Opinion Tech/Web

Perez Hilton is giving Bloggers a bad name

mostlymonkeyballs

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

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60 Comments

  • Reply
    Drew Griffin
    September 23, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    Lisa,

    Insightful and honest posting. Glad to hear your nOOb mother is following her daughter’s foot steps. Keep up the great work.

  • Reply
    m.v.
    September 23, 2008 at 3:16 PM

    in my opinion perezhilton.com is just a blog created with the sole scope to make money using what the masses unfortunately like, “trashy, demeaning, vulgar gossip whose only scope is to humiliate, denigrate, trash, bash and diminish a human being (hence celeb) just for a morbid pleasure”… i don’t think it will affect the way people sees blogs though…. blogs are like channels on the tv there are enough for every taste and cultural level… thankfully I don’t like those kind of trashy blogs whose writers love to make fun of people…. on top it does more damage to young boys and girls in our society which I’m pretty sure are the 80% of his readers compared to the good it does by placing ads of charities, etc…. like teenagers don’t have enough pressure in their lives with weight, skin color, religious issues and fashion to add on top this kind of journalism in their heads… but I’m afraid its what brings money and that’s what is all about.

  • Reply
    Jack
    September 23, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    I’m not even sure I know who this person is. Judging by the reaction of most people, the right thing to do is probably to continue not caring. Ignorance is bliss, afteral.

  • Reply
    JeffDM
    October 3, 2008 at 9:43 PM

    Sarah, I’m pretty surprised that you’re working so hard to defend such a vacuous posterboy of Idiocracy. You talk about some high-minded ideals, but you seem to ignore the rabid destructiveness of that kind of gossip, calling people snobs for being disgusted with that. It seems to me that you too have the same traits that you are complaining about.

  • Reply
    Melissa Yeuxdoux
    October 9, 2008 at 6:01 AM

    “…I may not like what you say, but that doesn’t give you the right not to say it…”

    I hope that sort of incoherence isn’t the result of reading perezhilton.com.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    October 9, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    I’m actually calling people snobs for calling other people uneducated for reading the website. Pretty similar to what Melissa is doing actually.

    The more I think about this blog, the more I want to say this: Since when have we become the intellectual censor for the world? And what gives us the right to do that?

  • Reply
    Wyzard
    October 9, 2008 at 11:59 PM

    My opinion is that if Mario Lavandeira (Perez Hilton’s real name) can make money by getting 1.7 million people to go on his site, then I have this to say…

    More power to him.

    I don’t like the man – I briefly met him a couple of years ago and he is a wannabe celebrity. He claims to be friends with a number of actors and actresses and in fact they can’t stand him. But, people do like going to his site because people like reading about the drug and sex habits of celebs, true or not.

    I agree that he gives bloggers a bad name, but on the other hand if people want to read what he publishes on his web site, then so be it.

  • Reply
    No pants to get in the way of Madonna’s superstardom | MostlyLisa.com
    October 30, 2008 at 1:39 AM

    […] skip the recent details of her personal life because as you know from my previous Perez Hilton bashing article, I’m not a fan of celebrity gossip. But in this case, I’ll allow one cheesy […]

  • Reply
    Eduardo
    April 24, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    The very fact that intelligent people are mentioning Mr. Hilton and the first amendment in the same sentence is disturbing. Yes, everyone is free to express their opinion, but it should come with a disclaimer and a warning. I’ll bet the founding fathers are slapping their heads wherever they’re at saying “where the %@$! did we go wrong”. The really disturbing trend is that kids are being educated in this gossip, trendy, mass-media oriented society and believing that it is morally ok to behave as such. The real question we should be debating is whether or not blogs should come with a warning screen just like the pornographic sites do. “Caution, this is my opinion and you don’t have to agree”. “Parental Advisory”.

  • Reply
    Joyce
    June 9, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    @Scott Bourne: I think that movie sums up the direction the world is going in. A world with Jerry Springer as King. Hopefully we can find more important things on the net that enrich us. I’ll stay here and learn new things about my 200 function digital camera. I say let him be and spend your time teaching.

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