Just noted that I forgot to change the date header yesterday. There was a Thursday Bleat, if you missed it. Sorry.

Not much time for anything tonight. My wife’s at Bunco, or Banco, or Binaca, or whatever that thing is. This means – all together now – Chuck E. Cheese’s with Gnat. Interesting crowd tonight. Note to some parents: when you dress your small child in a shirt that says “Las Vegas County Jail,” nothing that happens to them later in life should come as a surprise. There were many small kids running around unattended – no shock – but I later traced many back to one table. The kids were unattended simply because the parents were too large to move. I’m not kidding: three women with the sort of girth you normally see accompanied by the word MAYFLOWER, unable to get up and reel in their kids. So what did they do? Why, shout orders across the room, of course.

But Gnat had fun. On the way home, eating her frozen treat, she said “this is just the best day ever,” and that was enough. I turned off talk radio and popped in the iPod; dialed up “Flamboyant” remix by the Scissor Sisters. I mention this only to indicate I still have one toe clinging to current pop culture. Although I’m going to let my Entertainment Weekly subscription lapse for a while. I either know it already, or I don’t care. The best part of the magazine was the TV listings, and I think they were written by Dalton Ross; the magazine has such an institutional voice it’s sometimes hard to pick out bylines. I think Ross did the listings. Short, concise, self-deprecating, despairing. Perfect. For some reason they moved him to the “Hot List,” a top ten list that had for years been slightly less humorous than the Mark Russell one-liners some papers carried back in the 90s. Bad move. The “Hot List” is like a haunted house that makes all its occupants go mad. Get rid of it, before it consumes the promise of some bright young intern. Plus, EW dumped its internet coverage. They were all over the net when it was overhyped and underused, when we were all sitting through big fat downloads on our dialups; now that broadband has outpaced 56kps demographic, they back away from the Internet.

Maybe it’s just me. Most pop culture just seems useless, in general. And by “pop culture” I mean the stuff some people think we care about – Paris Hilton’s dog, reality shows designed to humiliate Amish youth, etc. This sums it up:

Britney a stepmom? Let me answer that question for you: no. “How Hollywood’s blended families work” is not an issue that keeps me up at night; I expect that they stumble along thanks to money and docile Salvadoran nannies who do all the heavy lifting, and sometimes find themselves crying because they know they will be out of the child’s life eventually, and if they tried to show up for the wedding 18 years from now they’d be turned away by big men in black suits. Plus, look at that guy. These are our celebs. Not exactly a Hurrell portrait of Cary Grant, eh? He knocked up one women, produced the little girl you see here, and now he’s sauntering off to bed another doxy. Men like this make me ill.

My ideal headline for this cover would be SHAME ON YOU. Kevin a father? In name only. Britney meets her future, as she ignores the past of the no-class lout she’s about to embrace. PLUS How Hollywood screws up its children in the endless pursuit of solipsistic delights.

I really do prefer the bad old days, when celebrities had to lie. Because it least it meant that there was some standard to which they were obliged to pay lip service.

No magazine really reflects the world as I see it. They either magnify an interesting portion beyond its importance, or float off into irrelevance. Which is why I prefer the internet. Every day, a thousand pages. We make it. It’s our magazine. It’s the true pop culture, and the only question is how long it will take before the democratization of information makes the old celebrity paradigm irrelevant.

In the future, everyone will be hyperlinked for fifteen minutes. And that’s a good thing.


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c. 1995-2004 j. lileks