Red S.E. Cupp is the home of S.E. Cupp, co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Perez Hilton Jumps the Shark

I have a piece in Townhall's August magazine. Pick up a copy!

Full text:

Perez Hilton Jumps the Shark

By S.E. Cupp

When a popular television series runs out of compelling story lines, and resorts to the kinds of exhausted and utterly preposterous narrative tactics that suddenly find “The Brady Bunch” with a new cousin, or “Roseanne” with a new “Becky,” we say it “jumped the shark.

Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr., better known as Perez Hilton, has done just this. Thanks to a slew of miscalculations and some public betrayals, he may soon become another victim of his own success and subsequent unraveling. And if he never recovers, he can blame the cult of liberalism and its ironic perfidies on which he so heavily relied.

Lavandeira used to merely post gossip, the kind that was often unsubstantiated. But blogging about Britney Spears or Whitney Houston didn’t require veracity to get page hits. Readers just wanted content, and quick. He would post throughout the day on celebrity sightings, Hollywood rumors, industry news and hot hookups. Eventually PerezHilton.com became a receptacle of trashy innuendo, breathless speculation, and overtly dirty denigration, which was often accompanied by crude digital drawings of body parts and bodily functions.

This was all fine and good for the celeb-obsessed tabloid readers who constituted his audience. And even those celebrities who were the subject of his ridicule secretly seemed to love the attention he brought them.

But as he started to turn the site into a platform for his liberal pet causes – gay rights (he is openly gay), gun control, the environment – he began to collect enemies, and not just on the Right. By slamming celebrities that he perceived as affronts to his causes, he became an uneasy arbiter of the worst kind of liberalism: the empty and morally relative kind. It wasn’t just about who’s lunching at The Ivy anymore – now he was political.

The hypocrisies abounded. One day he was criticizing an actor for driving an environmentally-unfriendly car, and the next he was calling a 9-year-old child actress “ugly.” He applauded celebrities who don’t wear fur but unabashedly glorified their lavish spending sprees and irresponsible (and even criminal) behavior.

And of course, he protested intolerance, championed equality and spoke out against homophobia. But it wasn’t that simple. He earned criticism from GLAAD and other gay groups for trying to “out” various celebrities, which most gay rights factions deem to be inappropriate, mean-spirited and a total abuse of power. When he wasn’t attacking Mormons for voting Yes on Proposition 8, or Christians for rigging “American Idol,” he was calling Sarah Palin a pig, Carrie Prejean a “c-word” and the Black Eyed Peas front man a faggot.

The latter indiscretion may mark the exact moment at which Perez Hilton lost his credibility (if he truly had any), and his support.

In a rare display of introspection, Lavandeira posted not one but two public apologies for calling the entertainer a gay slur during an altercation they had outside a Toronto nightclub in June. After previously slamming actor Isaiah Washington for using the very same word – and sanctimoniously calling for a ban of the N-word – Lavandeira solemnly wrote, “Apologizing for me is not easy.” And he insisted, “I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a spokesperson for the gay community.” Well, not any more he wasn’t.

And he issued an uncomfortable mea culpa for appearing unsympathetic to celebrities, referencing another fight between two entertainers. “I did not condone the violence, but I did make light of that situation. I regret that.” But he doesn’t regret what he said about Prejean, Palin, Rumer Willis (whom he has constantly berated for her looks), or 15-year-old Miley Cyrus (whom he routinely calls a slut.)
His sudden contrition is telling. His persona was always the petulant enfant terrible whose conscience only applied to anonymous liberal pieties and not to people It seems he may be aware that his star is falling, because in a final gasp at the kind of shock value that used to win him readers, he called the death of Michael Jackson a publicity stunt.

Very few of successes go out on top. They desperately cling to the kinds of reassuring adages that make gamblers believe one more roll of the dice could turn their luck around. Mario Lavandeira assumed he could bring America to the far-left with him as he shifted interests from gossip to politics. Thanks to a few fatal missteps, he might not have a forum for either.


Amanda said...

The most pathetic story to be told in all of this is not the deplorable acts of a lost puppy (Perez)--but all the millions of people validating his harmful, hypocritical behavior.

Adderall Apocalypse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adderall Apocalypse said...

um... why did you write about this? Are there people who take this guy all that seriously? Is he just another liberal for you to attack?

On a side note, in my country I think that I believe that there are times when it's "ok" for U.S. Americans to use the c-word. I'm not saying whether or not the way Perez used it was ok, I'm just suggesting that it's possible that it might have been. [Was it ok for me to call you "the t-word" for implying that the Iraq war was preferable to the Dems' universal health care plan? haaa...]

OTOH, playing Devil's advocate, Ms. Prejean probably isn't a c-word... she's probably just very ignorant about a lot of things...

tbgdevil said...

Perez's actions are a huge threat to the left. Every time the man chimes in on politics he does irreparable damage to the credibility of the view he espouses. The amazing thing is that he seems incapable of perceiving the damage he does to his own movement by using his 'gossip' blog to make political statements. He needs to stick to what he does best - broadcasting 3rd grade playground slander to people who refuse to grow up.

Anonymous said...

It takes a lot to get me annoyed. I'm a 15 year super conservative, but Perez's actions just want to make me punch an inanimate object.

First, he calls Carrie Prejean a B for not supporting his views. There are so many vile things he has said on a daily basis, I'm too lazy to state them all. Thank you S.E for doing that for me.

Then, of course he got his nose bulldozed when he called Will Iam a faggot and later made a youtube video stating that he would never do such a thing to anyone.

The man is a wussy. This is coming from a 15 year old. Come on Perez AKA Mario whatever his last name is.

Come and join the fun at my website http://cibolahighpolitics.blogspot.com and of course Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Rhinostampede

Anonymous said...

Nice job on Hannity tonight SE. You looked really mature rolling your eyes every 30 seconds, yelling about beer above the other nuts on the panel with you, and sounding like a valley girl who didn't get her way.

I said to myself, "Who is this moron?" So I searched your name and I found this blog. I see by the number of comments made on your page that your writing is as irrelevant as the nonsense you spewed on TV. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

for the poster above: i see you had nothing of any real value to add other than the traditional ' i don't like your political views so i will just insult you' type of crap. when you said to yourself "who is this moron" you must have been looking in the mirror. keep looking buddy- in about 50 years you will figure out who you are.
ms. cupp is a beautiful and intelligent woman and i enjoy her insightful comments and of course just seeing her is also pretty awesome!
love you s.e. keep up the good work!!!