This LA Times piece points to the the truth behind Dave Chappelle's much-misreported disappearance, and introduces a new piece of media-meme jargon.
In just two weeks, Chappelle's ordeal went from celebrity train wreck to run-of-the-mill exhaustion, a sure sign that today's entertainment news cycle moves faster than the news itself. The hunger for celebrity gossip, particularly scandal, has become more insatiable than ever with the viral proliferation of media covering it, from "60 Minutes" to Internet bloggers to every cellphone camera owner on the street.
Just before the Chappelle story hit, the media had been doggedly covering two lukewarm scandals: Pat O'Brien's rehab for alcoholism and Paula Abdul's alleged affair with an "American Idol" contestant. And as Chappelle's scandal dissipates, the media is poised to move on to more fertile ground, such as Britney Spears' pregnancy and the latest rumored indiscretions of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. "Nowadays, there is no privacy," says Allan Mayer, managing director of the crisis communication firm Sitrick and Co. "Everything is played out in public view ... the more you feed it, the bigger it gets."
As a result, every story has an abbreviated life span, accelerating the demand for more news. Ultimately, this adds up to exaggerated expectations of celebrities. If they can't maintain their public persona, they're devoured for our entertainment instead. "I call it the piñata syndrome," says publicist Howard Bragman, founder of the Hollywood PR firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli. "It's really about the media. They're only lifting you up so that they can take sticks and beat you and see what comes out."
(Thanks to Mark Ebner!)