Is Naked Ricki Lake Going Too Far?

Ricki Lake
CBS/The Early Show
In case you didn't notice, celebrity babies are a big business. We first saw the offspring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on the cover of Vanity Fair. And thanks to the jackals surrounding the daughter of the late Anna Nicole Smith, I could compile a baby book for Dannielynn to rival those of my own children.

Now another B-list celebrity is pushing the child-exploitation envelope to the limit. In what looks to me like a blatant bid to escape the where-are-they-now file, Ricki Lake is releasing video of her naked in a bathtub giving birth. No, it's not a new title for the fetish aisle of your local adult movie outlet. She's the executive producer of a critical documentary ironically titled, "The Business of Being Born."

In an interview with Huffington Post, Lake claims she filmed the birth of her second son for her own personal record and never intended to show the video to the public. Right. I'm guessing whoever was behind the camera was thinking, "movie career revival — ka-ching!" (The documentary is featured at the Tribeca Film Festival this month. I'll be watching for the faked, post-partum reverse shots of a wide-eyed daddy waiting for his son to pop out.)

And what about this baby boy — did he sign off on this project and the fame and notoriety that come with it? I can imagine how difficult it will be the first time a perfect stranger asks him, "Is it your head I saw crowning from the dilated cervix of Ricki Lake?"

And when he speaks, people are bound to say, "You sound just like that amniotic-fluid covered newborn screaming for sustenance from Ricki Lake's ample bosom."

According to the Tribeca Fest Web site, the film only runs 84 minutes, which means Lake has edited out a good portion of the labor process. I can tell you from witnessing the birth of my two sons, it ain't all wine and roses. In fact, it can look a lot like the last scene of "The Exorcist." A couple times I wanted to bring in Max von Sydow in a priest costume to splash holy water on my wife and lead me in a chant of "the power of Christ compels you!"

But I digress. If Lake really wants to make it in Hollywood, she should do as the Romans do and adopt an underprivileged foreign child.

Yes, this could also be construed as exploitation, but she can argue the paparazzi aren't forcing children into unsafe working conditions or handing them AK-47's. Taking children from their native lands and raising them with the help of paid, foreign-born caregivers here in America is only natural.


Mike Wuebben has written several non-published works, including angry e-mails to former girlfriends and at least three book reports on the Judy Blume classic, "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing." Prior to that, he couldn't read or write.

If you really want to talk, send Mike an e-mail. If it's urgent, buy an industrial-size spotlight with a W stencil and shine it into the night sky. Mike looks up regularly to check his messages.