NEW YORK – Become one of Mariah Carey's "lambs" and peek into her stream of consciousness, read RuPaul's descriptions of jaunts to drag-queen joints or scan Moby's account of removing a toothpaste stain from the crotch of his pants.
You don't even need the supermarket tabloids to do it. These days, such titillating tidbits come from the horses' mouths.
Web logs – online journals called "blogs" by those in the know – are hotter than ever in Hollywood lately.
Carey's, www.mariahcarey.com, became infamous when she posted incomprehensible rants just before being hospitalized for exhaustion last year. The entries created a publicity migraine for the singer/actress and made many speculate about whether she was suffering from drug addiction.
While sometimes amusing and insightful, more often these Web logs fall into the "too much information" category. Does anyone really want to read about Moby's dream about being chased by gun-toting gang members in a church yard on www.moby.com, or discover that RuPaul's shrink thinks the entertainer's habit of going to bed at 6 a.m. and waking up at noon is one of the ways he avoids the world on www.rupaul.com?
Apparently, the answer is yes. And no.
"I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with having a Web log, as long as it's honest and it has something that expounds on more of the person's art and the artist as a person," said Dave Ebersole, 22, of Philadelphia, who confessed to finding Moby's diary entries interesting.
"Do we really need to know a lot about their private lives? No," countered Cristina Barden, 33, a New York City celeb-news buff. "This voyeurism doesn't interest me. I have enough boredom and normalcy in my own life – I don't need to read about a star's."
Web logs are usually just part of official celebrity sites, many of which – like www.jeffbridges.com and www.melaniegriffith.com – inform visitors of causes the entertainer believes in and projects he or she is working on, with occasional star-penned comments woven into the content.
But increasingly, the medium has moved toward revealing, well, pretty much everything.
Celeb-gossip gurus say blogs can take the often-harsh media middleman out of the performer-audience equation, allowing stars to communicate more directly with those who idolize them.
"The Internet has provided a way for celebrities to speak right to their fan base, instead of speaking to reporters who burn them time and again," said Newsweek entertainment writer B.J. Sigesmund. "This is a way to give themselves coverage they like."
Hmm. Let's check in with RuPaul to see what sort of press he gave himself on Jan. 9…
"...just got back from the Friday night drag show at 'peanuts,'" he wrote. "since my days and nights of getting 'crunked up' are long over, i need a club that can entertain me without 'booze and pills.' ... i need a club that's edgy, warped and twisted with good lighting ... 'peanuts' is the answer …the club members consist of 60 percent transsexuals, 30 percent 'tranny-cruisers' and 10 percent others. i think i fit into every category..."
And although Moby tried to clarify certain rumors in one of his entries, he seems to be protesting too much.
"There is a photo that's circulating of me in a tuxedo doing something to my, um, crotch," wrote the singer on Jan. 5. "What I'm actually doing is using a sharpie (a black magic marker…) to cover up a toothpaste stain on my tuxedo … Nothing lascivious going on in the photo, just me using a black magic marker to make my tuxedo look more presentable. Cos even though it was in fact a toothpaste stain it looked a lot like I had, uh, well, you know. And I hadn't. It was toothpaste. From my suitcase."
Web logs by Tinseltown's characters have become so rampant they've even inspired a number of parodies. One satirical Web site, www.dailyprobe.com, has created fake Web logs for everyone from Anne Heche to Charles Nelson Reilly.
"We pick celebrities we think are ripe for mocking," said Daily Probe editor-in-chief Travis Ruetenik. He said the fad lends itself to satire because stars who post online entries are "consciously opening up their personal lives."
Web logs do serve a purpose or two. They provide a way for pop icons to act like ordinary people. And they can be an effective means of generating publicity, deepening loyalty among followers and attracting new fans.
"We do care about them. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about them," Sigesmund said of the stars. "Web logs feed the frenzy even more."