Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rumor Has It

New York has Gawker, Washington has Wonkette, and Los Angeles has Defamer -- profane, gossipy, bitchy, and devastatingly funny bloggers who chronicle the many foibles of their towns' respective rich, famous, and beautiful people. (Back when he was posting regularly, Boats Against the Current trained his typically sharp eye on their sites here and here.)

Philadelphia is a world-class city in many, many ways, but when it comes to skewering our celebs, we may as well be Gary, Indiana.

Smothered by the draconian standards of print editors and hamstrung by our relative paucity of stars, the Inquirer's Michael Klein and the Daily News's Dan Gross are but pale imitators, content to politely discuss the tipping habits of local television anchors and radio DJs. The Inky's new gossip blog, Spilled Inq, is even worse, with staffer Kristin Holmes doing little more than rewriting wire-service copy and the rumors dug up by other papers. Juicy, huh?

Meanwhile, Gawker, Wonkette, and Defamer gleefully and recklessly destroy their usually deserving targets with lacerating, borderline-libelous posts that are as hilarious as they are observant. Witness Defamer's conclusion to a post about Mary-Kate Olsen's checking into rehab to take care of a who-could-have-seen-that-coming eating disorder:

Saddest of all in this troubling Olsen chapter is that from now on, Ashley will henceforth be known as the Fat Twin. Thanks a lot, Mary-Kate.

That's high, high comedy, friends. That's Tina Fey-funny.

On special occasions, they get to approach the same story from different angles, such as Defamer's and Wonkette's respective snarkfests over the nasty divorce between wannabe senator Jack Ryan and smoking-hot actress Jeri Ryan. Compare that to the local breathless coverage a few years ago of the overrated Monica Malpass's split, and Philly comes off looking, once again, painfully parochial.

Of the three, my personal favorite is Wonkette, and not just because she's a not unattractive strawberry blonde with an impressive rack. (Though, um, that certainly doesn't hurt her cause.) There's something perversely satisfying about seeing politicians and journalists, so quick to puff up with indignation over the sins of their fellow citizens, punctured with the darts of their own hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, back here in the City of Brotherly Love, we're stuck with scintillating items on the round of golf Will Smith played when he was back home for his sister's wedding, and the identity theft suffered by a former city councilman. Wake me when they write about Cecily Tynan.


At June 23, 2004 at 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? You're not going to give props to the person (not me, BTW) who alerted you to the Olsen twins post? You may lose an already tenuous reader for that, my dear.--Mrs. SC

At June 23, 2004 at 9:26 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Correctamundo. Tip of the hat -- and apologies -- to the missus's sis, for passing along the Ashley zinger from Defamer. Keep reading, E!

At June 23, 2004 at 10:49 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

Go back to sleep, Tommy Boy. Cecily has hit the wall. It's over for Cecily. Gimme Alycia Lane of KYW-TV 3, and I'll give you a pack of drooling males!

At June 24, 2004 at 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout-out, but it really wasn't necessary. As long as you break up your baseball posts with occasional pop culture references (Real World, gossip, etc.), you'll stay in my daily rotation!
-Mrs. SC's Sis

At June 24, 2004 at 9:40 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Alycia is alllllllright. And thanks, Mrs. SC's sis, for sticking around -- I promise to live up to this blog's mission statement! --T

At June 24, 2004 at 9:42 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I think maybe you need to give Philadelphia a break here. Yes, it's a great city, but most days it lacks the celebrity infrastructure necessary to sustain a top-level gossip column or blog. Nothing to be ashamed of. I don't know that Chicago or Boston could pull it off either. Hell, even DC lacks a celebrity infrastructure -- Wonkette always introduces politican or journalist sightings with the funny and true qualifier "famous for DC."

At June 24, 2004 at 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But doesn't Mrs. SC's sis know what subject has priority in the blog? The rest is only window dressing! DSJC

At June 24, 2004 at 12:32 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Great point, Chris, about Philadelphia's "celebrity infrastructure," and one I referenced when I mentioned "our relative paucity of stars." Or something.

"Window dressing," Deputy South Jersey Correspondent? Hardly -- we're an equal-opportunity blog here at Shallow Center. Shallow pop culture items count just as little as shallow baseball items.


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