Celebrity sites: is all publicity good publicity?

Erika Escueta

Britney not only loses custody of her kids, but she also eats over 5,000 calories a day. Oh, and did you hear? Lindsay Leave-Her-Alohan manages to break up two couples during her stay in Utah.

Should we even care? Is paying attention to the latest scandal of the 20-something-year-old train wreck really life changing, news breaking or, at least, engrossing? With over 200 million visitors a month to Hollywood gossip blog perezhilton.com, I sometimes worry about our culture’s mass acceptance into social vapidity. Gossip blogs on their cutesy exterior act as the perfect guilty pleasure. You won’t find readers admitting to a professor that it’s bookmarked on their computer, and reading (or simply looking at the photos for the even lazier) brings about a self-esteem booster – “I can’t believe so and so did that. Celebrities are ridiculous and eccentric. I, the reader, am normal and sane.” But despite rewarding themselves for not getting multiple DUIs, gossip blogs’ avid readers are fascinated by the rich and famous because, for the most part, they can’t be rich and famous. Readers want the clothing and crazy parties at Chateau Marmont, but mostly, they crave the never-ending attention. Blogs fulfill our celebrity-worshipping sweet tooth. If we can’t get rid of them, we should at least rate them, so you, the reader, know what you’re getting into.

TMZ – Unlike other gossip blogs, this one is backed by corporate juggernaut Time Warner. TMZ controls a lot of paparazzi and manages to find a lot of sources first, such as the O.J. Simpson’s exclusive manuscript “If I Did It” and Brit and K-Fed’s divorce papers. While they get a lot of information, the writing is pretty black and white, not so gossipy. Not so fun. C+

Perez Hilton – The so-called Queen of Hollywood has attracted a lot of attention. Celebs from Posh Spice to Zac Efron from “High School Musical” love to hate him but manage to take photos with him. His “journalistic styles” consist of painting “YUMMY!!” on celebrity photos and an abundance of exclamation points and “omygawds.”

If he isn’t invited to an event, he won’t cover it on his site – a bit too biased? Definitely. C-

Oh No They Didn’t! – Prides themselves as “celebrity gossip with commentary.” I need help finding the commentary.

The commentary doesn’t come from the blog writer but from the readers who find the need to express their dislike for Paris Hilton.

But this site does post pictures before Perez Hilton gets his hands on them. C

IDontLikeYouInThatWay – Unlike the others, this one doesn’t have the shocked tone towards the lives of celebrities. The writer’s attitude towards Hollywood’s best reveals a tone of tawdry sarcasm. While it does not update as often, it provides a better laugh. B-

Gawker – Shifting coasts, Gawker is “Manhattan Media News and Gossip.” Gossipy Oh No They Didn’t! must have hid its commentary on this site because Gawker provides stories with their pictures. It also keeps readers up to date on CW’s “Gossip Girl” while also poking fun at Wall Street scandals and political campaign ads. B