On The Record: Your Moral Indignation (Plus Vampire Weekend MP3s!)
This “Meg White sex tape” is truly a magical thing. Not because the woman in the tape is actually Meg or anything like that (it’s not — a fact which, at this point, seems somewhat inconsequential), but rather because it: A) gave hope to overweight dudes everywhere; B) made it almost acceptable to view porn while at work in the name of journalistic responsibility (the interns are afraid of me now); and C) was greeted with a backlash that probably made the Knight Foundation proud.
What occurred in the wake of the tape was pretty amazing: People were genuinely outraged by it. Well, not so much it, but rather by the blogs that chose to post about it, marking quite possibly the first time in history that this group of people got really ticked off about a video of two people having sex.
The drama heated up on Monday, when two popular music blogs first posted about the video — the former including a screen grab and both featuring a link to the clip — a decision that seemed to make sense considering that they are music blogs and, you know, the White Stripes happen to be a band that a large portion of their audience cares about (not to mention the fact that a large portion of that large portion finds Meg interesting perhaps for more than just music-related reasons). Of course, there was the very real possibility that it wasn’t even Meg in the tape, but hey, these are music blogs, where ironclad fact-checking isn’t exactly job one, right?
Well, wrong, apparently. Just minutes after posting the video, both sites were hammered by commentators who found the very fact that the blogs were — gasp! — possibly spreading false information to be reprehensible and downright irresponsible (of course, there were also plenty of ancillary jokes involving Meg’s drumming ability too). Most accused the sites of delving into territory better left to gossip mongers like Perez Hilton or the folks at TMZ, an argument that got even weirder when Hilton himself — the same guy who steadfastly stands by his claim that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is dead — weighed in on the situation, writing, “Just cuz something is on the Internet doesn’t make it true, y’all!”
When Perez Hilton is the voice of reason, things have gotten beyond surreal. For possibly the first time ever, readers were holding blogs to the same standards they would The New York Times. Why would they do that? After all, aren’t blogs based on the ideal of smashing the wall between “writer” and “journalist”? Isn’t that why we continue to read them? For the same off-the-cuff, unfiltered coverage for which the blogs in question were now being slammed?
And I’m not really sure why this tape caused this much furor. Sure, the Stripes have been in the news lately because they canceled the remainder of their 2007 tour due to Meg’s “acute anxiety.” People were quick to speculate that the sex tape was the cause of that anxiety, but it was abundantly clear to any fan who actually viewed the tape that it wasn’t Meg — so how could it be? (Also, many commentators had no problem poking fun at Meg’s anxiety when it was first announced earlier this month.)
Was it that people are just sick of celebrity sex tapes? I doubt it. Are Stripes fans so passionate that they’d flood sites with negative comments? Maybe. Perhaps we’ll never know the real reason that the Meg video was greeted with such deafening indignation.
But the fact remains that we’re now officially living in the strangest of times: an era where readers expect ideals like integrity and factuality from blogs (sprinkled in with their Bangers & Cash MP3s, of course), where porn is roundly criticized and the voice of reason is someone who defiles the faces of celebs on his site and engages in battle raps on this very channel.
Maybe the best thing to do is leave the pornography to the pornographers and the journalism to the journalists … whoever they are.
B-Sides: Other Stories I’m Following This Week
It’s truly good times all the time in the Britney Spears camp (see “Britney Spears Charged With Two Driving-Related Misdemeanors” ).
What with the back-to-back-to-back national basketball/football championships and tasering, I’ve never been prouder of my alma mater (see “’Don’t Tase Me, Bro!’: Remix, T-Shirts Help Tasered Kerry-Speech Agitator” ).
Is there a third choice, like perhaps “None of the above” or “Oh my God, make it stop?” (see “The Rock’s Role In ’Shazam’: Should He Be Good Or Evil? You Decide!” ).
Questions, concerns, NSFW e-mails? Hit me up at BTTS@MTVStaff.com