"Jezebel, for instance, can count on internet-reared 20-somethings hanging on its every rant." Really? Our every rant? Thanks, AdAge! Too bad it's in the context of being compared to former NY Post gossipeuse Liz Smith.
The gist of the AdAge piece is this: why? Why do "celebrity blogs" - they cite the dowdy wowOwow and, naturally, Gwynnie's GOOP-y baby - feel compelled to share with a public who obviously was not clamoring for their advice? We've mulled the rationale behind Gwyneth's public responsibility to help us nourish the inner aspect, and the piece points out that it's particularly odd given that, whatever you think of the Palt, no one really associates her with terms like "'good-taste icon' or 'hip, uber-cultured girlfriend about town.'" While less solipsistic, wowOwow's motivation is equally mysterious:
Was anybody clamoring for Candice Bergen's thoughts on loaning money to friends, or Joan Ganz Cooney's opinion about the current direction of the Catholic Church? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no.
So if we're not demanding the advice, why are these people offering it? The fault must lie with the internet, a medium that has unprecedented power to inflate the already healthy ego and wound the meek. For a narcissistic celebrity with delusions of down-to-earthness, the combo of immediacy and remove is particularly deadly: it must seem like now, at last, we have the direct gateway to Gwyneth Paltrow's thoughts and feelings that we always craved, that because we can see what she's thinking and doing now, we always have - or at least, always wanted to.
We all fall prey to this, to a degree - after all, is GOOP or wowOwow really all that different from an unsolicited Facebook tell-all like "25 Things?" In a sense, wouldn't it be disingenuous for those people who make a living off a writ-large narcissism to abstain from the larger cultural narcissism that we all revel in daily? There's been a lot of talk about the self-absorption the internet fosters, from the hundreds of pictures teens have on their social networking profiles to the Twitter updates that chronicle our minute-by-minute lives. And yet, we object when celebrities go public with their equally unsolicited and self-obsessed advice. This seems slightly contrary: we're okay with their making their living out of exhibitionism, but they're not allowed to participate in the sort that the rest of enjoy day-to-day? Or is that what we want: now that we're all celebrities in our own Facebook minds, do we still demand the remove of distance, a pretense of difference and specialness from real celebrities? They already have so much big-scale adulation; why do they also need to take the one thing - the internet‚ which has given so many of us, otherwise voiceless or faceless, a platform and even an identity? I mean, people already hang on their every word; can't we even keep our rants?