Friday, December 28, 2007
TMZ bottom feeds its way to the top
Gossip website TMZ.com has been slinging the proverbial crap at celebrity fuck ups for a while now, and one needs to admit that it was guilty fun watching the overpaid get some come uppance as their missteps and errant thinking were held to saturation ridicule. But then the nausea set in, the sheer meanness of the enterprise; constant badgering and inspection of the doings of people of no real consequence just makes TMZ.com seem like a playground bully who is too much of a beef-brained moron to think of anything better to do. Now they have a television show, it's a success, and the New York Times covers them with a puff piece. The "newspaper of record" sounds like it's endorsing this televised goon show. The newspaper's lack of criticism or direct comment on either the web site's or the program's pernicious pandering seems a further stab as they reach for that large segment of their potential readership that's attracted to this sort of bottom feeding journalism. That's a tragedy in a sense, since it would be refreshing for someone to be the scold and demand that someone stop giving these paparazzi-enabling knuckle draggers free time on my television. It’s one thing for an Internet creation to break out into the mainstream, but the awful drag of it all is that it had to be a petty, smug and bullying infestation like TMZ.com. I realize that celebrities are an odd breed who are paid unreal amounts of money to fulfill audience requirements of glamour, power, beauty and grace and who are fair game when their lives go awry (or right, for that matter). But what TMZ.com does is just a shade shy of stalking, and the need for anything half-way resembling news about famous folks to fill their way web pages and TV slots, any snarky, sneaky, unfounded rumor to regale their audience with is mendacious pandering. Certainly the likes of Paris, Britney, Lindsey, Te al, have created their own catastrophes that are going to be played out in public, but the daily hammering these folks get goes far beyond someone getting their “just deserts”; the television version of the show especially is mean spirited and a superior tone that suggests a staff drunk on it’s seeming power to make or break reputations. The saturation is pornographic, honestly
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