- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2003

We are starting to see where it will end in the cauldron of spin with this 19-year-old woman from Colorado who claims she was sexually assaulted by Kobe Bryant.

After the prosecutorial team has gone the way of Christopher Darden and Marcia Clark and Bryant has returned to being a full-time basketball star, the woman will hit the talk-show circuit and tell her version of the story.

She will look into the sympathetic eyes of the fatuous host and squirt the premises with rivulets of conviction.

Yes, she will have to cry at some point.

If need be, she will have to slice up an onion before she goes on television.

This is the parody division of television news in America today.

The 19-year-old woman will find the most benign source of inanity available, and the hardest part will be deciding which one to do first. Oprah? Barbara? Larry Live? What about Connie Chung? Where have you gone, Connie Chung? A nation sometimes turns its addled brains to you.

The woman then will become a designer of handbags or lingerie or whatever and negotiate to be the host of another pie-in-the face reality show.

The woman remains anonymous for now, depending on how you define anonymous. Her name, home address and e-mail address, along with an alleged photograph of her, have been posted on the Internet.

A 350-pound radio guy refers to her by name in his syndicated broadcasts, because he thinks it is the right thing to do and because, well, it is not a bad career move on his part.

A 350-pound radio guy can’t live on mashed potatoes alone.

There are those who are upset by the absence of civility in this 24/7 case.

One doctor, on cue, claims the 19-year-old woman is being raped all over again, as if she was raped the first time. Please. If you are going to go there, at least start from a position of honesty.

A so-called friend tells NBC news that the woman was so traumatized last week that she expressed a certain pride about the incident at a party. The woman even was willing to discuss the quality of Bryant’s manhood. This piece of gossip is either accurate or inaccurate.

Other friends, perhaps mental health experts, have told of a pill-popping binge by the woman that they characterized as a “cry for help,” which was precipitated by the break-up of a boyfriend and the death of a friend.

It is said the parents of the woman have asked the friends to stop spilling their guts to the national press. You can’t blame the parents. With friends like this, who needs to interview the high school janitor?

Those Eagle County residents who want their 15 minutes of being somebody are victims of an environment that equates self-worth to being one of the images beamed out of the idiot box, as television once was charitably called. That actually would pass as a compliment in today’s vapid climate.

We have come to be a nation that rewards hot-air artists who appeal to voyeurs. Forget the rush to judgment. Now there is a Carl Lewis-like sprint to judgment, with the obligatory caution: We do not know what really happened in the room of that upscale resort, but that is not going to stop us from solving the case right now, right here in this television studio.

The pathological need to pollute the air with half-wit notions is hardly limited to the Bryant case.

The need often manifests itself around the events in Iraq, as interpreted by a gaggle of self-appointed diplomats, geopolitical insiders and intelligence gatherers, some whom have day jobs in Hollywood.

Michael Moore, to name one, is the human blob who believes his foreign-policy expertise is in proportion to his incredible girth. He has a platform because of his celebrity, and you hope it is a sturdy platform, because at his size, he exceeds the capacity of most elevators.

The racial element, predictably enough, finally has come to the Bryant case.

To recap this part of the investigation, Bryant is a black man who speaks Italian, and the woman is a blonde-haired college student who flunked a tryout with “American Idol.”

See, she wants to be famous, and so she possibly set up the famous black man who speaks Italian.

Anyway, this legal matter would not be resonating with the American public if Bryant were Dusty Baker and the woman could hit .300 under the hot Chicago sun. At least the reasoning goes something like that. But who knows? There are so many competing agendas out there that it is difficult to process it all.

The satanic cult theory has not been put into play yet. But give it time.

Until then, let freedom ring. Free Winona. Free Scott Peterson. Free Kobe.

In a related development, Raffi, the one-named jeweler from Santa Monica, Calif., has emerged with a $4million tidbit in the pages of People Magazine.

It was Raffi who fashioned Bryant’s eight-karat mea culpa to his wife, a purple diamond ring that is a bargain if you consider the customary price of infidelity among the rich.

“They looked very happy together,” Raffi said.

Good old Raffi.

He is a marriage counselor, too.

Raf-fi, Raf-fi, Raf-fi.

Live, from Santa Monica, it is Raffi.

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