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Levi Johnston Levi Johnston Levi Johnston

I apologize.

I am writing about Levi Johnston. This is only because I will never be able to get back the eight minutes of my life that I spent watching him on MSNBC's The Last Word, and I want to pay it forward. By the eighth minute, I had made an inventory of all the things in my office that could be used to end my misery. It's hard to bludgeon yourself senseless with a plastic cup of Starbucks iced coffee, and it seemed like it would be contrary to the spirit of National Coffee Day, but I was willing to try. If I got apprehended, I could just shrug and say, "Officer, I plead innocent by reason of just having watched a Levi Johnston interview and lost all faith in humankind and any will to live."

For years, I wondered what the opposite of riveting was. It turns out that it's "an interview with Levi Johnston."

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After hearing that they canceled Lone Star after two episodes, this makes me cautiously optimistic that Loving Levi, the upcoming reality show about his run for mayor of Wasilla, will meet a similar fate. Maybe they can cancel his reality while they're at it! Currently, the only thing that people know about Levi Johnston is that they actively dislike him. He has a lower approval rating from his potential constituents than John Edwards. John Edwards! How do you get a lower approval rating than someone who cheated on his wife -- while she was battling breast cancer? You'd think that would take real effort. Not for Levi. All he needs to do is walk into a room, and all heads turn -- away from him.

At some point, all this goes back to my theory that if Levi had actually stripped all the way down for Playgirl instead of having that strategically-placed hockey glove, people would respect him more.

He's one of that rare strain of new celebrities who seem to live off attention, like Heidi Montag, that perverse Tinker Bell who can only survive if the audience keeps booing. So he's running for mayor, of course. He doesn't even have his GED yet, as Bristol pointed out on Jay Leno. By comparison, Sarah Palin seems like she had a really firm and convincing grasp of the issues.

But if there's one person who should be grateful to Levi, it's Bristol.

The contrast factor might be why people still haven't soured on her. They're like the store-brand version of Jon and Kate Gosselin. "What a terrible mother Kate must be! Appearing on Dancing With the Stars!" people chide. Then they notice Jon. "But what's going on with Jon?" they say. "On an unrelated note, have you ever seen him wear anything other than shorts?" Bristol and Levi are like that -- notable parents who are conspicuously doing everything but parenting. Appear on Dancing with the Stars? Check. Cover of People magazine? Why not? "Where's Tripp?" "Uh, I think he's somewhere."

This power of comparison almost makes me want to date Levi. We could show up at events together, and in contrast to him, I would seem like a delightful individual with a lot of interesting things to say.

How about it, Johnston? True, I spent this whole piece lobbing insults at Levi, but I doubt he'll mind. The way I imagine him reading is just scanning articles for mentions of his name. "Levi! Levi! Levi! Wow! Eight! This is a great article!" I imagine he has difficulty walking past Levi stores for this reason. "It's on everything!" he crows. "There's no such thing as bad publicity!"

He's probably right. Maybe the only way to make him go away is to ignore him. After all, that strategy worked so well with the Koran burning.

By Alexandra Petri  | September 29, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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