Ethics Dunce: Blogger Perez Hilton

There is snarky, and there is vicious and cruel. Perez Hilton, the over-the-top celebrity blogger who always amasses enough points to be in the running for Media Creep of the Year, hit rock bottom over the weekend, showing a level of humanity, empathy and caring we identify with the people who ridicule  ALS sufferers and terminal cancer patients, and who find watching heart attacks and strokes amusing.

“MUST WATCH!!!” “Grammy Reporter Fail!” wrote Hilton, about a frightening video showing CBS reporter Serene Branson suddenly finding herself unable to speak coherently on the air as she reported on the Grammys, and obviously experiencing some kind of neurological episode that was a lot more serious than being “tongue-tied.”

“Someone call an exorcist!” joked the blogger, who called Branson’s cisis “HIGHlarious.”

[This post originally included the video footage, but CBS has pulled it.] Branson gets a few words out, then you can see the fear and panic that starts to come into the young woman’s expression as she realizes that her thoughts are no longer being formed into words. She utters a stream of jibberish  very reminiscent of the sounds made by the swimmer at the beginning of “Jaws” who is being attacked by a Great White shark, and then the station cuts her off. If watching another human being in peril and terror is “HIGHlarious” to you, “Ethics Dunce” is an understatement.

Hilton quickly pulled his first post on the incident when it began drawing fire, and so far, doctors haven’t been able to determine what caused the incident…so Hilton obviously thinks he’s in the clear.

He’s not. Even if we never know what happened to Branson, she was frightened and something bad was obviously happening to her. I’m sure she’s still terrified, and should be: my law school room mate, last year, had a mysterious episode that seemed like a stroke, but the doctors found nothing, and sent him home. Two days later, he dropped dead.

Yuk it up, Perez.


8 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Blogger Perez Hilton

  1. Father of a very dear friend died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)in his mid-50s. The truly frightening thing, he was able to communicate to his family after an attack, was that his mind, his thoughts, were perfectly clear about what he wanted to say, but he could not make his mouth and tongue say them, and it sounded like gibberish even to his own ears.

    I’m sure Hilton would have been cracking up at the spectacle.

    How can any human person be that clueless?

  2. How can anyone think that is funny? Watching the clip for the first time, and before reading your post, my reaction was “What the heck did she say?” When she looked away from the camera, you knew something was wrong. I sincerely hope that young, beautiful woman is okay.

    • She says almost exactly the same thing as the young woman being eaten by the shark in the frightening opening scene in “Jaws,” except that she was only pretending to be in peril. The reporter was, and probably is.

  3. (not watching the video, I just don’t have the heart)

    Things like this come from ignorance, plain and simple. It’s easy to make fun of something when you don’t know how serious it is. It’s like making a September 11th joke saying something like, “Oh, man, not more drunk pilots!” If it WAS an accident, that could be defensible, but knowing the real reason, it’s much less defensible.

    It could be compared to the word salad that Miss South Carolina said that circulated wildly, which could be attributed to anxiety or a desire to do well, but probably not a severe illness. In fact, I think a blunder of finding something scary like this funny is FAR more worthy of being circulated around than evidence that a beauty queen might not be that S-M-R-T.

    The problem is a lot of people simply don’t know what is actually funny. I saw “She’s Out Of My League” (not a good movie), and there’s the inevitable second act downbeat where the protagonists split up briefly. The guy (Jay Baruchel) goes to his car, stands at his car with the door open, clenches his fist and is about to pound his roof, but stops himself and sighs, not visibly upset, but having a very bad day since the beautiful angel has slipped from his grasp.

    And THIS gets a laugh from some people in the audience.

    There are plenty of people who walk this earth without the barest empathy and somehow live completely ordinary lives. There are some days where the sun deigns not to peek around the cloud and I envy people with such a deficiency.

    Thankfully, it never lasts.

    • In “Bruce Almighty” there is a scene in which Jim Carrey, endowed with God’s powers, makes his rival news anchor, Steve Correl, spout gibberish on a newscast. It IS funny, 1) because we know Carrel isn’t having a stroke 2) because he does it well and 3) because this is a movie. The latter makes all the difference. When Terry Jones as mega-obese “Mr. Creasote” exploded in Monte Python’s “The Meaning of Life,” it was funny—in real life, it would have been too horrifying for words. People like Hilton no longer known the difference.

  4. The Carrell bit sent me into uncontrollable laughter. Had it been real I MIGHT have laughed, thinking it was a joke. Like the night Letterman confessed on camera to his sexual misdeeds. A couple of sentences in, laughter. He went on, more laughter. On. more laughter. He said, “This is serious.” That brought more yet: many people laugh when they hear something that they expected to be funny. So I can imagine somebody laughing when the reporter first got into trouble, thinking it was part of the act. But as you say, it’s hard to imagine a human who saw the whole thing thinking there was anything funny about it.

  5. This is how Hilton makes his living. There are enough personality-challenged people out there to enjoy the travails of others to keep him and others of his ilk in business. Normally, I couldn’t care less for such events as this young lady was reporting from. But it was her assignment and she was attempting to carry it out. These sort of things can happen. And when they do- and in front of an audience of millions- one can only imagine the panic that insues. I think most people can relate to that. And most would have the respect not to mock her for it like nasty, undisciplined schoolchildren.

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