Excerpts from Reasoning With Vampires
“So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.” – Guy Laramee
Just in case you don’t recognise that name, here’s another quote from The Guardian’s review of Perez Hilton: Superfan by Lucy Mangan – “Someone who has parlayed a site-full of penis-doodles over celebrity photos into a parasitical career hogging other people’s cameras and periodically outing celebrities he feels are letting down the gay cause with their insistence on a private life“.
Harsh, but fair.
Since starting a blog in 2004 because “it seemed easy“, Perez Hilton spent years building up a career (and a very healthy bank balance) by taking cheap shots at celebrities and their often underage children. On the subject of outing gay celebrities without their consent, he said, “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If you know something to be a fact, why not report it? Why is that still taboo?”
Thankfully, there were many negative responses from journalists and professionals worried that Hilton’s behaviour would be taken as indicative of the attitude of the gay community.
“If his juvenile behavior is his shtick, I think it makes him a much more pathetic figure, and one the gay and lesbian community should not support…If we support behavior like Hilton’s, we applaud shallowness, arrogance, rage and invasion of privacy and risk becoming what we despise.” – Kim Ficera, contributing writer for AfterEllen.com
In October 2010 the self proclaimed ‘Queen Of All Media’ was interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres. He credited negative press which called out his past website posts as bullying for making him realise his mistakes. Criticism of his work came to a head after a number of teen suicides connected with gay-related bullying hit the headlines and he was condemned for popularising public humiliation of celebrities for their sexual orientation.
“From now on I really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
This apparent turn around has split both critics and fans in their opinion of the new and improved Perez Hilton. On the positive side, Hilton has seemingly been adopted by several mainstream celebrities as he distances himself from the humble, bitchy origins of his blog, tries his hand at a TV show and continues to fight for LGBT rights. On the negative side, many claim that he saw a chance to profit from the tragedy of the teen suicides last year to build his own name, garner attention for a website which does nothing more than regurgitate old news and find new or at least potentially objective attention while he desperately clings to the coat-tails of his famous “friends” to bring himself up in the world.
A video published on Hilton’s Youtube channel on 13th October 2010, the same day as the interview with Ellen, is his personal explanation of this change of heart. However, it comes across to many (including me, I’ll be honest) as remarkably self centred. He talks about the widespread teen suicides in relation to how it made him feel and lists the new websites he’s set up as though he’s about to launch into an advert. Toward the end of the video he asks that other “people like me, (who) may have been bullied in the past and may have subconsciously bullied others as a result of that” change their ways. It’s his almost surprised expression at this moment that bothers me most, as though his abused subconscious has been at work all these years without his knowledge or consent and it’s only now he’s realising that calling a 15 year old girl a “disney whore” on his website is potentially damaging.
The comments under the video offer a brutally honest look into the public reception:
Dotted through the mostly negative comments, Hilton does appear to have some fans still on his side and routing for his moral transformation:
One comment wasn’t initially shown on the site due to too many negative votes by viewers:
There are a lot more stories on the internet about Hilton (I really do mean a lot, this post doesn’t even mention his recent foray into children’s literature, his original website branching out into fitness, fashion & coverage of celebrity children, getting punched by a Black Eyed Peas security guard for using a gay slur at will.i.am “to get a reaction”, the disparities in spotlighting the flaws of those he hates and ignoring the errors of those he likes, and the many, many times he’s been sued).
I’ll leave it to your discretion to decide how deep you want to dig and how much you want to believe. Much like Hilton’s earlier journalistic endeavors (and, some would argue, his recent work too) a lot of what has been published uses only a small grain of truth as a starting point. However, it’s been over a year since Hilton’s about turn and his website still uses his ‘5 year old scribbling on the family album’ approach as a distinct calling card in what has now become the big money business of passing opinions on celebrities.
For me, Helen A S Popkin sums it up pretty succinctly in her article OMG Perez Hilton! Won’t You Please Shut Up? for msnbc.com:
“You wouldn’t invite LOL Cats to speak on animal cruelty. So please, stop presenting Perez Hilton as an accredited, universally accepted spokesperson of a generation, rather than the Internet meme that refuses to die.”
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you start on the 1st of November, aim for quantity over quality, and by midnight on the 30th of November you have a novel of about 50,000 words (about 175 pages).
It doesn’t matter if half of it doesn’t make sense, you’ve got as long as you want for edits and rewrites so the important thing is that you finish it. It’s a perfect project for anyone who’s ever thought “I could write a book, it can’t be that difficult!” or “Look at Twilight, if that can hit the best seller list anyone can do it!”
From NaNoWriMo.org :
In 2010, we had over 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
Sure I’m running a choir, organising a concert, starting an agency, planning several photo shoots and I’ve only been in my new job a week, but who can resist a sell like that?!
From Social Minefield: A Guide To Flirting at Jezebel.com. Fran Greene, author of The Flirting Bible, gives advice:
Make sure the compliment is not too out there. “Hey, I like that plaid shirt” is okay. “Hey, you have really nice armpits” (this has actually happened to me) is not.
Excerpts from “The Book of Etiquette” by Lady Troubridge.
(The version of this book sitting on my bookcase was published in 1958, looks like it’s been very well used and has the name of a convent school stamped inside the front cover.)
Children & Development
It is not enough to give children the material things in life…It is a part of the heavy responsibility of parents to lead the children in their charge into the paths of right thinking and right living, and the task should be a joyous one for every child born into the world has infinite possibilities and at its very worst the task is illuminated by a ray of hope. Even the ugly duckling became a swan.
Teaching by Example
The strongest force that effects the moulding of children’s character and deportment is the character and deportment of their parents. Young people cannot find the beautiful gift of good manners in some unknown place; whatever they do and say is an immitation of whatever they have heard their elders do and say. The whole life of a man or woman is coloured by the environment and atmosphere of his or her early childhood.
To be weak and sentimental in your treatment of a child is unforgivable, but to show sympathy with and comprehension of his difficulties is your duty. Parents of “difficult” children should remember that all children of fine mental calibre and vivid imagination are “difficult”, but in the end may become finer men and women than those who are of a more stolid and straight-forward character.
The Development of Personality
Games, books, music, toys and friends all have their due effect on the moulding of the child’s character. Surround the child with beauty, good thought and joyousness, and throughout the years he lives in your care help him to develop all that is best in himself…Let him as far as possible use his own brains and follow the dictates of his own heart, for only by doing so can be rightly develop his personality.