Twitter Fights: New Medium for Self-Sabotage

Celebrities behaving badly do so for the short-term high of getting attention.

HA!

That's often my first reaction when I open up the "Calendar" section of the Los Angeles Times in the wee dark hours each morning.

Monday's edition was no exception. Matea Gold reports that celebrities are taking their egoist rants about each other to the public stage — and are beginning to rue the day they ever discovered Twitter.

No longer do we need the paparazzi to hide in the bushes hoping to get a shot of celebrity self-sabotage. Superstars and those seeking superstardom have cut out the middle man and now publicize their own misguided emotional reactions to the events of their daily life. They're getting quite good at self-destruction in 140 characters or less!

The latest celebrity feud to emerge from the Twittersphere is between Perez Hilton and Demi Moore. They're duking it out on Twitter over two posts by Perez concerning Demi's daughter's skimpy wardrobe. Perez thinks 15-year-old Tallulah Willis wears inappropriate clothing, and showed photos of the girl's butt peeking out of her shorts to illustrate his point.

Demi vigorously came to her daughter's defense, claiming Perez is violating child pornography laws by publishing the photo. Perez attacks Demi personally with a barb about menopause. Demi pushes Perez again on his inappropriate exploitation of underage tushies, threatening legal action. The spat goes on from there.

They're not alone. The Times story shines light on other outbursts on the Twitter stage from the likes of Kirstie Alley, Ryan Seacrest and Mark Cuban.

What makes for entertainment today is often a spotlight on a star acting badly — whether it be in the L.A. Times, Twitter, TMZ, "Access Hollywood" or any other media outlet that follows the celebrity life. If the behavior results in a personal train wreck, all the better.

Why is that? Why do stars publicly act out and why does the public love to see it? Why do celebrities jeopardize their public image with these public outbursts and temper tantrums?

Ego.

Self-destructive behavior of any kind by anyone is rooted in the ego defending itself — usually based in some sort of feeling of being victimized, of being made "less than." Perez Hilton has the power to embarrass and publicly humiliate celebrities because these very same celebrities, and the general public, gave it to him. Demi Moore added force to Perez's power by giving his Tweet more energy and distribution with her response that he does not take violating child pornography laws very seriously. He returns fire with personal insults.

Events in and of themselves hold no power. A tushie shot is a tushie shot. Period. The meaning a person gives to an event is what fuels the reaction, and that will result in a good or bad outcome.

A teenage butt peeking out of short shorts on a public street is not child pornography; Moore's reaction is not the result of hormone imbalances or bad parenting. What is being fought over is a bunch of made-up stuff.

Truth is, you are a victim to no one and no thing unless you allow yourself to be.

If Demi viewed the photo of her daughter as just a shot of yet another young girl wearing short shorts, there would be no power in Perez's Tweet. If Demi didn't like Tallulah's butt hanging out of her shorts, she could have handled it in private, as a mom. Instead, there are now threats of a lawsuit that will also give more steam, energy and attention to the story … and to the continued publication of the young tushie.

If Hilton took Demi's reaction to the Tweet as an overreaction from a protective parent, rather than being a personal accusation, there would be no pending lawsuit. No more energy given to the dispute. Perhaps Perez would have passed on the chance to engage a celebrity in a public fight that only he can win.

Whether Perez is right or not is irrelevant, it seems. His page views rise no matter what.

Perez wins because the public's egos love to see rich and famous celebrities acting badly. The stars’ embarrassments boost celebrity news junkies’ self-esteem: "See, these superstar people aren't any better than me!"

Those who salivate over celebrity self-sabotage should ponder what obsessive attention to these public outbursts says about themselves.