Friday, May 20

Celebrities and Their Imitators

As nice bookends, consider these two articles:

The LATimes chronicles the "piñata syndrome" wherein the bloggers, tabloids, entertainment shows, and celebrities themselves conspire to create exaggerated public personas that inevitably fail in spectacular ways. (See: Dave Chappelle, Pat O'Brien, Paula Abdul, and Angelina "The Blackwidow" Jolie.) Says one publicist: "They're only lifting you up so that they can take sticks and beat you and see what comes out." Yet in many cases, the celebs (or the people they surround themselves with) are the chief accomplices in the "sick cycle" that keeps us all so very entertained.

Failing to learn the lesson are socialite bloggers, profiled by today's Express (page 32). Rather than take the cautionary tale to heart, these climbers -- the paper names Washington Socialites and Cleveland Park Men's Club -- use their self-promoting diary blogs to seek out the same fawning attention that drives real celebrities to destruction. As Express explains the phenomenon:

A chronicle of seeing and being seen, with some second-hand celebrity gossip thrown in, the site invites readers to vicariously experience their enviable social calendar, sleek wardrobes and photogenic pals. The model is so successful that Collins has become a bona fide full-time socialite, hosting charity events, and, since March, pontificating on trends as a regular guest on Z104.

Proclaiming it the new pathway to stardom, the article claims "Access to socialite scene used to depend on bloodlines and bank statements. Now you just need personality, determination and access to the Internet."

[The truth is that and Moveable Type have done wonders not just for pajama-clad snarks and chattering critics but also for those who use the Web for self-promotion and social exhibitionism. After all, what blogger hasn't heard the siren call of living (and writing about) the rockstar lifestyle?]

P.S. Big day for DC bloggers, as WhyIHateDC shows up in a WaPo Style column.