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Movable Snipe: Fat, Gay Kid in Thespian Society Makes Good

Spencer, It’s Thanksgiving, we all need to start basting our 12-pound organically-grown oven stuffer turkeys, so I’ll keep it brief (though the internet rests for no oven timer, particularly when celebrity gossip blogs are on the table). Ah Perez Hilton … Read More

By / November 23, 2006

Spencer,

It’s Thanksgiving, we all need to start basting our 12-pound organically-grown oven stuffer turkeys, so I’ll keep it brief (though the internet rests for no oven timer, particularly when celebrity gossip blogs are on the table). Ah Perez Hilton (aka Mario Lavandeira ). The site (and its title, for that matter) is so easy to loathe, with its bubble gum background, vapid content and nasty (but not necessarily clever – the first is usually forgiven in the presence of the second) content. Websites like Gawker perfected and mass-produced celebrity snark, offering google-cached photos and ginsu-edged editorial commentary, and the format’s success spawned countless (and often, reader-less) this-minute spinoffs. Meanwhile, Perez kept the formula painfully simple: Poach photos from celebrity photography services, post them with crude handmade alterations, and add a nasty zinger or two in the heading.

Simple, churlish and smutty, perhaps; but damn did it work. Rising above the torrent of celebrity-mocking blogs crowding the blogosphere, Perez is a daily read for millions of the gossip-starved web junkies that make up our soulless culture. His information may be completely incorrect (he even states it in a disclaimer on his front page) and his commentary runs from merely shallow to devoid of all possible meaning. But still the readers come in droves, drawn by the catchy, derivative title (his site was called pagesixsixsix.com until the namesake threatened to sue) and campy, outrageous tone. His popularity led to eventual media attention and high earnings (pretty unthinkable for a personal blog with such low overhead costs) and at last the self-proclaimed “fat, gay kid in Thespian Society” finally achieved what he’d so obviously wanted: a place among the celebrities he pretends to loathe but desperately needs to be a part of.

Granted, it’s easy to dismiss Lavandeira and his ilk as tepid, brain-shriveling crap. But let’s be frank; the guy gets more hits a day than Andrew Sullivan. Diatribes about how Lavandeira’s success represents gaping fissures in the collective soul of modern humanity aside, he gives people what they want, and they come to him in droves. But the appeal rests only in the writer’s outsider status. While he dishes out daily scorn and contempt, he secretly believes the beautiful haut monde he writes about are his superiors, and hates them for it. But as he becomes more and more a part of the Lohan-filled scene, posing for pictures with Aguileras and Richies (and actual Hiltons), the blog loses its only real edge, replaced by a sickening obsequiousness over his newfound celebrity “friends” that could induce even the strongest gag reflex. Funny how you’re less likely to post pictures of Lindsay with coke lines drawn under her nose when you’re worried about getting invited to her next Malibu birthday bash.

Now, as paparazzi services are suing Perez over his shameless photo poaching, the claws come out and the site may eventually fade into Google-cached oblivion (Quel tragedie!). But until then, well, nothing really. I sure as hell never read it before the whole crush of publicity. Why start now.

[Movable Snipe is a Daily Shvitz feature wherein two writers spend a reading a handful of blogs and offering constructive (or savage) criticism in epistolary form. This week's Snipers: Spencer Ackerman and Melissa Lafsky.]

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