Standing shoeless and beltless at the mercy of airport security, it’s reasonable to say we’re baring it all these days. Although scans since last year’s Christmas underwear plot now allow TSA officials to see what lies beneath your clothes—personal tattoos, David Hasselhoff boxers, and all—we’ve been exposed for a while now, really. From the 1998 Clinton-Lewinsky affair to 2009’s sex scandals involving a South Carolina governor and sports icon T. Woods, the last decade has opened the media environment to, in the words of Obama, “instant commentary and celebrity gossip” (read: insignificant mumbo jumbo or pretentious drivel or both).
But discussions of our oversaturated media climate feel like old news. We all know we’re a nation that perpetually shares (and steals) information. Thanks to social networking and blogging technologies like Twitter, journalists are now joined freely by GlitterGurl456 and pals as deliverers of our daily bread. And it is here, wrapped in the anonymity of the Internet, where today’s media culprits thrive and procreate: celebrity bloggers (or, the more aptly named “cloggers”). They are the self-proclaimed who feel it’s their divine duty to report the latest bathroom escapade of our beloved John Mayer, those who’ve embraced their online avatars and put them to work clogging the pipelines (forgive the ongoing pun, please) of our nation’s networks.
All restroom jargon aside, however, the proliferation of celebrity bloggers is an issue worthy of discussion before we officially become a nation of Peeping Toms. More important, to celebrities these cloggers have become like unwanted younger siblings tugging on ye knickers. Unlike younger siblings, however, celebrities don’t even know these bloggers, so it’s exponentially creepier.
And so I offer the following tips and guidelines to all those celebrity bloggers currently navigating the ubiquitous blogosphere. I simply wish to, at the very least, activate some consciousness when you sit down at your computer each day, blog open and fingers on the keys, ready to attack. Just as you may wish to conceal that the Starbucks cup on your desk has become your most faithful and supportive companion—the Batman to your Robin, the Sid to your Nancy, the Bo to your Michelle Obama—celebrities, too, should be able to cover things up.
- Know what to cover and not to cover. I can acknowledge the ambiguity in this suggestion, so here are some examples to get you started:
- Cover: Jon Stewart’s autism benefit; Glenn Beck’s inevitable crying on public television, as he’s seemingly unable to regulate normal human emotions.
- Don’t Cover: A conversation overheard in L.A. during which Britney Spears lies about her exercise routines; Madonna standing in front of a nude man because “who doesn’t appreciate a shriveled, young Brazilian penis?!”
- To cover, or not to cover—that is the question: The rule of thumb if you aren’t sure if something should be covered is to not cover it. Even if it makes you anxious or twitchy. In fact, for every piece of celebrity gossip you withhold, award yourself with one sip of your Venti cup of joe.
- (False) Theory of Similar Attributes: Just because you share the same name as your favorite celebrity (or own an article of clothing you saw your favorite celebrity sporting, for that matter) does not make you his or her BFF.
- (False) Theory of Extraordinary Knowledge: Just because you can recite a celebrity’s daily routines or screen credits like a walking IMDb, again, does not make you his or her BFF or self-appointed publicist or both.
- Case Study #37: If you know the cast of Goodfellas says the “F” word 300 times, this doesn’t mean you need to report about Robert De Niro’s run-ins with the law as if it’s your duty to incite fear in the public: “The court papers were filed on Friday and thus far no comment from DeNiro’s reps!” An exclamation point? Really?! For every exclamation point you include, penalize yourself by pouring one sip of your cup o’ joe on your lap.
- Contrary to popular opinion, attempting to explain the philosophy behind the presence of your celebrity blog doesn’t add to its credibility.
- Case Study #52: The Mission Statement of popular celebrity blog The Superficial reads, “The Superficial is a brutally honest look at society and its obsession with the superficial. It is not satire. It is not social commentary. It is the voice of our society at its worst. It is first impressions without sense of social obligation. It is the truth of our generation. It is ugly racism. It is jealousy. It is honest… Just kidding. Our goal is to make fun of as many people as possible.” Here, the joke writes itself.
- Whenever possible, resist the desire to insert your personal commentaries into your celebrity reports, i.e., “OMG Paris’s legs look so phat ;)”. Stop dissing Paris when everyone knows that if you saw her at a party you would bow down and kiss her shoes.
- Don’t use emoticons. Ever. 😉
- Nobody likes misinformation. In the event you don’t have time to check your sources, remember what happened to Paul Revere when instead of shouting, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” he yelled, “They’re gone! They’re gone!” (He was beheaded and covered in gin, which is today’s equivalent of having your blog deleted and another medium-sized coffee spilled on your lap.)
Now log off and drink up. 🙂
(For the moment this post will go in the “Uncategorized” folder, but hopefully there will be many more “Tips For…” posts to come. Maybe “Tips For Claustrophobic Elevator Repairmen.” Or “Tips For Passive-Aggressive Stock Brokers.” Specificity feels good.)