Celebs should find better ways to use their blogs

Filed as News on April 20, 2003 12:45 am

by Duncan

from Chicago Sun-Times>If you’ve got something to say, my guess is that you’re already saying it. Never before have there been so many ways to express yourself: through art, or on talk radio, or in a newsletter, or by taking part in protests, or by organizing a phone tree.

And then there is the blog.

Don’t be alarmed if you’re not familiar with the word “blog.” I looked it up in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, and it wasn’t there (even though it’s an online dictionary ). It just means “personal Web log,” one of those Web pages where someone with a lot of time on his or her (probably his) hands posts a collection of Web links, writings and opinions.

It’s the equivalent of starting your own club, or publishing your diaries without a book deal. Anyone can do it–the major Internet service providers can walk you through the process.

Of course, there is still the problem of getting anyone to read your blog. It can be lonely in cyberspace, waiting for someone to drop by your Web page. One recent success story was Texas-based Sean-Paul Kelley, who did the impossible: He attracted at least 118,000 visits a day. Somehow, he was posting insightful, up-to-the-minute items on the war in Iraq (he vaguely mentioned a friend in Turkey). But it turns out that he was plagiarizing a news service. “You got me,” he admitted.

A young man named Matt Drudge has also had some luck with his little blog. But what about the rest of the bloggers, who perhaps don’t have anything original to say, but still feel a burning desire to say it?

As with everything else, it helps if you’re a celebrity.

Remember when stars used to spend their time autographing glossy photos, and trotting out their sham families for publicity purposes? Oh, you beautiful fools. Those precious days are over. Even now, as you read this, Barbra Streisand is furiously typing another screed against the president–and then deleting what she typed, and trying again, because her extra-long fingernails hit the numbers keys more often than not.

Or maybe today Barbra is feeling poignant. On a recent visit to www.BarbraStreisand.com, I found that she had included alternative lyrics to “The Way We Were”: “Scattered pictures/Of the House we left behind/ Lovely Democratic mem’ries/Of the way we were.”

Not all celebrity blogs are politically minded. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit has used his blog to gush about Britney Spears, to disparage Britney Spears, to deny rumors of a hookup with Ginger Spice, and to express his lust for Angelina Jolie. I will say that it’s a step up from writing on urinals with a Magic Marker.

Mariah Carey famously announced the almost complete liquefaction of her brain in her blog. Also on her Web site (mon-arc.com/mariahcarey/index.las) is a helpful glossary for foreign fans. (“YOU LOVE ME: all-purpose, anytime phrase. A greeting, a goodbye or just something to throw into a pause in the conversation or to interject loudly while someone is speaking.”)

And this just in, from the blog of techno-musician Moby: “playing Scrabble last night and i got 62 points with one letter. Oh, yes, it’s true. ‘q’ on a triple letter score, spelling ‘qi’ twice (an ‘i’ below and an ‘i’ to the right).” He also earned 77 points for “necktie/no/ewe” on another turn.

The only blog I can honestly recommend–and it’s not for everyone–is www.RuPaul.com. The drag legend is laugh-out-loud funny, and to my delight has posted an analysis of Diana Ross’ solo career. Here’s an account of a trip to a male strip club: “the show was amazing, due mainly to one dancer, who did an erotic striptease tribute to the lives lost on 9/11. The dancer entered the stage to the sounds of audiotaped news accounts of the tragedy. He then held up cardboard signs that read ‘9/11/01–never forget!’ and ‘why? What for? Religion?’ Tom and I were in David Lynch heaven.”

What other celebrities are blogging? Gene Simmons, William Shatner, Jeff Bridges, Michael Moore and even adult film star Asia Carrera. (She shares that she’s been learning to play snooker in England.)

Last week, Forbes.com went to the trouble of rating the top celebrity blogs. The winner? “Stand by Me” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” alum Wil Wheaton. He writes every day at WilWheaton.net, and is impressively coherent, taking more than a few self-deprecating shots at himself.

Of course, it’s interesting to note that the best-rated celebrity blogger isn’t that much of a celebrity. But he gets extra points in my book for his online gift shop, where you can buy a “Wil Wheaton Dot Net” thong. Remember: There are all kinds of ways to express yourself.

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