Can there be anything more cringe-inducing than a CBS Hallmark Special starring Rosie O'Donnell as a developmentally challenged 43-year-old whose faith in people touches the lives of those around her? Trust me. There can: Try wading through the 1,000-plus fan notes posted to O'Donnell's very own "r blog" while the special aired. The vast majority of posters found Stanislavskian genius ("I smell an emmy!") in a performance best described as Hoffman's Rain Man meets Sesame Street's Grover. For that matter, see O'Donnell's own response to the premiere screening, blogged days earlier in her signature online voice, an unmistakable blend of self-display, self-deprecation, and freshman-year poetics: "i couldn't stay for the after party/cause i felt like i might throw up/it's embarrassing to cry/at your own movie//i'll take narcissism for 500 alex."
But after you're done wincing, stick around and see if that voice doesn't grow on you like a melanoma. Say what you like about Rosie the actor, Rosie the blogger is no wannabe. Her Flickr feed serves phone-cam candids of the wife, kids, and fellow celebs, and her post-per-day average puts veteran bloggers to shame. More to the point, there aren't many people better positioned for so strangely fascinating an engagement with the Web's redefinition of celebrity. At its bestrecounting in intimate detail a semi-incognito breakfast at the local Waffle House, or mulling the rich, lived banality of celebrity lesbianismr blog asks the Big Question of blog-age media culture: What does it even mean to be a star now that anyone can have her 15 megabytes of fame? "i saw nadia/from idol/at the airport/gave her a big ol hug/like we were friends," writes O'Donnell. "tv does that," she adds. And maybe soon she can tell us what blogging does.
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