It's a measure of what a celebrity-besotted culture we have that in the wake of California's gay-marriage statute, the only stories to capture the national attention were the planned nuptials of

Star Trek

's George Takei and of talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres.

It reminds me of the '80s parody edition of the tabloid New York Post. The front page reported a nuclear holocaust with a headline that read: "Michael Jackson, 80 million others dead."

Takei is about the only crew member of the Enterprise to continue to work steadily, in everything from NBC's

Heroes

to a cameo as himself in the just-opened

You Don't Mess With the Zohan

.

A number of his shipmates are due to attend the ceremony in September, including Chekov (Walter Koenig), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

But I'm a little concerned. All these guys are getting up there in age (Takei is 71). What if a rowdy band of Klingons crashed the reception, intent on revenge? Better enlist some young cadets from Star Fleet Academy to serve as security.

Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) isn't on the invite list. I hear there's been bad blood between him and Sulu ever since that AWOL incident on one of the moons of Regulak. But if there are cameras at the wedding, the old ham will almost certainly turn up anyway.

Set those phasers on "stun."

MTV sells out!

How low can you go?

The MTV Movie Awards

was the most egregious and distressing display of payola I've ever seen. It wasn't a celebration of film as much as it was a naked opportunity for actors to promote their summer films.

That tone was set by aggressively mercenary host Mike Myers.

At one point, presenters Will Ferrell and Danny McBride worked a tandem plug. "Go see

Foot Fist Way

," shouted Ferrell of McBride's film. "Go see

Step Brothers

," said McBride, returning the favor. "Free advertising," exulted Ferrell.

Somehow I can't see Woody Allen or Richard Pryor stooping to this.

Strictly from Unger.

The debut of CBS's

Million Dollar Password

, hosted by Regis Philbin, contained a reference to a classic TV moment that went completely unremarked upon.

As celebs Neil Patrick Harris and Rachael Ray helped their contestants, they got the word

Lincoln

.

Flashback: In a wonderful episode of

The Odd Couple

, Felix and Oscar competed together on

Password

, the vintage version hosted by Allen Ludden. After the clue

mayonnaise

was given, Felix blurted out "Lincoln."

To explain his seeming non sequitur, he said huffily, "It's a known fact: Lincoln loved mayonnaise."

If Harris was a student of television, he would have dropped in Felix's next loony guess: "Aristophanes."

Shoving match.

Speaking of old-school echoes, the debut of CBS's

Elite XC

martial arts matches last Saturday completely wasted the talents of notorious street fighter Kimbo Slice. Who wants to see a knockout artist grappling and grunting with his back on the mat?

It reminded me of the worst prime-time bout ever: Muhammad Ali against Japanese boxer Antonio Inoki in 1976. If you saw that debacle, you're probably still booing.

No crying in baseball.

Shades of

Desperate Housewives

. Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays has a third baseman named Evan Longoria. Who's catching - Terry (not Teri) Hatcher?

But I hear the Rays have a terrific double-play combination: Longoria to Huffman to Cross.

Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at dhiltbrand@ phillynews.com or 215-854-4552. Read his recent work at http:// go.philly.com/daveondemand.