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WEB WATCH

Heard on the gripe vine in Hollywood

June 13, 2004|Christine N. Ziemba

Hollywood's players relish the dirt and the dish -- especially when it's about someone else. A recently launched blog, www.defamer.com, serves up industry gossip to a craving populace, with a tone and a 'tude to match its New York roots.

Before defamer.com came online in early May, gossip hounds had slim pickings with the Los Angeles hearsay scene. Water-cooler wranglers had to rely on scans of the tabloids at Ralphs; wait for Ted Casablanca's tame Thursday rumor column, "The Awful Truth" on E! Online; or settle for the East Coast chatter from the New York Post's Liz Smith or Page Six.

Irreverent to the core, defamer.com has a bite, much like the other online titles (i.e., wonkette.com for Beltway politicos and fleshbot.com for porn aficionados) belonging to the Manhattan-based "blogomerate" Gawker Media.

The closest thing to a site mission statement reads: "L.A. is the cultural capital of the world. Defamer is the gossip rag it deserves." Last weekend, the blog paid "homage" to the passing of Ronald Reagan with a photo and headline that read, "Former Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan Dies at 93." No story followed -- not even a mention that Reagan did anything else, say, like run the country.

Regarding the power-ballad band Creed's breakup, the site hisses, "We just heard that God-rocking, intestinal-distress-inducing band Creed is breaking up. Sorry to see them go, whatever."

The site's anonymous editor is supposedly in the industry, and the folks at Gawker Media tease their audience with his bio: "He's nobody -- just another Hollywood peon, maybe another PA on the set. Or he could be your assistant -- you know, the one you just made fetch your dogs from the groomer? That wasn't very nice of you ... Anyway, he's somewhere in Hollywood. And in any event -- don't worry about it. Really."

Defamer.com is not for everybody, but it's definitely for those rumormongers who love to swim with sharks. Or maybe even eat them for dinner.

-- Christine N. Ziemba

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