So wait … how is it Perez Hilton, the gossip blogger who built a career by drawing male genitalia and cartoon cocaine on celebrity photos, is now the media’s official spokesperson on one of the most important civil rights issues in America?
Oh, yeah! The Internet … the same series of tubes that gave us LOL Cats, Chocolate Rain, Susan Boyle and easily accessible pornography. God love you, Internet. You sure do keep our world interesting.
Whether or not you follow Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant, it’s hard to escape the fallout following Sunday’s nationally televised event. During the Q&A portion of the pageant, “celebrity judge” Hilton asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, whether she supported gay marriage.
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Prejean delivered her no-not-really response in the fumbling manner commonly heard at beauty pageants when a contestant is asked to deliver a succinct answer to a politically loaded question.
At any rate, Miss North Carolina took home the crown. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, we continue to be bludgeoned by updates on the “blogging queen versus the beauty queen.” Are we actually expecting a pair of inarticulate exhibitionists to fight this thing to a nationwide accepted finish?
Whatever, 24-hour news cycle — do what you gotta do. But you know, you wouldn’t invite LOL Cats to speak on animal cruelty. So please, stop presenting Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) as an accredited, universally accepted spokesperson of a generation, rather than the Internet meme that refuses to die.
In the scope of gossip blogs, Perez Hilton’s Web site isn’t particularly witty or insightful — mostly it’s a regurgitation of the news. Certainly in the pre-blog era, a fame-hungry obsessive of negligible talent had slim to no chance wedging his foot in celebrity’s door.
In the age of cyberspace however, pop culture moves faster than the speed of light. Now, only the biggest freak show holds our increasingly limited attention span. And well, we’ve always been obsessed with celebrity. To his credit, Hilton figured this out early on, long before gossip Web sites were a dime a dozen.
Hilton pulled viewers to his growing Web enterprise with outrageous “Oh no he din't!” comments on celebrity doings, accented with his aforementioned naughty use of Microsoft Paint. As his infamy grew, Hilton made the scene in increasingly garish wardrobe malfunctions — shiny sequined jumpsuits, a fur coat paired with a Hello Kitty shower cap … you get the picture. It’s the kind from which you can’t turn away. Well, good for him. Who gets hurt?
Funny you should ask. It’s good you did because nobody seems to be mentioning that way back a long, long time ago (around 2005), gay rights advocates were not enamored with the openly gay Perez Hilton, who used his increasingly popular Internet platform to “out” celebrities he believed to be gay and in the closet.
"In my own way, subserviently, I am trying to make the world a better place," Hilton told the Los Angeles Times — a quote Japhy Grant referenced in the 2006 Salon story, “Perez Hilton's gay witch hunt.”
“This raises the question: How does drawing c** stains on Clay Aiken's mouth, crudely scrawling the word ‘bottom’ across a photo of Lance Bass or putting a call out to anyone who has ‘slept with Neil Patrick Harris’ make the world a better place for gay or straight people? And what does it say about the mainstream press that it has adopted him?”
To be sure, Perez Hilton — both the Web site and the personality — have changed since that article first came out. The man appears to have benefited from the services of a personal trainer and stylist as he more visibly occupies the celebrity atmosphere he’s long aspired to. (Didn’t you know? Perez and Paris Hilton are total BFFs!) Plus, he totally got to be one of Donald Trump’s Miss USA celebrity judges.
The gossip content on his Web site has toned down considerably as Hilton inexplicably surmounts the boundaries of Internet fame. Perhaps he, or the hired hands he’s reportedly hired, cut back on the nasty comments to further ease Hilton’s transition into mainstream.
Or maybe Hilton doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of his new celebrity BFFs. Whatever the reason, you may have to scroll three screens before happening upon a flying penis … but sure enough, cartoon genitalia can still be found (most recently accenting a pageant shot of Miss California).
“Dumb bitch,” is how Hilton skillfully counters Miss North Carolina’s ineloquent pageant response in a video post on his Web site. And just in case you missed it, you can catch both of his recent appearances on “Larry King Live” where, in lieu of coherent statements, he over-annunciates his argument for gay marriage and why, apparently, Miss California is not qualified to represent these United States in first contact with an alien race … or whatever Hilton seems to believe Miss USA’s very important duties to be.
Within a day of the Donald Trump’s Miss USA incident, Hilton has now been hosted by most all major networks. Ambitiously clawing his way out of the Internet, Hilton was not invited to speak solely on the Miss USA incident for which he is at least somewhat qualified. Instead, the gossip blogger accepted the media’s unspoken invitation to represent not just the entire gay community, but all of America.
Each interview unfolds pretty much vapidly the same; Hilton is presented as a “celebrity columnist” and never once with the full disclosure that the only party this master of obscene Web doodles poorly represents is himself.
Won't you please help Helen A.S. Popkin achieve her sad little dream of Internet fame by following her on Twitter — or even just friending her on on Facebook? C'mon! All the kids are doin' it! What are ya, chicken?