Singing the Bite Me Song

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April 25, 2005

Do I really care what celebrities have to say?

While my title begs the question, my own cynicism is not so well-ingrained. Sure, I don't really give a flying flip about most of those fawning "entertainment news" programs out there. They are driven by PR people and agents, the publicity machine, so they're compromised, not to mention obnoxious with more time spent teasing vapid stories than is actually spent on the vapid stories.

Still, I can't say I'd fault celebrities for wanting to break out of that relentless ET and talk show promo-circuit box that is usually the only way people get to know them. There are smart and thoughtful people who just happen to be celebrities, you know? (check out their 10th house... did they do it on purpose?)

What I can't stand is the endless fawning. Maybe this will help them break out of that massive ego stroke. Maybe it will expose a few ridiculous egos along the way, and perhaps even take some of these schmoes to task for the money they spend on stupid things to prove they are richer than rich ($80 pair of socks, Winona? Your feet were THAT cold?), while lacking the common sense of Angelina Jolie, who gets that people are living on a pittance in other parts of the world so they can hoard their unreflexive bling.

Maybe we will discover different measures by which to assess the cult of celebrity, eh? Wouldn't that be nice?

The mainstream media force-feeds this courtier-wannabe world on a passive audience, makes us think that celebrities are all lords and ladies from the Middle Ages, and if we don't aspire to be a courtier hanger-on, we might as well be a trailer park serf. Who can resist such pressure?

Active and empowered users with interactive media, perhaps? Whoo doggie!


Link: The New York Times > Technology > A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her.

A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her

New York Times
April 25, 2005

OS ANGELES, April 23 - Get ready for the next level in the blogosphere.

Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.

She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.

Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation." Among those signed up to contribute are Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

"This gives me a chance to sound off with a few words or a long editorial," said Mr. Cronkite, 88, the longtime "CBS Evening News" anchorman. "It's a medium that is new and interesting, and I thought I'd have some fun."


Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post ( - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.

But unlike the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post will be interactive, offering news as well as commentary from famous people and allowing the masses to comment too, although not always directly with the celebs. Notables will oversee certain sections, with Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator, for example, taking the lead on national security issues. R. O. Blechman, the magazine illustrator, has designed the site. All material will be free and available on archives.

While many of the bloggers are on the left of the political spectrum, some conservatives have also signed on, among them Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, and David Frum, the writer who coined the phrase "axis of evil" when he was a speechwriter for President Bush.

In a solicitation letter to hundreds of people in her eclectic Rolodex, Ms. Huffington said the site "won't be left wing or right wing; indeed, it will punch holes in that very stale way of looking at the world."


April 25, 2005 at 11:38 PM in Current Affairs, Cyberculture, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink


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