Wednesday, April 11, 2007


One of Britain's recent pop imports is a waify, ambiguously gay man named Mika. The twenty-three-year-old singer was in Austin, Texas to win over the American press during SXSW and he was on-stage improvising a jokey cover of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie." I stood there reluctantly listening to what could be summed up as a singular Scissor Sister. Really, nothing more than that. But as I debated with myself (yet again) over whether I should wait until the end of the set to leave disappointed, I noticed a rotund, baby-faced man with bright pink hair weaving through the crowd, standing on his tippy toes looking for the best view while simultaneously blocking the people behind him. It took me a few seconds but then I recognized this attention-hungry individual as gossip columnist Perez Hilton.

I left immediately.

For the uninitiated, Perez Hilton is an alias for Mario Lavandeira, a Los Angeles blogger that's somehow turned writing childish messages over paparazzi photos and abusing exclamation points into a well-paying job. It's not my intention to call Hilton out for his shallow existence--that would be too easy. After all, the man's name is inspired by the human embodiment of worthlessness (ironically, now, he's friends with Paris) and his website is nothing necessarily unique or outstanding. Anyone with a computer can steal photos from photo agency sites and scribble statements like "in love?" or "it's love" over them.

What concerns me is not what Perez does, but rather, the patronizing to him. Yesterday, Blender Magazine published a heinous article (or as Perez would say, "whoreanus") online titled Perez Hilton Is the New Pitchfork. The article, which not surprisingly withholds the author's name, asserts that Hilton has a burgeoning influence in the music industry.

From the article:
Perez Hilton: Gossip maven, party hopper, menace to celebrities...highly respected and influential music tastemaker? With recent Perez picks like Lily Allen and Regina Spektor breaking through to MTV and Billboard success, artists and labels are beginning to recognize the escalating value of coverage on "The site is making a huge difference," says Monte Lipman, president of Universal Republic. And he should know—soul-singing Republic artist Amy Winehouse debuted on the album charts at a surprisingly high No. 7 with the help of Perez, which dedicated more than 30 posts to her talents and exploits since October.

I say this with full confidence. Perez has nothing to do with Winehouse's debut's success--her face was unavoidable and buzz was inevitable. She is enormously talented. But let's say hypothetically, we give him the credit for the soul singer's fame, or Spektor's or Mika's. It would be preposterous but let's go with it. Okay, so now Perez Hilton is the gay Pitchfork. You feeling it?
Neither am I.

Labels, while struggling with the ever-changing industry, need to remember that associating their newly signed act with someone of Hilton's caliber is detrimental. Gossip columnist come and go, but in many instance, they can write. The self-appointed Queen of All Media cannot write. In the background, I can hear the clock ticking until society sobers up and realizes that Perez is a poisonous, petty a**hole with his own Samsonite line of issues (what is it this time? Not loved as a child? Parents disapprove over son's homosexuality?). And when that time comes, the artists that he so enthusiastically endorses (I'm looking at you, the virtually unknown Jenny Owens Young) will try to Listerine strip the bitter after-taste of backlash. To avoid this, we need to remind ourselves regularly that this man is famous for writing about famous people like an eight-year-old child. If that child was retarded. And this is not the sort of person we want to give influential power to (because he also sometimes ends sentences with prepositions).

Yes, it's also entirely possible that Perez has decent reactionary ears--hey, Kirsten Dunst loves Radiohead--but this does not make him a tastemaker. Am I getting riled up over an anonymously written blog article on a magazine website not known for its content? Perhaps, but I assure the article's threats ("Lavandeira hopes to parlay his budding music industry notoriety into an "over the top" Perez-branded summer tour, a compilation CD and maybe even a record label.") are not far off. After all, there are a lot of stupid people in the music industry. Heck, how do you think this article got written?


Blogger Adam S. said...

Right on. Oops, a preposition!

Anyway, Perez Hilton is such a low-caliber pretender that I can't believe people take him seriously. A guy who paints little cum stains on people's faces with MS Paint is the new Pitchfork?

I don't really care that he's not a great writer, but the fact that he writes columns about how ugly children are is pretty disgusting. He also makes the "Pink is the New Blog" guy sound like Susan Sontag.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Arye said...

Amen, bruva.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont think you are much better then perez.....

at least he can reconise talent...mikas music may not be for you, but his vocal ability is undisputable..

why dont you stop the perez effect by not doing what he does.... bitching

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem, but it is uncomfirmed that he is gay. this matters to me. oh yh and leave Perez alone!

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I couldn't have said it better myself. Though I will admit, I admire however he managed to turn that "childish" writing into something as big as it is now. I want to do it too! I'd love having my opinion be the most researched. Sadly, I can hate Perez as much as I want, it's not going to change that his website is the easiest way to find the most recent celebrity gossip. Sadly, he's on my internet speeddial!

9:29 AM  

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