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September 18, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 18, 2007 |

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a piece covering just about all that needed to be said about Perez Hilton in what became one of the most popular posts ever on Pajiba. In fact, for several months after the publication of that review, it was number two in the Google results, right below Perez’s own blog. It was blissfully heartening to know, as Perez’s star inexplicably continued to ascend, that many — including those in the press — were running across that post (it was even mentioned in a few newspaper puff profiles of Mr. Lavandeira). Of course, since then, almost everyone else — even colleagues in the blogosphere who once treasured the occasional link or blogroll addition from his site — have also jumped upon the bandwagon of hate, knowing as they do that there is little to be gained anymore by associating with Mr. Hilton and that you can neither beat him, or join him.

I have little left to add to my initial rant about someone who “sold the blogging world out in his quest to become not only the slavering prisoner of his own lust for celebrity but an object of desire himself, only there is absolutely nothing to desire about Hilton’s fuck-me grin, ersatz fashion, and overweening visage.” And besides, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that - as maggots thrive in excrement — Perez is only made stronger by hatred and bile. Indeed, given the man’s oompah-loompa girth, a pig-in-shit metaphor could easily be mistaken as literal; he’s basically become the Hispanic version of Bruce Vilanch. With pink hair.

And I was content enough to leave the man alone, mostly quarantined as he was over on his bit of cyberspace where he could continue to pollute the minds of adolescents and those 18-32 year olds smart enough to be able to type his url into a browser, but not quite smart enough to know not to (judging by the 200 million plus page views he gets a month, there’s quite a few in that demographic and they know how to scroll, seemingly proving the theory about monkeys and typewriters). However, I’ve started to notice lately that Hilton has not only physically doubled in size, but that he’s begun to appear with some frequency on television, which means he’s once again fair game for us.

Yet, my concern here is not with Perez Hilton. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he will never rise above his self-degrading jejune antics - his attention-seeking behavior is the equivalent of a third-grader wiping his fecal matter on a bathroom stall, only Perez does it with Photoshop and his canvas is illegally procured photos of celebrities. Why should the guy stop doing what has made him the richest celebrity blogger in existence?

No, my beef today is with an American culture that has allowed this man to become any kind of a dominant force. So if you simply can’t abide another tired, pseudo-intellectual soapbox screed against Middle American cultural values (note: the mindset, not the people) you may as well move along, because it’s that sort of commentary that’s made us over one-half a percent as popular as Perez! The same people that have made Hilton who he is have made social vapidity and “The Hills” so popular, and they have also made it possible for Ryan Seacrest to challenge Jesus Christ himself as the most popular figure in America (J.C. ought to consider some highlights if he wants to compete). I suppose that we should feel lucky that Perez’s most frequent targets have absolutely no box-office clout, or any ability whatsoever to move more than 17 copies of their latest albums, which just goes to show you that people love Trainwreck Theater, as long as they don’t have to pay for it.

All of which makes me wonder: If exposure on Perez’s blog doesn’t actually translate to real-world success, why are more and more celebrities degrading themselves to fawn all over the guy? I speak, specifically, of a show like Hilton’s latest special, “What Perez Sez about the VMAs,” a program that I mostly fast-forwarded through while stifling my gag reflex like I was standing in a landfill of rat carcasses. It began with an interview of Simon Cowell, of all people, who actually is savvy enough to know that both his and Perez’s audience intersect, but not enough to realize that the only real capital that Perez has is in his ability to create tabloid personalities — celebrity apparitions conjured up for the sole purpose of increasing Perez’s page views and Nancy Grace’s rating points. For God’s sake: That Mandy Moore would stand on the same stage as Perez and lick the same stripper pole not only embarrasses everyone involved, but devalues the minimal good will she’s built up by appearing on shows like “Scrubs” and in movies like Dedication. Does she not realize that by associating herself with Perez — even in a cheap, throwaway interview — she’s lumping herself into the same category as Lindsay, Britney, and Paris? And Hillary Duff — I understand. But Amy Winehouse? Whatever boozy, drug-fueled Janis Joplin-remix vibe she may have had all but disintegrated the second she willingly sat down with “The Queen of All Media.” And the real irony is that now, after her inevitable lethal overdose, she’ll be nothing more than another punchline in one of Hilton’s posts: “Winehouse Admitted to Rehab. In Hell.”

This is how bad it’s gotten: The good folks over at VH1’s Best Week Ever blog — who are not above grinning and bearing it to support one of their own, even if he is the star of “Cavemen” — have even gone so far as to denounce Perez’s presence on the network that pays them, hyperbolically calling his ratings success “the death of television” (they are not too far off the mark if “Cavemen” is a harbinger of what’s to come). I mean, lookit: George Bush constantly reminds us that there are terrorists out there, and that we have to fight them abroad to keep them from coming here. Well, news flash: Perez Hilton is a cultural terrorist, and he lives right here in America. The man is attacking us in our homes, through our computers, and now even on our television sets. And it’s true that we don’t have to dial up his website, and we can turn the channel whenever he comes on. But you know what? We can’t avoid the millions who read his site or watch his show — our brain-atrophied cubicle colleagues and classmates who clamor for more, necessarily limiting the options for the rest of us. Nor can we reverse the deepening cultural trend. In fact, I read a review of Perez’s special on Slate, of all places, in which the critic wrote that, once he gave into it, the show was “disturbingly easy” to like. I suppose that’s my biggest fear — that everyone will simply fall into this huge sack of shit masquerading as entertainment because they decided to turn off their brain for a few minutes. What happens if they forget to turn it back on? Because, short of a ButtFucker’s opening up around the corner, there is no surer sign that we are hurtling toward an Idiocracy than the fact that Perez’s semen-and-booger doodles are the most popular thing on the Internet.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.

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"What Perez Says About the VMAs" / Dustin Rowles

TV | September 18, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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