22 January 2008
By Debbie Saslaw
A time bomb has been ticking for quite some time. We expected to find a naked and unconscious Britney or Winehouse in the next month or so. And though we were shocked when golden boy Owen Wilson slit his wrists, we were consoled when he wisened up fast enough to realize that a You, Me, and Dupree sequel may be in his not so distant future.
So when Heath Ledger was found dead in a Soho apartment (which was not owned by fellow celebrity fuck-up Mary-Kate Olsen, by the way), everyone was a bit shaken up. 28-year-old Ledger was a legitimate actor who was nominated for an Oscar because he sucked face with Jake Gyllenhal. Before becoming a gay cowboy, he charmed 80’s babies with his performance of “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” on the steps of a football field in the teen-cult classic 10 Things I Hate About You.
And he was not particularly tainted by celebrity gossip until now, when he was found by a masseuse surrounded by sleeping pills. Though an autopsy will reveal the cause of his death by Wednesday, the unfortunate story sheds light on America’s obsession with celebrity blogs. Since Ledger was found at around 3:26 p.m, the blogs have been battling over who broke the news first. Though Perez Hilton reported the story at 5:46 p.m., Perez claimed to write the story based on a tip from “exclusive sources.” The famous celebrity gossip columnist was apparently too slow for the Internet, since CNN and CNN.com shed light on the story an hour prior. For comparison’s sake, TMZ posted its first of 17 posts at 4:20 pm and Gawker reported the story 5:06 giving a full rundown of
impressive timestamps on each Heath Ledger blog.
Should we really be arguing over who heard it first? Shouldn’t we be legitimately concerned over the future of young Hollywood? Shouldn’t we be doing something to prevent the scandals instead of perpetuating them? As I watch a video on Gawker of the paparazzi entourage gathered around Broome street flashing pictures of a body bag, I figure that morality isn’t the journalists’ top priority here.
P.S. Here at the Tisch Film Review, we apologize for slacking in up-to-the-minute coverage of celebrity news. When the next one goes down, we’ll have exclusive rights to the story.