I've got an essay, related to the book, over at Salon.com. If you're feeling too lazy to jump over there, I've attached the text here.
For the past sixteen years, I have made my living by interviewing celebrities. During that time I have been chased by paparazzi with Ben Affleck, eaten Velveeta with Dolly Parton, and hiked in the mountains with Brad Pitt. I’ve chatted with hundreds and hundreds of famous people. The days leading up to an encounter are always a typhoon of feverish preparation as I assemble a phonebook-sized dossier and pore over it, memorizing every detail of my subject’s life from birth onward.
If I know every facet of a star’s life and convey this in casual interjections (“if memory serves, you got a B minus on that test, yes?”) then he or she will be warmer and more receptive, knowing that I Get Them. And so I approach each article as if it were a dissertation. Did you know that Mary-Kate’s two horses are named CD and Star? Well, I do! Did I mention I’m 40 years old? And although my work requires me to scramble to feed the beast that is always hungry for intimate details of the glitterati, I suspect that I’m probably not alone in this regard. I’ve only professionalized it.
Often this information I discover is toe-curlingly personal, like my recent perusal of a website that exhibits a close-up photo of Katie Holmes’ ropy stretch marks, post-baby Suri. My two sisters have children, and I haven’t examined their stretch marks. I’m sort of vague about their kid’s birthdays, too. The irony is that – whether paid to, like me, or pay to, like your average cable subscriber and closeted ‘People’ reader -- after we inhale the endless minutiae of the famous all the livelong day – is Britney a good mother? Is Lindsay’s career in trouble? - the idea of doing the same thing with loved ones can be fatiguing. Who can bother?