Article written & published special to the Province.
The fact that mainstream media have made celebrity gossip blogger, Perez Hilton, synonymous with blogging, is one of the greatest tragedies of the web. If you haven’t been introduced to Perez’s particular brand of snarky, childish, eye-gauging celebutrashing, then you are in the minority. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, 1.7 million viewers are happily clicking on PerezHilton.com everyday to get their daily dose of “he got fat, she got fake boobs, they’re engaged, now married, now divorced, and both in rehab” news.
And guess what?
Your shallow addiction to Britney Spear’s cellulite is making Perez rich — and the most famous blogger on the Internet.
In the last few months I’ve seen Perez spring up on the cover and the glossy pages of Rolling Stone, Wired, Time, and People. With the support of mainstream media, Perez’s Internet fame is mutating into TV shows, appearances on popular talk shows like The View, and spawning a whole Internet cesspool of copycat bloggers hoping to cash in on Perez’s success.
The latest celeb blog making a splash on the web is Ashton Kutcher’s South Park-esque, BlahGirls.com. From the man who brought us such quality programming as Punk’d and Beauty and the Geek, we have yet another Perez-cloned site aimed at teenage girls. This is what really gets my knickers in a twist: I understand the potential monetary gain and amusement derived from celeb gossip blogging, but seriously — do teenage girls need to hear any more about Britney flashing her cooch?
The mainstream popularization of trashy, trite, and slovenly written blogs like PerezHilton.com is giving bloggers a bad name.
For many people who aren’t exploring the intense array of intelligent and thought-provoking blogs on the web, Perez might be the only blog they read. And that is one of the great tragedies of the web.
Maybe I am biased. I’m a blogger. Most of my friends are bloggers. I’ve even got my Internet n00b (unskilled user) mother turned on to the idea of keeping an online journal of her recent foray into digital photography. I think that sharing experience, knowledge, and information through first-hand journaling through blogs is an enriching experience for both the author and reader.
Blogs provide a platform for the writer and the reader to strike up an instantaneous discourse through comments which happen in real time.
It’s personal, immediate, and socks you right in the gut if you aren’t careful. It’s freedom of expression at it’s finest. And true, there is a lot of blogging debris on the web, but if more reputable journalists like Matt Taibbi and Anderson Cooper toss their credibility and craft onto the web, hopefully the mainstream will take note and push the crap aside, even if it is crap made from the finest champagne and fair-trade, organic celery sticks.
Opinions & comments? You know where to put ’em.
Since this was published in the Province this morning, I’ve already received a stack of unimpressed and angry Perez fans. Bring it I say! Plus, in a few hours I’ll be on a plane to Vegas. Should take the sting off.
Oh and if you live in Vancouver, pick up a copy of The Province, my first article may be worth something some day :p