Fred Durst Has a Blog
nternet blogging: fed by twin currents of narcissism and voyeurism, where else should I come across my occasional nemesis and favorite whipping boy? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Fred Durst stands accused of furthering his generic brand of self-flagellating self-obsession through his Xanga account "american alien" (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=americanalien), I ask that you find him culpable. Far more interesting in theory than in practice, Durst's online journal all but proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the man is totally finished.
The appeal of blogs is that they offer a tiny voice to those that otherwise would have none. It's no wonder that sites like Xanga and Livejournal have blown up among the teenage set: young people, tentatively making steps to assert their maturity, can now subject whomever may stumble upon their site to their insecurities, beliefs, and other ramblings. Bonds are formed, loners find communities of similarly alienated youths, and everyone is paid in that most precious of postmodern currency: attention.
Fred Durst has made a career of appealing the basest desires of adolescents: the self-absorption, the flippant approach to violence and sex, the one-dimensional me-versus-the-world mentality. So it is no wonder that his current celebrity incarnation should find itself through exercises in poorly articulated self-exploration. His journal's first post does a quite adequate job of summing up Durst's particular personal failings: "hidden amongst the words that are destined to come will be layers upon layers of thoughts from a mind on a quest to be complete. more often than not i find myself dwelling on my perception of this life that i seem to feel so much instead of considering the other individuals involved in my surroundings. is this selfish? i consider it the definition of a loner." Wading through a dense thicket of dependent clauses, one comes to the realization that Durst justifies his egocentrism by complaining, as teenagers often do, that no one understands him. How startlingly de rigeur for a blog.
A chorus of character witnesses comes to Fred's defense via the comments section. Many are European teenagers, prefacing their salutations with apologies for poor English. Many are Americans, who should probably similarly apologize. The brief glimpses into their developing psyches is often as funny as it is revealing:
"I tend to think non-stop about everything. Mostly about wrestling, as I LOVE wrestling lol... but sometimes I wonder about life, I wonder about my past, I wonder about news stories... I just love to sit and wonder."
"last night i was at the club and of course like always my fred durst tattoo was causing commotion and those who wanted to talk shit were soon shut up when i told them about fred's message about putting the whole world's problems in a hat and i tell you what it changed more people's minds about him than i ever would imagined. you are so misunderstood i am glad i can change the minds i am able to."
"fred i know exaclty what you are feeling."
And they do. Hiding behind garbled pseudo-metaphysic rambling is poor little Fred, the man who never grew up. Discussing his oft-referenced (complete with nude photographs!) son Dallas, he states, "it must be cool for him to have a dad this is definitely still a child at heart." Maybe it is. But maybe Dallas would prefer a dad who can face up to his own shortcomings without drowning them in self-pitying, hypocritical babble. "[T]he first time i open my eyes in the mornings i can hear my thoughts scrambling to be noticed and put back into absorbtion." So complicated! "[E]veryone is superior to everyone." Uh, that's pretty deep. "[I] feel fortunate to know in my mind that i never deliberately want to hurt anyone for any reason at any time." So Wes Borland wrote "Break Stuff"? "[W]hat i want right now is to be touched." Guess you should have spilled the beans on Britney's pubic coiffure, eh?
It's difficult to criticize the undeniable bond between Fred and his e-fans though: it seems very genuine. Those kids that jumped on the bandwagon when they saw "Nookie" on TRL now request props on their own Xanga sites. Occasionally Durst will excerpt a comment that particularly touched him, notably one about an overweight teen struggling with bullies in high school. He offers some halfway decent advice: "know that you're not alone when someone is constantly raining on your parade. it won't rain forever. never has and never will." But I'm repeatedly drawn to the more nefarious workings of Durst's psyche, the ones he is loathe to admit to in his own diary. Such responses (only occurring on his own blog; he has yet to anoint a fan's site) keep his small-yet-thriving fanbase glued to his site, hungry for the recognition of a celebrity, even one on the down slope of fame. They wish him well, encourage him, and attempt to subtly hint they would appreciate a response back (but no pressure!). This has to be a satisfying self-esteem booster to an egoist whose last album was a critical and commercial flop.
I can't imagine many of these kids offering glowing commendations like "You have been given a great gift to be able to write your feelings in a way I wish I could" had Durst merely stuck to music. He's not very good at music. However, he may have found his niche as a celebrity blogger, perhaps the first for the teenage set. With such a simple and effective marketing tool, can Lindsay Lohan's ghostwritten Livejournal be far behind? Perhaps the most revealing (and most atrociously punctuated) comment on Fred's site is the following from Xanga user xxAlienatexx: "Fred,,,,,, ur changing,,,,,,,,, but what exacty are you changing into?" His personality has changed little (although he's calmed down a bit with age), but a lucrative new career path could be on the horizon, not to mention something far more tolerable than his horrible music videos. "[A]merican aliens is where i am now and where i will be going as long as i am fortunate enough to keep going." If only!
By: Gavin Mueller
Published on: 2004-05-12