Sex Tape Fever: A Sad Commentary on Something or Other

Here's a brief look at an interesting phenomenon. A few weeks ago, despairing of the media's malign neglect of America's third "regime change" operation – the brutal proxy war in Somalia – I resorted to a not-so-subtle strategem. In order to draw more attention to the horrific suffering caused by the Bush-backed war of aggression in Somalia, I put this headline on a post about yet another outrage there: "Britney Spears Sex Tape Bares All." It was mostly a joke: "That finally got your attention, didn't it?"  I thought it might spark a minor spike in website traffic for a day or two, then fade away.

But I obviously underestimated the vast number of  sad souls out there who spend day after day burrowing through Google pages in a feverish quest to find a glimpse of faded-ingenue flesh. I also failed to take into account the algorithms of web search patterns. In the first few days after the post, there was indeed a minor spike coming from googlers hunting "Britney Spears sex tape," then a falling-off. Out of curiosity, I traced back one of the early entries and found that my Britney-tagged Somalia post didn't show up until you were 10 pages or more into the Google weeds. (One shudders to think of the kind of person who would plow through 10 pages of links looking for Britney in action. I figured it was mostly junior high kids – and evangelists.)

Then the "sex tape" traffic started rising, slowly, week by week, until it now accounts for roughly one-third of all readers who visit the blog each day. I checked Google again: the Britney-Somalia story is now the second or third item on the very first page of a Spears sex tape search.

Thus are the vagaries of internet media, I suppose: we created this blog to expose the crimes and follies of empire – and now we're a "go-to site" for celebrity sleaze. I'm sure there's a lesson there somewhere, but damned if I know what is.