Press Whores Have Gotten Scarily Out of Control!

That's me I'm talking about. Please 'LIKE' me!

I shouldn’t really complain much about the press-whore phenomenon, because I’ve shamelessly enabled it for years as well as joined in on the hos’ frantic desperation whenever possible.

In fact, part of my job has always been as a sort of fame dealer to the wannabe stars, providing them with nickel bags of press mentions that make them high and woozy and begging for another score. Since the mid-’80s, people have lined up to plead with me for a mention, any mention, certain that the clipping will spin their little head around and somehow prove that they actually exist. My most poetic image from that me-me-me decade was a club goddess lying in a pool of her own vomit, having taken one too many real drugs, but bravely holding out a magazine and murmuring, “Look at my picture!”

And I didn’t feel above that at all, I have to admit. After all, I’ve long promoted my own ass by throwing parties, sticking my face in cameras, and showing up for every two-bit nipple-tweaking contest in the tristate area if it might get me mentioned in a bar magazine. And I’ve saved every single clip myself, as if the sum total provides some kind of staggering validation of my achievement, not just an aesthetic mess and a fire hazard.

But I am truly alarmed at how big this phenomenon has become! Back in the good old days, press whores weren’t quite as whorish, I swear! With more channels than ever—and networks dying to scoop up everyday folk and make them “stars” because they don’t charge much—plus all the social-networking media designed to make everyone on the planet feel important and popular, things have gotten more out of control than a real hooker at a Republican convention. And, yes, I know that was the case seven years ago, but by now it has blossomed into mass psychosis on a truly terrifying level.

Bring back the days of snail mail! Back in the ’90s, when you had to actually put postage on a press release, people were spare in their pronouncements, only filling you in on something newsworthy enough to warrant the money and effort. But now, every two seconds, they’re updating you about the last time they passed gas, then following up to see if you’ll cover it and will need photos!

They’re even begging you to press “Like” on their Facebook page, not realizing that this basically amounts to extorting fake affection from faux-friends. Isn’t getting someone you don’t know to pretend to “like” you a rather hollow victory? Isn’t it pathetic to beg your “friends” to vote for you on some Web countdown of the most popular local DJs, then send out blurbs crowing, “I came in at #39! Thanks to everyone who voted for me!”?

At least politicians say stuff like, “Vote for me. I’m the best candidate.” Today’s press whores just say, “Vote for me.” And the problem is, it doesn’t really get you anywhere. The “like” (or mention) gives you a momentary lift, but since there’s so much media now, basically nobody saw it and you have to walk around screeching, “Go to presswhorenicklebags.org and you’ll see the link to my mention! Isn’t it amazing?”

And even if you are famous, now what? At least if you became famous for being a singer, you can try to keep on singing, which is what creatively propels you, after all. Getting press for actually doing something is fine because you’re an artist who wants the publicity to stay relevant and who gets it because you’re good at what you do. But if you’re just famous for being famous, you have no direction and will frenetically try anything—writing, acting, taco franchises—while hoping something might stick and keep you somewhere near the middle. Alas, by the time your product comes out, there are 100 more people who are famous for being famous and you’ve become a mere footnote—a “Didn’t he used to be on the fourth season of what-was-that-called-again?”

Really sad stories come out of this psychological wreckage, like the gal who bragged about how she was going to be a major player in that reality show, only to find, when the series aired, that she was mere background in a couple of scenes! Even more poignant is the saga of Charlie Sheen—God, I hate to give him one more mention—who became so addicted to his press that he didn’t seem to realize he was pulverizing his career with every headline. By the time the high he got from the massive publicity around his self-destruction faded, Sheen was understandably begging people to write letters demanding he get his job back!

Yes, I know the fame mania is all a cover-up for the fact that none of us were loved enough as kids. Daddy never said, “I’m proud of you” and Mama never cooed, “You’re pretty,” so now we roll around in the mud with our pants down, begging for any stranger to notice. But it’s sick. It’s humiliating. And it’s got to stop.

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30 comments
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RobE
RobE

The ethos of Americans who have been around the last 60 or so years seems to have been, "I'm on television therefore I am." It's like Descartes defined downward. And while there is no such thing as reincarnation, there are reruns, which make lowbrow garbage such as Gilligan's Island seem venerable by mere dint of how long the program has lasted somewhere generating alpha waves to be consumed by one and all.

Tycobderoga
Tycobderoga

People Against the Ethical Treatment of Palin (PAETP) cannot see the forest for the channing. She is just a stalking horse for a REAL candidate who will save the country not that that unknown hobo under the bridge could not win AND do a better job...between drinking binges. I had hoped the guy would realize his inexperience and Eisenhower pick the brains of those who know about specialized areas...not just pilot for the rocks and lead a salvage socialist crew to pick up the shards of the ship of state.

Tycobderoga
Tycobderoga

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Face on the cutting room floor" comes to mind. You enjoy being in Albuquerque Knights, knocking down $20 a day as a bar fly at Joe Bill's with free brewskis and catering truck visitations...then the show bombs before you even get to see yourself sipping suds in it! Alas you recall...the show was...dull when nobody was bar fighting...who were those young guys starring anyway?

Tomatolady
Tomatolady

What girl thought she was going to be a star in a reality show and then ended up being a background character?

Ashok Roy
Ashok Roy

I think Michelle Shaniqua Obama fits this description. She loves the attention she receives with her 'your kid is fat' program.

RobE
RobE

Yeah, she's undermining the Bush Administration initiative to save social security by having people die earlier through obesity. Fewer people drawing on it the less that gets paid out.

Sri
Sri

...Or she's trying to bring attention to one of this country's biggest health issues...

Ron Bruguiere
Ron Bruguiere

All president's wives do those things, so you've named the wrong woman.

The one you're thinking of is Sarah Palin - she's a genuine press whore - ihmo.

Vatoslocos4ever
Vatoslocos4ever

I would like to know the reality show gal that was driftwood in the background you are referring to Mr. Musto.....please.... :-P

Nonplussed
Nonplussed

The heiresses act like whores and the whores act like heiresses.Celebrity is a great leveller.

Topoftheline210
Topoftheline210

What's your take on The Kardashians how long will we have to put up with them?

thatgirlinnewyork
thatgirlinnewyork

i had some press once, but i was told it was the wrong kind!

thatgirlinnewyork
thatgirlinnewyork

i want to bear and breastfeed your children, michael. no whoring involved with that!

Bridgemix
Bridgemix

There is a huge difference in such a short time, what ever happened to true style, something to aspire to and the general intelligence to know the difference? I feel alot of damage being done before the return to some sort of unspoken intelligence and respect in form and content.... Hey, Dr. Drew, how long can a society live without aspirational nutrition? If so self absorbed, who's gonna be interested since most people just think of themselves anyway. Without a reason to stretch outside our own concerns, there will be no society.. without something to look forward to, there is no acheivement/ just wayward or down... without structure, deconstructivism fails to be an artistic choice (meant to convey a pertinent POV), etc.Time to stop thinking, WTF... hope it's not too late to develope a reason for everyone to care...Not the end all be all.

Pietro
Pietro

There's one press whore in NYC who has just seen the whore rat come around & bite him right on the ass - Anthony Weiner. Going down & out. Bye bye now, press whore. McDonald's is hiring.

Ron Bruguiere
Ron Bruguiere

O Michael, I guess I'm one of those PEOPLE. Having e-mailed you about plugging my book, COLLISON: when reality and illusion collide, in your column.

You e-mailed me back saying, sure, send it. I did, but nada mention. And, to follow up, I even sent two photos to entice you.

Perhaps you hated my theater memoir and/or my pix, nevertheless, sales are doing well on Amazon and now it's mentioned in your comments section. I'll buy that recognition.

Thanks, Ron Bruguiere

RobE
RobE

One could call your post spam, Ron. But I'm much to charitable a man to do that.

Kiki Valentine
Kiki Valentine

tacos. so good. another breath of fresh air from MM!

Justin Luke
Justin Luke

I don't mind the votes. What I mind are when you have to sign up for some shit to vote. Or pass some shit on to ten people to vote. Or come back and vote every day. I'll take the millisecond to like your video re-interpretation of "Alejandro". That's totally fine. But if the website for which you are shilling is shameless in trying to capture you... well that's where this liker draws the line.

tony adams
tony adams

I've covered a slew of red carpets with camera in hand, and the funniest moment is when someone steps out in front of the logo wall and all of us on the other side of the rope lower our lenses and whisper to each other "Who's she?" The mortifying hush of the stellar stillborns. This covers about 90% of the step and repeat stars. However, taking photos of unfamous hot guys on the red carpet is an excellent intro to having sex with them for potentially mutual benefits.

Kendra
Kendra

I thought Lisa E. didn't do drugs?

alexgeana
alexgeana

The “like” (or mention) gives you a momentary lift, but since there’s so much media now, basically nobody saw it and you have to walk around screeching".

----

MM, hit it totally on the head. The problem is, with so much media. There never seems to be any good media anymore.

Finding
Finding

"At least if you became famous for being a singer, you can try to keep on singing, which is what creatively propels you, after all."

And that is why I hope Reichen NEVER stops warbling.

Partridge
Partridge

They might know ratings talk first but they also demand professionalism.

Mariongoldsmith
Mariongoldsmith

well ..at least you know you are as much a big egomaniac as the celeb you smugly criticize, mock or despise, are obsessed with..As for Sheen, this guy always had a controversial life, he is in this business since i don't know..always (well his teens) of course with this celeb obsessed media culture growing or maybe ats his hightest/"finest" he became the "obsession number Uno" in record time but he will be alright careerwise he has a strong fanbase who will looking forward his futur professional projects (and at the end of the day hypocritical Producers know audience, ratings talk first..).

Sunny
Sunny

Charlie..... is that you? Face it, your career is OVER and not a moment too soon!

Dorkno
Dorkno

Agreed! The fame mania has gotten out of control thanks to the media which encourages it. People should emulate stars like Meryl Streep, who didn't say "I want to be famous" but said "I want to be a great actress."

Miguelito
Miguelito

Your wit is so on target it's scary sometimes.

 
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