Total Twits: Tila Tequila and Perez Hilton fight about Casey Johnson’s death
When a celebrity dies, our first reaction is to get responses from his or her celebrity friends. In the old days, we got this through media reports. Now we can get a direct feed though, via Twitter.
When Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson was found dead at 30 on Monday, the first Twitter account many rushed to was that of her fiancée, trashy reality TV star Tila Tequila. Tequila’s first tweet about Johnson’s death was at 8:30 p.m. on Monday (a few hours after tweeting about her first lapdance):
Everyone please pray 4 my Wifey Casey Johnson. She has passed away. Thank u for all ur love and support but I will be offline to be w family
After 10 p.m., Tequila tweeted:
R.I.P my Angel. @caseyjonsonJnJ u will forever be in my heart! I love u so so much and we will Marry when I see U in Heaven my Wifey
As Andreaitis wrote after Brittany Murphy’s death, Twitter R.I.P.s are “natural – yet somehow uncomfortable.” Gossip blogger Perez Hilton saw Tequila’s tweets and thought they were more than uncomfortable. He responded to her 10 p.m. tweet:
@officialtila You’re disgusting! Shame on you!
@McCainBlogette Tila Tequila is a vile subhuman! She needs more than prayers!
@OfficialTila There is more to life than getting publicity and clawing your way from the F list to the D list of fame! DEATH is real shit!
This did not stop Tequila from a Twitter outpouring of grief. That has been followed though by a catfight between Perez Hilton and Tequila over her publicizing her grief to increase her fame. At what point do we overexpose ourselves on social networks?
Here’s a series of Tequila tweets:
I can’t stop these haunting visions of her and I. We made such a lovely couple, only beginning to spend the rest of our lives together…
4:13 AM Jan 5th from UberTwitter
I miss her so much. Can’t stop crying. Haven’t slept for days….My entire house is filled with her stuff. Im in bed without her here…
about 12 hours ago from web
@misswill before you and mr piggy [Ed. note: Mr Piggy = Perez Hilton] there goes on a rampage of assumptions, u might want to backtrack a bit as u dont have a clue to what hpnd
about 11 hours ago from web in reply to misswill
All of her doggies are still at my house. Friends & family just came by and we appreciate everyones support during this heartbreaking time.
about 11 hours ago from web
You are my Angel now @caseyjonsonJnJ & I know u are watching from above. I promise u that I will continue our dreams we planned 2gether xox
about 10 hours ago from web
Im going 2 bed now. With my Fiance’s dogs & mine. All in our bed….. I will continue to make the promises I made to her come true! I love u
about 9 hours ago from web
Please wake me up at 10am. Its hard to wake up during depressing times so wake me up pls. The family is coming over here tomorrow. LOVE.
about 8 hours ago from web
Just Leave Us Alone!!! – http://tinyurl.com/ykp27le – Retweet
about 8 hours ago from web
That last tweet links to an InTouch interview that Tequila did about Johnson’s death. Hilton and Tequila have since been locked in a Twitter battle, tweeting up a storm. Here are a few of their many exchanges:
@officialTila Go back to grieving and exploiting her death. You’re great at being soulless! about 3 hours ago from web
@PerezHilton oh wait. U have no life. No one to love you. Never got engaged, wished u were a woman but in ur words #epicfail move along now.
about 3 hours ago from web in reply to PerezHilton
@officialTila You are a PATHOLOGICAL liar! You will do ANYTHING for publicity! You have no soul! Go back to your fake grieving now!
about 3 hours ago from web in reply to officialTila
@PerezHilton have some decency! You love poking fun at people who have passed away dont you? First Mocking MJ’s Death & now My FIance’s? about 3 hours ago from web in reply to PerezHilton
@OfficialTila I’m done with you. Buh bye! xoxo
about 2 hours ago from web
During this exchange, Tequila did make sure to promote a new gossip blog she’s planning to launch. It’s quite disturbing to see tweeted eulogies, which are already shallow, devolve into a cat fight over death, grief, and mourning.
Someone needs to advise these two to put down their smartphones and step away from the Twitter.
Last month, Jason Pinter asked the provocative question: Does Social Networking Kill the Author Mystique? The best-selling thriller author wrote:
I have a Facebook account. Twitter page. MySpace page. Website. Blog. I even think I have an old Friendster account (come on, you know you used to have one too). All of these were started after my first book deal in the Spring of 2006, in the hopes of reaching readers and building an audience through the magic of online social networking. And I’m far from the only one who had that idea.
With just a few clicks, you can find hundreds if not thousands of authors divulging their innermost thoughts about their books, their writing process, and occasionally the intimate and mundane details of their life. Some of these comments are interesting and insightful, offering candid looks into the process of writing and the career of publishing. Some of them are pithy, funny, irreverent, about their lives and relationships. Some are pointless, nothing more than daily itineraries or dietary choices. Some turn you off from an author entirely due to lewdness, crudeness, or endless and shameless hawking of their own wares.
All of us consciously eliminate some of our mystery by turning our lives into public spectacle via Twitter/Facebook/etc. As for novel writers, Pinter advises:
The trick seems to be, as Winn Scotch says, toeing the line between being a professional writer and a human being. Promoting your work without coming off as a used car salesmen. Writing posts that readers can relate to, coming off as someone they might even want to spend time with. If an author’s Tweets or blogs are funny, inspiring or meaningful, it is reasonable to think their books might be as well.
Yet as Scalzi succinctly states, “People aren’t stupid; they know when Twitter is being used for enjoyment’s sake and when it’s being used as a calculated marketing channel. Guess which they respond to better.”
I think it’s safe to say that Tequila and Hilton never really had a “mystique.” Their whole celebrity appeal is built on exposing the ugly sides of themselves and others. But what about the rest of us? At what point do our tweets ruin our mystique?