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.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Iraq War Reckless? Not Next to Obamacare

I have a new piece up on Newsmax today:

"Obama's Rush of Healthcare Plan Reckless"

"Unlike our men and women in uniform, who are volunteers, we have all been effectively drafted in the war that is universal healthcare. And make no mistake — this will cost lives. With all that’s at stake, it would seem reasonable to approach such a major overhaul of what many consider the best healthcare system in the world, with a modicum of patience, with responsibility, and with the kind of equanimity that can reassure an anxious public in times of upheaval. Strange though it may seem, a careful look back at the Iraq war might prove beneficial to Obama as he eyes an arbitrary finish line in his reckless race toward universal healthcare."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Couch with Governor Sanford

I have a new piece in Politico this morning:

"An Apology and a Pledge? No thanks."

"Instead of retreating from public life to work on his marriage privately, Gov. Sanford writes of the personal victories he’s had through the process. 'I’ve been humbled and broken as never before in my life, and as a consequence, have given up areas of control in a way that I never have before. And it is my belief that this will make me a better father, husband, friend and advocate.' Well, that’s super, Gov. Sanford. But shouldn’t that sentence start, 'Dear Diary'?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama's Sketchy Health Care Numbers

I have a new piece up in the Fox Forum:

"Don't Be Fooled By Obama's Health Care Numbers"

"When the numbers are crunched, it turns out that only 11 million legal American citizens who would like health insurance don't have it, not the 45 million often quoted. That's less than 4% of the country. Now, it's important that we get health care to those 4%, of course. But is it really necessary to rip apart the health care system we currently have to do it?"


Monday, July 13, 2009

Biden as Kramer in a Show About Nothing

I have a new piece up today in Newsmax:

"The Obama Administration is a 'Seinfeld' Episode"

"Kramer, like Biden, says the things you're just not supposed to say. When Biden told a wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator to 'stand up,' it was no different than Kramer telling George's girlfriend she needs a nose job. When Biden said that FDR went on television in 1929 to talk about the stock market crash, it was the same as Kramer telling some tourists that Central Park was designed in 1850 by Joe Pepitone. When Biden said 'J-O-B-S' is a three-letter word, it was like Kramer saying, 'It's like a sauna in here.' As he's entering a sauna."


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Real Problem With Palin's Press Conference

I have a new piece up on Fox Forum:

"The Real Problem With Palin's Press Conference"

"On HuffPo, that Foucaultian vessel of scholarly badinage, Francesca Biller-Safran has decided Palin is resigning to marry a moose. (Yes, really. 'You’re invited to the wedding.') On CNN, Jack Cafferty found a pointed way to combat the so-called 'lame duck' excuse. 'She was already lame,' he cackled, like an ornery old man who suspects his nurses are secretly trying to poison him."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blaming the Burqa, And...

I have a new piece up in Townhall today:

"Blaming the Burqa"

"Sarkozy’s maudlin plea for 'women’s dignity' is transparent, and obscures the real agenda: promoting a Western, secular, (and, in particular, French) sensibility. It has little to do with women’s rights, and even less to do with religious freedom. And in case there was any doubt, it has absolutely nothing to do with national security."

And, in honor of the 4th of July, I'd like to direct your attention to a truly blood-curdling NYTimes op-ed, which declares that American flags are, like, totally "in" again...now that Obama's in office. Patriotism, for the left, is apparently partisan:

Happy 4th of July, everyone...let's think about our troops this weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reader Help

What is it About Palin?

I'm writing a new column, and want your help. I want to know what it is about Sarah Palin that you think her supporters find appealing. (Feel free to weigh in if you are not a supporter yourself, but if your response is nasty it will be totally disregarded.) Here are your choices:

1. She's authentic, believable, and sincere. She is who she purports to be.

2. She's a woman, and we need more of those in politics.

3. She's a pro-life, pro-marriage Christian.

4. She's a good conservative -- she cuts taxes, favors limited government and advocates fiscal responsibility.

5. She's new, young, and a breath of fresh air. Out with the old guard, in with the new.

6. Other: __________________________________________

I won't be using any of your names, but I do want to know how old you are. So please respond with your choice and your age in the comment section. Thank you!