The Grandness of Hacks

Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy of sarahinvegas.

You know, for all that he can be sexist, un-evenhanded, someone who doesn’t remotely adhere to traditional journalistic principles, but Perez Hilton deserves credit for having consistently strong taste in music and working hard to promote the artists he likes. I think his upcoming radio countdown show could actually be quite good.One of the few areas of popular culture I was actually fully caught up with when I was a kid was Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown. I used to tape songs off the radio on weekends — the program was the first place I heard “Ms. Jackson,” “Unbreak My Heart,” No Doubt, a lot of the other music that’s lingered with me throughout the years, along with oddities like Madonna’s dance remix of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”:

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Listening to it week after week was a fascinating look at evolving American tastes, a weird juxtaposition, a chance to keep up with the things that other people liked but that I was having trouble finding on my own. For a nerd, countdowns were a public service, a kind of informational bulletin I devoured and was grateful for.I haven’t listened to a countdown program regularly in years; I wised up enough to find music on my own. But I do regularly check out artists Perez recommends. Under all that goofy hair dye, terrible clothes, and idiotic photoshop scribbling, the guy’s got taste. Perhaps at some point that’ll be enough, and the posing can fall away. And if the show takes off, I might be tempted to tune in.