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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/27/2007

Celebritology 101: The Art of the Blind Item

By Liz Kelly

Which pop diva makes her friend go out undercover to get fried chicken so her mom doesn't find out?

Which pop megastar celebrated his visit to NYC last week with an east Village go-go dancer and gay-for-pay rent boy? "He was fat, completely hairless and doesn't really like being touched," says the young gentleman.

Which starlet amuses friends by carting her cocaine around town in a simply darling little Hello Kitty change purse?

Sometimes there is no more satisfying read than the questionable, and often ridiculously sublime, blind item. As in the examples above, the blind item -- long a staple of gossip columnists hoping to avoid messy litigation or add a little spice to an otherwise slow news day -- hits that irresistible sweet spot between salacious hearsay and our desire to fill in the blanks.

Of course, here at Celebritology we would never engage in blind item generation (except to wonder... Which well-known Post Magazine columnist has demonstrated a penchant for threadbare T-shirts and Dave Barry worship?).

Still, there is a certain haiku-like purity about blind items; they are beautiful in their simplicity, speaking volumes with an economy of words. It almost matters not whether there is substance behind the salaciousness -- the better crafted items stand alone as pop art worthy of Andy Warhol (if not necessarily about him anymore).

It is the juxtaposition of absurdity with celebrity that makes items about "starlets" who eat fried chicken or "pop megastars" who may be "completely hairless" uproariously funny. Read, for instance, the Village Voice's Michael Musto's homage to blind items, The Secret Lives of Celebrities -- a laundry list of blind items so long and laugh-out-loud funny ("What old-time actor, when he has to wear a wig in a movie, has them put it on over his wig, rather than take the thing off and let anyone know it's a fake?"), one needs a moment to collect oneself after reading.

Have you seen a particularly funny blind item lately? If so, share it in the comments section. This post will serve as the basis for a thread highlighting the best (and worst) of blind items.

By Liz Kelly  | March 27, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Blind Items, Celebritology 101  
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