Perez Hilton got a fawning LA Times profile today. Instead of taking the opportunity to win fans back after recent publicity snafus, he used it as a platform to define his brand going forward: that of a professionally insufferable dick.
You know what you're in for when "Perez Hilton is not sorry" opens up Robin Abcarian's piece on the creature formerly known as Mario Lavandeira, who's now a "tastemaker," according to the title of the piece. Other things you, the reader, are made aware of Hilton's complete lack of repentance for: posting the Dustin Lance Black pictures as a self-proclaimed gay icon, the early speculation on Michael Jackson faking his death, his altercation with Will.I.Am (though he notes he's still only not "entirely" unapologetic for using the word "faggot" in Hilton's fight with the Black Eyed Peas frontman).
"I've built my brand on being a bitch," said the gay celebrity blogger. "So what?"
Truth. His most recent offenses include shuffling over dead boxer Arturo Gatti's grave, and making a mockery of race relations in his Advocate profile when he applauded himself for using a gay slur as opposed to a racist one.
The LAT's reporting still doesn't get to the root of who his third writer is (besides his sister) other than "a recent college graduate..he declined to name."
"Why do you want to know that?" he said "It's all about me!"
And the Hilton show it most definitely is. The good question is what Abcarian actually got, which amounts to pretty much nothing. And there's almost a pattern of kindness on the part of the L.A. Times to Hilton; their coverage of him doesn't extend past a Q & A that also lets Hilton flaunt his brand. The most significant thing the Times managed was Hilton's obvious insecurity and distaste for a gay community that couldn't care less about counting him amongst their numbers, while riffing on his Advocate cover story:
He was furious about the Advocate piece, in which the writer was dismissive of his intellect. ("He's not a deep or nuanced thinker and seems generally unwilling . . . to look critically at himself. . . . He doesn't strike me as all that intellectually honest," wrote Benoit Denizet-Lewis.) "He basically called me stupid," said Hilton. "I am not stupid. I don't think I have to prove that to anyone."
Or maybe it's just an insecurity about aptitude. There's no doubt that Hilton might be, if not deep or nuanced, at least an intuitive thinker into what some people want to read. But as he prepares to launch his "nicer" site, it'll be interesting to see what kind of person develops based on the success or failure of the new venture.
An out-and-out failure might be an affirmation that his only asset is his willingness to forgo considerations of any stripe of moral fortitude, while a success might prove to Hilton that bigots can file down the lowest common denominator on their way to possibly less lowbrow ventures. Whatever the case is, it's almost relieving to see Hilton's one-dimensional nature move forward, because it makes him easier to understand. There's a great line from psychiatrist Aaron Lazare's 2004 book On Apology, in which Lazare writes: "(The apology process)...illustrates how the phenomenon of apology can be a window into the human emotions and behaviors that maintain and restore human dignity," something Hilton doesn't seem to long for. Maybe there's just nothing else there. Sometimes, an asshole's just an asshole. It's easier to leave it at that.