If you’re a millennial of a certain age you’ve probably experienced that annoying voice in the back of your mind that constantly reminds you of how much better better pop culture was 10 years ago. For example, when I sit down to watch the VMA’s, there’s still a big part of me that gets really excited. As if something totally insane and off-the-cuff could happen. Something that hasn’t been planned and strategized by executives and marketing teams. Instead we’re left with Ariana Grande riding a Nordictrack on stage in a bingo visor and Meghan Trainor kissing Charlie Puth (I honestly had to google him to be sure of what he even looked like) in hopes of going viral for 12 hours. A night like that typically ends with me in bed, eating something weird and watching YouTube clips of Diana Ross jiggling Lil Kim’s exposed, glitter pasted breast on stage, which leads me to my next point.
I first started following the blog Popculturediedin2009 a few years ago while scrolling around on the internet. I’m 100% positive that I was doing something completely insane like looking for pictures of Paris Hilton’s auctioned off storage unit from 2007 (Google it) or old paparazzi clips of Britney Spears driving erratically through LA in her iconic pink wig. You know, typical things you do on your off time. I stumbled upon a Tumblr account that seemed to have read my mind. Popculturediedin2009 is an archive of the early 2000’s tabloid culture you’ve been missing in your life for the past 10 years. Scrolling through it has a bit of a time machine effect, but in the best way possible. You’re suddenly transported to a time when Paris Hilton was still the most famous person in the world, Nicole Richie’s weight was a national concern and Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety was called into question on a daily basis. The creator of the blog has since expanded and currently has 90k followers on Instagram and close to 30k on Twitter, but chooses to stay anonymous. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to chat with him this week. We discussed what inspired him to create the website that has become my safe space for the past 3 years.
Troy: Can I start by saying how excited I am to be talking to you during the same week Lindsay Lohan literally invents a new language? I need to know your thoughts.
Popculturediedin2009: I’m surprised that it’s become the news story it has. She’s been speaking that way for almost two years now. Heck, she was even playing with a fake British accent way back in 2009. It’s nothing new, so the sudden media frenzy surrounding it has really confused me.
Thank you! When I first heard the interview I immediately thought of so many of her old TMZ and X17 videos where she’s using the same accent.
Well, the internet is currently obsessed with the early 2000’s thanks to websites like Buzzfeed. What do you think it is about that decade that draws people?
I think the early 2000s nostalgia currently existing on the Internet is different from what’s on my blog for the most part. That nostalgia is mostly just, “Oh, look at these tacky outfits from 2003!” My blog, on the other hand, is focused on the tabloid culture of the decade. The feuds, the relationships, the fuck-ups – that’s what I’m interested in. Compared to now, the reigning celebrities of the last decade were a lot more unpredictable, and a lot more fun to watch. Most of them were terrible people, but they were able to keep things entertaining. So on one hand it’s a good thing that their era has come & gone, but their successors have really yet to step up to the plate.
I think that’s the reason people love your blog so much. It’s more than just “10 times people used T-Mobile Sidekicks in 2003” articles. There’s a pulse to it that other websites don’t seem to have. What celebrities in particular do you think inspired you the most when creating your blog?
Anna Nicole Smith for sure. She was the first celebrity I was ever fascinated by, so she has definitely been one of the biggest influences on my blog. Aside from her, I was inspired by a lot of the major tabloid celebrities of the decade, from Tom & Katie to Michael Jackson. I’m also fascinated by the hanger-ons of a lot of those people – those faces you’d see in the background of a paparazzi shot of Lindsay or Paris, they also played a huge role in shaping my content. For every household name I post about, there’s a Cisco Adler or Courtenay Semel.
I couldn’t think of a better person to become inspired by than (glamour glamour glamour glamorous) Anna Nicole Smith. She was a national treasure.
Do you have a headline or news story (good or bad) from 2000’s that stands out as a favorite for you?
That’s a good question, I’m not sure I do. I do love those obscure little stories buried in old tabloids, though. Like this one story from 2008 about Lindsay Lohan confronting Ashley Olsen at a club and screaming at her, “Get your 15-year-old Full House ass away from my girlfriend.” Who knows if it even happened, but I’d like to imagine it did.
The greatest stories from that time are the ones that seems so outlandish that you have to wonder if they really happened but you want so badly to believe they did. Remember when Britney and Justin had that alleged dance off in the middle of a club after breaking up? My heart wants that to be fact.
Yes! I also remember the rumored Paris/Lindsay dance off at a New York club shortly after Firecrotch-gate.
Firecrotch-gate, the start of it all! Kids today will never know the importance of an early 2k style dance battle to settle their differences. Anyone who knows anything about this time period would agree that Britney, Lindsay, Paris and Nicole were the undisputed queens of early 2000’s tabloid culture. Who in young Hollywood do you think has potential to fill their shoes?
No one, in all honesty. A lot of the young stars now are way too obsessed with their image to let loose, and most of them just lack a personality in general (See: The Jenners, Hadids, etc.) On my blog I sometimes post about Bella Thorne & Nicola Peltz and their messiness, but they’re on nobody’s radar except for mine.
I want to say on record that your prediction that Bella Thorne is the next Lindsay Lohan is true and will come into the light in the next 5 years. She’s the perfect combination of attention seeking messiness and beauty.
Unfortunately she’s nowhere near as relevant as Lindsay was at her peak, so when things eventually go south, I’ll probably be the only one who cares.
LOL we’ll hold a Twitter vigil in honor of her career. There are two girls in particular that I named from that group who America seems to root for unconditionally, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. Why do you think that is?
A lot of people act like Lindsay Lohan was never much of anything. They project this revisionist history that she was nothing more than a party girl that was mildly relevant for a few years, but that wasn’t the case at all. There was a moment in time when she was genuinely on the A-List. She was working alongside Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda. She was on the cover of every magazine, and she had every photographer dying to shoot her. There was a magnetic quality about her, the same quality that catapulted a lot of Hollywood stars of the past to unimaginable heights. She was a star through and through. That’s why she’s been given so many second chances, and that’s why there’s still people rooting for her. At her peak, you either loved or hated her, and even if you hated her you still somehow knew everything about her. How many other celebrities could you honestly say the same about? As for Britney, she was easily one of the most famous people in the world for a time, so no matter how far she fell there was still going to be people rooting for her. And unlike her party girl counterparts, she never really hurt anybody but herself, so there was never a genuine reason to hate her.
Do you think Lindsay has potential to become insurable again for big budget movies in Hollywood?
No. I don’t think that’ll ever happen unless she takes a serious and lengthy break from Hollywood a la Demi Moore, and even then I just don’t think it’s beneficial for her. I think it’s best to let her move on and pursue something else. The film industry can be very toxic, especially for women, so I think the best thing for Lindsay and her health is to steer clear of it.
We watched Britney grow up in the age of the internet, then we watched as it turned on her. It’s difficult to explain what she went through to people too young to remember it. Would you say she was one of the first celebrities to really face internet backlash in an extreme way?
Yeah, I’d definitely say that. She was one of the first celebrities to really be ripped apart by gossip sites.
You’ve acquired a sort of a millennial cult following on the internet. I come across a good amount of blogs that mention you in their profiles or shout you out as inspiration. What do you make of that?
I love it! It’s always nice to meet people with interests similar to mine.
You have 24k twitter followers and 80k on instagram, yet you choose to stay anonymous and selflessly entertain us daily with your blog. How did you come to that decision?
I never saw the point in involving myself in what I do. There are other people who run accounts similar to mine that market themselves along with it. I guess they’re trying to achieve some sort of fame, but that’s never been an interest of mine. I just really like talking about washed-up celebrities. It’s a hobby for me, not a career.
And lastly, what do you see for the future of your blog?
I don’t know, and that’s what makes it fun for me. I don’t have a specific goal, I just do what I love and I take everything as it comes. When I first started the blog, I just posted pictures and videos, now there’s a huge written component to it that I would’ve never imagined in the beginning. So who knows what’s next, but I’m excited anyways!
Popculturediedin2009 is an anonymous blog, home to published rumors, speculation, assumptions, opinions as well as factual information. The blog has been featured in Paper Magazine, New York Magazine, Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar. Follow Popculturediedin2009 on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.