Dec 24 2010
Oscar Wilde once said, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” And you know who would agree? Russell Brand, Vivica Fox, the cast of “The Jersey Shore,” and countless other pop-culture (quasi) celebrities whose Warholian 15 minutes of fame are ticking faster than you can say “another Flavor Flav Tweet from rehab?”
We love celebrities, particularly those whose fame can now be attributed to reality shows, run-ins with the law, and general bad behavior. Unlike the good old days, when celebrities were ephemeral, regal, royal, and distant (think Audrey Hepburn), our reality-show culture has democratized fame (think “The Situation.”) Anyone can be famous, albeit for 15 minutes, and only because we, the culture at large, make it so. And celebrity junkies now have a new place to call home – CelebKiller, a one-stop blog that brings you the latest in news, videos, celebrity ludicrousness, and pop culture cat nip.
CelebKiller is a celebrity news site without filters, bells, or whistles. Enter the site, and you’ll see a rapid succession of gossip-blurbs, photos, and videos – perfectly digestible for our short-attention-span society. Like slowing down while passing a car crash, you can’t help but ogle at these tasty morsels: “Is Dr. Dre Gay?” (I have my theories), “Marilyn Manson Wishes you a Merry Christmas” (of course he does), and “Lady Gaga Stalker Ends Backstage London Shows” (I’m shocked to think that Lady Gaga would attract any sort of even remotely demented fan.)
But there’s more to CelebKiller than just news filtering. The site shines a dim flashlight into some of the more bizarre and gnarly corners of the Web. It highlights a site called “My Strange Addiction,” where we see, for example, our friend Kesha, who is addicted to…eating toilet paper. We also get the “best of the best;” for example, Entertainment Weekly’s best albums of the year. Throughout it all, the wizards behind the CelebKiller curtain provide wry, hilarious, and occasionally scathing commentary. And you can search blog posts via a robust drop-down Category list
Most interestingly, if you, Mr./Mrs. Average Visitor, say, saw Paris Hilton inquisitively leafing through “Gravity’s Rainbow” at the midtown Manhattan Barnes n’ Noble, you can provide the killer scoop to CelebKiller. Doing so naturally blurs the line between the fan and the celebrity, though it’s not such a novel concept; it’s been happening for decades, albeit in a more structured format. For example, I remember speaking to a friend who worked at People magazine. She told me – brace yourselves – that a lot of those photos of celebrities, say, buying milk at the supermarket, or parading around LA half-incognito – are planted intentionally by their publicists. (She may as well have told me there was no Santa Claus!)
But the reason is obvious: to recall our Oscar Wilde quote, celebrities need their faces in the papers, or online, in perpetuity; otherwise, they may have to, like, get a job or something. And this is where, for all the paparazzi-sketchiness that inevitably infiltrates the celebrity world, sites like CelebKiller can be a boon for the celebrities themselves: user-generated scoops is good for business. I mean, the Heidi Montags of the world need all the help they can get keeping their names out there. (Poor Heidi.)
I’m sure there are college-level courses and psychological theories to explain why we, as a society, are obsessed with celebrity culture. The Germans have a word for it – schadenfreude, which is “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.” I mean, if you think you have it bad, just check out the latest exploits of, say, Kate Gosslin. Not pretty. There’s also the age-old escapist element, which is particularly acute in these precarious times. But that’s always been there: as long as there’s been human drama, there’s been the need to find refuge in that fantastical world of celebrity. It’s human nature, and human nature hasn’t changed; only the technology has. Of course Oscar Wilde would have Tweeted. Mark Twain would have most certainly YouTubed his book readings. And Marilyn Monroe would have giddily posted pictures of her most recent Beverly Hills shopping sprees.
Unfortunately for them, they didn’t have technology we’re blessed with, much less CelebKiller, a fun, free, and addictive celebrity news and gossip site that also probes the absurdist back alleys of our collective zeitgeist. And unfortunately for us, instead of Wilde, Twain, and Marilyn, we’ve got Russell Brand, Vivica Fox, the cast of “The Jersey Shore.” God help us.