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Call time on trashfest

The last people you'd expect to find sharing a pulpit are Jon Hamm and Senator David Norris. Yet this week the Mad Men star and the former presidential candidate were more or less singing from the same hymn sheet.

Hamm told Elle UK magazine: "Whether it's Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated. Being a f***ing idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture, because you're rewarded significantly."

Woo-hoo, good on ya, Jon! A few days later, Norris launched his by-now exhaustively publicised attack on TV3's "structured reality" trashfest Tallafornia, branding it "repulsive" and "drink-sodden".

Norris claimed it encouraged its participants to "behave licentiously and compete to bring people home to bed with them" and, rather more bizarrely, accused it of "exploiting young people".

"There was simulated sexual activity, leading to the full thing," Norris added. I'm guessing the "simulated sexual activity" the senator mentioned was the bit in last Friday's episode where Nikita, the one with the voice like a gurgling drain, performed a lap dance for one of the self-styled six-packed sex gods -- although given the way the four boys gaze admiringly at one another's torsos, am I the only one who thinks there's a homoerotic subtext unfolding here?


But the real fun kicked off when Kim Kardashian and Cormac Branagan from Tallafornia decided to hit back at their respective detractors.

Kardashian tweeted (or possibly had one of her people tweet): "Calling someone who runs their own businesses, is part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, 'stupid', is in my opinion careless."

I suppose how you view that last statement -- bad punctuation and all -- is a matter of perspective. Hamm, who always comes across in public as one of the smarter life-forms operating in Tinseltown, worked his way up the hard way, waiting tables and doing odd jobs for years before he got so much as a sniff of a decent part. The man has earned his celebrity stripes.

Kardashian, on the other hand, was a so-called socialite who, just like her VBF Paris Hilton, rode -- pun intended-- to spurious fame on the back of a leaked amateur sex tape she made in 2003. She subsequently protected her artistic integrity by palming $5m in an out-of-court settlement with the company that pirated and distributed the video.

Since then there's been the wretched Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the witless E! reality show she shares with her obnoxious family, plus the usual modelling, fragrance and clothing ventures that seem to be the preserve of every piece of C-list detritus these days.

But the reaction from Branagan, who apparently likes to be called [WANKAGE ALERT!] "The Corminator", was even more of a hoot. Speaking to d'Oirish Sun on Wednesday, he said: "Norris would want to get a dose of reality. This is everyday life. Nobody exploits me. I wasn't a puppet on a string."

But the best was yet to come.

"I personally think I am an excellent role model and I'm getting a great positive reaction. I seem to be somewhat of a cult figure." If I thought for a moment there was a spelling error in that last sentence, I'd agree with him.

>That sinking feeling Does the world really need yet another retelling of the Titanic story, given that there's already been three movies (1953's Titanic, 1958's A Night to Remember and James Cameron's 1996 blockbuster), several TV movies, an Italian cartoon and a 1943 Nazi propaganda version, not to mention countless other films and TV dramas that used the disaster as a backdrop or plot device?

Not really. Yet television will be giving us not one but two new takes on the story to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury liner. First up is Downtown Abbey writer Julian Fellowes' four-part Titanic, which goes out on ITV and TV3 later this month, followed in April by the 12-part European co-production Titanic: Blood and Steel, which was partly filmed in Dublin and Wicklow.

I'll probably end up watching both versions, just in case one of them has a different ending.

>war of the wannabes In a characteristic act of nastiness, ITV brought the start date of the new series of Britain's Got Talent forward three weeks to next Saturday, in the hope of scuppering the BBC's version of The Voice, and then deliberately scheduled it so the two programmes would overlap by an hour.

But the good news is ITV has blinked and moved BGT from 7.30pm to 8pm, meaning The Voice will have a full hour to itself before Simon Cowell's three-ring circus of dancing dogs and mentally ill people comes on air.

First blood to the BBC, then.

>SHOWDOWN On a related note, with all this Titanic rivalry and celebrity spite sloshing around this week's page, now would seem the perfect time for someone to revive Celebrity Deathmatch, the famous MTV/Comedy Network claymation series in which plasticine versions of well-known faces fought to the death in a wrestling ring.

Suggested first fight card: Tom Jones vs. Simon Cowell and David Norris vs. The Corminator.