John Mayer should quit while he’s still pretty much ahead. He’s not the first famous person who thinks he can level up with the gossip mongers. And no matter how calculated he believes his strategy, in his blog or mugging for the Celebrity Industrial Complex, he’s definitely not going to be the first famous person to win.
Mayer’s cat-and-mouse flirtations with the paparazzo seemed to reach critical mass earlier this month in a rambling interview on New York City’s Z100 radio station. “TMZ is made out of the same garbage I am,” Mayer proclaimed, referring to the pranks he likes to pull on the celeb reporters who shadow the singer/songwriter’s every move.
“It’s like, you can’t kill what you’re made of. You can’t get trashier than me. So I just out-TMZ TMZ every day. After a while (TMZ) couldn’t get around it, and they were just, like, ‘Truce, let’s be friends.’”
Back in Polk County, Fla., we call that “writing a check with your mouth that your ass can’t cash.”
Lest Mayer believe he’d won anyone over, TMZ.com responded to the “garbage” comparison thusly on its blog: “Game on.” Still, TMZ has yet to get nasty — still posting the same gushy Mayer posts that telegraph a 13-year-old girl’s crush. But you know how creepy 13-year-old girls can get, especially when the object of their crush shows any interest at all.
Blame the Internet for how annoying this “adult contemporary staple” has allowed himself to become. Via official Web sites and personally updated blogs, celebrities now have instantaneous means to share their thoughts in this brave, new 24/7 news cycle. Unfortunately for some, this comes with the illusion that they can control how the 24/7 news cycle projects their images.
Kanye attempts to control his image
Take, for example, “CAPS LOCK” Kanye West. No longer content to contain his temper tantrums to the backstage of meaningless awards shows, West is quick to hit the keyboard whenever journalistic injustice bears its biased head.
When Rollingstone.com suggested that West get some help with his hostility, he responded with a blog post headlined, “NO ANGER MANAGEMENT... IF ANYTHING I NEED ANGER ENHANCEMENT! LOL!!!”
So invested is West in his blog, that he went on to inform his fans, “I told the media you can’t make up lies about me because I have a media outlet myself. Oh and sidebar I don’t know if everyone has realized this yet but I don’t do interviews if there’s anything I wanna say I’ll say right here on my own blog.”
Rosie O’Donnell’s another one infamous for sharing her media views via her “r blog.” Over the years, it’s evolved from a bizarre bastardized haiku format to stream-of-semi-consciousness video blogs (or “vlogs” as the kids call them). O’Donnell also takes it one step further, answering fan questions on celebrity events in the “ask ro” section of her Web site. For example, when a fan asked her opinion on the Star Jones divorce, O’Donnell responded in her singular stanza format, “we all fool rselves/sometimes.”
Meanwhile, the media may not be nearly as interested in Roseanne as it once was, but the former sitcom superstar doesn’t let that stop her for sharing her opinions, from politics (“I have decided that having a woman president before any man of any color is what these times call for.”) to parenting (posting in an open letter to Britney Spears, “You are a bad mother, and so is your mother! Get your sh-- together and take care of your kids!!”)
Then, of course, one of the first active celebrity Internet users continues to post erratic missives straight from the train wreck that is her life. For anyone put off by bizarre late night postings on her MySpace blog, Courtney Love recently banged out this apology:
“Just want to hank allyou supportive lovely people and thank you for putting up with my kookoo bananas alter ego should; we give her a name?” Courtney asked her readers. “shoudl we give my alter ego a name? hmnmmmm Cherry! ‘Cherry kookoo.’”
Mayer can’t beat the media at its own game
Now, back to the media monster that is John Mayer. While he’s pretty much always come off like every self-absorbed 20-something boy who thinks he’s smarter than you that you’ve ever met, there used to be something sweet about his own now-notorious blog. Once upon a time he was the nice ex-boyfriend who wrote a misguided but probably well-meaning post defending ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson against those Texans who blamed her for her current quarterback boyfriend’s losing games.
It all turned south soon after he yanked the entire post, replacing it with this obnoxiously self-aware missive: “There is a danger in theoretical speculation of battle, in prejudice, in false reasoning, in pride, in braggadocio. There is one safe resource, the return to nature …”
If this is how Mayer thinks he’s going to beat the media at its own gossipy game, he’s mistaken. They’re always going to be better at it, because that’s all they do. Mayer is in the game only because he’s made that dedicated career choice of dating and dumping women … plus that singer/songwriter side gig thing he’s got going. Plus, he’s just one guy. The media, well …we are Legion.
A recent TMZ video shows Mayer hiding from cameras under plastic garbage bags while escorted by his bodyguards to a waiting SUV. He’s already getting sick of the game. As it stands, Mayer could save puppies all day while spoon-feeding the elderly, and some tireless photographer will get that one shot of him picking his nose. Mayer could ask Perez Hilton to the prom, and that’s not going to stop the Queen of All Media from posting a doctored photo of Mayer in all his axe master glory, white stuff dripping from his nose or mouth, plus floating cartoon male genitals and an arrow pointing to his face.
Mayer should have called it off months ago, when he charmed the witty, and confused the rest with his blog response to a Page Six piece observing that Mayer felt compelled to respond to every piece of media written about him. Clever John cut and pasted the piece into his blog and wrote something along the lines of, “I don’t do this.”
Hilarious! As it stands now, TMZ is still a bit charmed by his antics. While Mayer seems to grow weary behind his garbage bags, TMZ still hasn’t made good on its “Game on” challenge. But that’s going to change. Given his record with the ladies, and his current affair with one Ms. Aniston, he’s just setting up for another year of “Poor Jen!” And that’s when the tides will turn.