death sentence in itself. For men, it's a little easier to get by looking like a normal guy, and the photo is more comical than sad (unless you're Nick Nolte, and you look you've been on week-long bender before you decided to go swimming in a toilet with a Hawaiian shirt on.) Maybe Mars' mug shot is just simply telling us he's perfect on the inside, even if he does coke in bathrooms of casinos.
So, as Mars' is busy looking cute for the police, Katy Perry is defending her title as the girl next door who happens to like sex a lot, with Teenage Dream hanging out at number two on the charts. Sesame Street dismissed Perry last week after complaints that she was showing a little too much skin to Elmo, and subsequently, children. It's a pretty silly finger to point, considering Perry isn't known for her modesty. But again, pop culture success often hinges on selective amnesia of the collective consciousness. That's how people like Chris Brown continue to make records, right?
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.