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Chris Brown among the celebs who can’t resist Twitter taunts

The 40th American Music Awards - Arrivals

The 40th American Music Awards - Arrivals

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Updated: December 28, 2012 6:03AM

From a pop culture perch, the best and the most dangerous thing about Twitter is the lack of filter between celebrity and follower.

A certain percentage of Twitter users seems to have joined up for the sole purpose of taunting celebrities, with many celebs taking the bait. Back in, say, 2007, the star of a sitcom would never see the emails or snail mails proclaiming, “You’re the WORST!” Now, that very same star will engage in a Twitter war of words with some kid from Nebraska who has 17 followers.

Sometimes the famous and the almost famous get into it, e.g., Chris Brown’s Twitter feud with comedian Jenny Johnson on Sunday night.

It all started when Brown tweeted a photo of himself and lamented, “I’m old as f---! I’m only 23.”

Johnson’s retort: “I know! Being a worthless piece of s--- can really age a person.”

Consider Brown’s history. After his despicable and cowardly attack on Rihanna, he’s been given a second showbiz life — and apparently a second chance with Rihanna as well. He’s making music, performing on awards shows, Tweeting photos of his Lamborghinis, just living the life.

All this despite post-arrest behavior that includes throwing a tantrum on “Good Morning America” and breaking a window with a chair; filling the Twitterverse with nasty comments; and getting into a brawl with Drake at a New York nightclub. If Brown’s learned any lessons since that ugly attack on his girlfriend in 2009, it’s that he can continue to behave like a punk without any real repercussions.

Still, one might think he’d have an ounce of common sense, just a tiny angel on his shoulder telling him, “Don’t push it.” So when a Jenny Johnson calls him out, even though his first reaction might be to call her names and express the desire to do horrible things to her, you’d think Brown might find enough inner strength to repress those urges and ignore the taunt.

Instead, Brown’s Twitter response was to tell Johnson to take her teeth out when performing a certain act, and calling her a “HOE.” (I’m fairly certain Brown didn’t mean to call Johnson a useful agricultural tool.)

Johnson’s replies were along the lines of, “Your mom must be so proud of you,” and “Seriously, get some help,” while Brown continued to evoke images of scatological, aggressively sexual things he’d like to do to Johnson. She wiped the floor with the clown, whose eventual move was to delete his Twitter account.

It was the first intelligent thing he’s done in a while.

A Lifetime of folly

As the Brown-Johnson feud was unfolding, the Twitterverse was exploding with negative comments about the premiere showing of “Liz & Dick,” the Lindsay Lohan vehicle that turned out to be even more awful than everyone expected it to be. Lohan’s smoky voice and painfully amateurish performance, the cheesy dialogue, the horrible photography — even from the channel that gave us the Drew Peterson bio and movies with titles such as “My Stepson, My Lover” and “Stranger With My Face,” this was memorably terrible.

I piled on with comments such as, “Imagine all the seconds, even minutes, Lindsay must have spent working on that Liz Taylor accent,” but as the tweets poured in, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Lohan. Yes, we’re all responsible for our own actions, but if I’d had Lohan’s parents, I’d probably be jingling a cup outside of Walgreens right now.

Meanwhile, in her own Twitterverse, Lohan was happily touting the premiere of “Liz & Dick” and inviting fans to ask her questions. Given Ms. Lohan has nearly 4.6 million followers and she answered only a handful of innocuous queries about such topics as filming locations and Taylor’s most impressive qualities, one can only imagine the thousands of brutal questions and comments flung in her direction.

Whether Lohan was blissfully ignorant or she chose not to engage the negativity, her path on Sunday night was clearly superior to the sewers in which Chris Brown trafficked.

He was Major Nelson, too

J.R. Ewing is one of the most storied characters in the history of television, so it was no surprise nearly every headline and lead about the passing of Larry Hagman mentioned his role on “Dallas.”

But to me, Larry Hagman was always Major Nelson.

Of all the reruns of all the stupid, hokey, smarmy sitcoms (“Hogan’s Heroes,” “Green Acres,” “Gomer Pyle,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Brady Bunch”) that dominated after-school and late-night TV back in the day, “I Dream of Jeannie” was always my favorite. It was pure escapist fantasy farce, but Hagman, Bill Daily and Barbara Eden had terrific comedic timing and they really sold every visual gag, every line reading.

It would be a stretch to call “I Dream of Jeannie” a pioneering show, but during its initial run (1965-70), it was occasionally ahead of its time, e.g., multiple-part storylines, and one episode that featured a contest tie-in.

Just before “Jeannie,” Hagman had a supporting role in Sidney Lumet’s claustrophobic, black-and-white, 1964 Cold War thriller “Fail Safe.” It’s further evidence that a quarter-century before Hagman was hamming it up to great effect on “Dallas,” the man could act.

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