Before I compose an ill-advised, trouser-tearing mash note to the twenty-one-year-old offspring of B.J. McKay, I’d like to acknowledge the blogging retirement of Mark Lisanti, whose trenchant wit made Defamer a daily must-read. Lisanti’s prolificacy was impressive enough; short of slapping at the keyboard indiscriminately (aka “The Updike Method”), several thousand words a day is a tall order – especially when advertising dollars are on the line. Get off your game, and it’s over. Be on your game too much, and your audience might grow tired of your shtick. It’s no longer a daily racket; you’ve got to be an all-day sucker for this shit. And you’ve got to be good all the time ‘cuz there’s always another, younger, hungrier competitor out there looking to steal your audience and, possibly, appropriate your voice.
There are a lot of Lisanti pretenders out there (some of them are now writing for the site he founded), but none have duplicated his bemused contempt for the gossip game. Lisanti wrote for those of us who knew better, but read Page Six and Rush & Molloy anyway (while letting that gift subscription to The Wall Street Journal go to waste). That’s why I didn’t chime in on the furor surrounding that Heath Ledger videotape: I would’ve been a hypocrite to rail against Entertainment Tonight’s lack of discretion. You can’t click around the gossip sites (even on occasion) and demand selectivity as to whose trash gets sifted through. If you stoke the furnace, everyone’s subject to immolation.
But feeding the beast was great, guilty fun with Lisanti. Whether blowing the lid off the Fannings’ girl scout cookie racket, obsessing on the antics of the “Grauman’s Chinese Theater Justice League”, or terrorizing readers with Brian Grazer’s headshot, Lisanti covered the ignominious gossip beat with an ingratiating irreverence, an… “I-can’t-believe-I’m-getting-paid-to-write-this-shit” elan. And all the while, you wondered when the burden of triviality would drive him to finer pursuits.
That day arrived last Friday. Mark Lisanti has bid farewell to Defamer. We shook the pillars of heaven, dude (regardless of Wiki-revisionism and Josh Friedman’s claims to the contrary). Thanks for making my blog a shortlived sensation. Now hurry up and be brilliant for more than several hundred words at a time several times a day! You’ll only be missed if you squander your big, stupid talent.
Oh, right. Briana Evigan. If you’re looking for an out-of-shape, thirty-four-year-old internet writer to shack up with for a month (sorry, but I can’t put up with anyone’s shit for longer than that), do hit me up.
A new home awaits you. — By Travis Newton