Dying Young

tobyYoung.jpgAlright, this posting is a few days late (in the blog world an eternity), but Toby Young’s Slate diary was too infuriating to go ignored. For those of you unaware, Slate’s diary is kind of like MTV’s Diary for old people who are nowhere near as famous, and Toby Young is a bald media gadfly who has made a name for himself by being obnoxious. Based on Young’s entries, however, he’s taking his trademarks – contrived spite and pseudo-impudence – up a notch.
There’s Monday’s diary in which Young very nearly asks Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to sue him. That’s because Young’s novel-in-progress, Starmageddon, actually uses the duo as characters! And from the sound of Young’s new novel, it’s pretty clear he’s designed the plot to hit as many media flashpoints as possible – the Holocaust, celebrity culture, post-Apocalyptic America, and right-wing demagoguery. Young is practically daring you to ignore this book.
And then Tuesday’s diary, in which Young offers this remarkable insight into L.A. (he’s been there a little over a week):

In the same way that other cities have been ravaged by certain drugs, L.A. is in the grip of a fame epidemic. Like cocaine, it used to be the drug of choice for a privileged few, but now it’s gone mainstream, often in a very adulterated form. The kind of notoriety that comes from appearing on a reality show, for instance, is the equivalent of crack.

Among other revelations Young dishes up: celebrities get big trailers; these celebrities also receive other big perks; Young used to live with Euan Rellie, aka Mr. Lucy Sykes (he also used to live with Sophie Dahl – presumably he didn’t find these apartments on Craig’s List).
Onto Wednesday’s diary entry and more juicy L.A. dirt! Apparently, people in Los Angeles like to drive S.U.V.’s. And somehow Young gets even more repellant – he and his wife honeymooned in Los Angeles.
Thursday’s entry – comparing L.A. restaurants with London restaurants – actually isn’t so bad, so let’s just ignore this one entirely.
I’m not sure what happens in Friday’s installment. I got through the first paragraph before the bile – the product of disgust and, yes, low-level envy – started to choke me.
Years ago, I met Mr. Young several times at MaryLou’s – insofar as you met anyone at MaryLou’s – and he seemed pleasant, if a bit self-promoting. Who would have thought the guy would get sober (relatively) and then turn into an asshole?

5 replies on “Dying Young”

Eccch … a bizarre progression to be sure. I kind of liked his book, but thought it ridiculous that he created a stage version (wha?) with a handsomer, non-Young-looking actor playing himself. Even more annoying is that the Slate diary feature was written by non-famous people with interesting jobs or avocations, whereas now it’s written by moderately famous people doing and saying completely tedious things. (full disclosure: I did one on travel writing, hopefully in the non-tedious category.) feh.

Yeah, I hope he’s saving the good stuff for the book…
Still, I thought the Tuesday entry, where he decries fame and then tries to pimp his infant daughter for a part in the Weitz brothers’ new film was pleasantly despicable. Despicable enough to include it in the trend of baby-whoring fathers, anyway.

You’re right, he’s whoring out his kids. I suppose there are those parents who do this and let a kid who has some natural ability and interest in being on stage or on film to do this. My wife did a stint as a kiddee casting agent, but from what I saw it was a freak show most of the time.
Oh, but our kid got work, so fuck it.

I met him at Elaine’s several years ago. He was a big time asshole. Basically: he’s a Brit who really really really wants to be an american-type celeb, a cheesy Hollywood action star via the new york media magazine complex. He was run out of town a while ago, and he keeps coming back.
I hope Rance kicks his bald midget ass.

Anyone who decides to call his book Starmageddon should have his head examined. Anyone who decides to publish a book called Starmageddon should have a head transplant.

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