Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say?

Popularity of Fordham Gossip Blogs Increases


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

FORDHAM—“Are some students genuinely hurt by what I write about them? Maybe,” said FUrez Hilton, FCRH ’08, a gossip blogger who often mocks Fordham students. Judging from the threats of death and physical violence he receives in the comments section of his blog, it appears as though many people are, in fact, offended by his posts. Some who comment call him “rude” and “insecure,” and one advises him to stop “living through other people.”

“Over 1,000 people a day want to see what I have to say,” Hilton said. “Regardless of how much they may hate it, they still read it, so I’m doing something right. Also, the fact that copycat blogs have popped up, all trying unsuccessfully to top me, proves that I’m doing something people are interested in.”

Four other Fordham-centered gossip blogs have emerged in the wake of FUrez Hilton’s success. One, LC Gossip Boy, lived an especially short life: after only one post, the blogger accidentally revealed his own identity, and his picture was then posted on FUrez Hilton. FUperficial and UgotRammed were both deleted shortly after inception, and LC Beverage, created by a group of FCLC freshmen, is now a “private” blog, after its creators “took too much heat,” according to Hilton.

Some attribute the plethora of student gossip blogs to Fordham’s small size. Others cite notorious celebrity gossip blogs, such as Perez Hilton, from which FUrez Hilton got its name. Whether you find them funny or cruel, innovative or stale, the popularity of gossip blogs, and the attention they receive, is undeniable.

Keith Eldredge, dean of students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), said that he “doesn’t see the value” in blogs that simply “make fun” of people. “Online social networking and blogs give us the ability to do great things,” he said. “I worry, however, when the topics are just an extension of schoolyard bullying. I also don’t want people to think that [the way Hilton talks on his blog] is typical of every Fordham student. It’s definitely not enhancing the community.”

Or is it? “Obviously it doesn’t necessarily add to the community,” said Claire O’Shaughnessy, FCLC ’10, who was targeted by Gossip Boy. “But it does help you feel more connected to the school because you know the people that are talked about [on the blog]. It makes it feel more like a school and a community than it usually does.”

Gossip Boy said that he created his blog because he thought it would be “fun to be the voice of what a lot of other people are thinking,” and achieve pseudo-celebrity status. “It’s exciting because there is that rush of the possibility of being caught, and because you’re starting something new that people will talk about,” he said. “Even though [it only lasted for one post], it did cause talk, and, as they say, ‘you’re no one until you’re talked about.’”

Hilton started his blog for similar reasons: to prove to a friend that he could “capture the attention” of Fordham. Gossip Boy conceded, “I hunger for attention just like anyone else does.”

Some of those mocked, however, do not welcome the attention. Hilton’s multiple posts about a very tan FCLC freshman boy, whom he refers to as an “Oompa Loompa” and a “Guido,” garnered an angry, expletive-filled Facebook message from the student, which Hilton posted on the blog.

Gossip Boy called O’Shaughnessy and her friends “tacky,” accused them of posting risqué Facebook pictures, and advised them to “wash off the self-tanner.”

Although Gossip Boy alluded to the girl’s floor in McMahon and listed some other identifying details, he never actually named his victims. “I find it hilarious that the people I talked about gave themselves away,” Gossip Boy said. “I didn’t use any names—they all put themselves in that category.”

“I never knew [my friends and I] were [considered] funny characters at this school,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Gossip Boy didn’t bring anything new to the table—he just talked about why he didn’t like us and was basically talking lots of s***…and he doesn’t even know us. I’ve never even talked to him,” O’Shaughnessy said.

Still, she said, “I’m not against gossip blogs. I wouldn’t have done anything to make him shut down his blog. I probably would’ve thought it was funny if we weren’t on it.”

Heather Marshall, FCLC ’10 and one of O’Shaughnessy’s suitemates, said, “Calling someone a b**** who spreads her legs in just about all of her photos is not gossip. It’s just trash talking, and it’s also not true.”

Marshall does admit, however, that while she considered Gossip Boy “ridiculous,” she remains “addicted to FUrez.”

“I’ve actually been in one of his posts before,” she said. “I wish LC had a blog with such a talented writer… [Hilton] writes his blog well, and he does it in a tasteful and funny manner.”

“I don’t think FUrez is mean—it’s funny,” said Jeremiah Hernandez, FCLC ’08. “I think he’s very determined to voice his own sentiments that other people don’t voice. It’s not necessarily commendable, but it is daring. Also, I was excited to read Gossip Boy when I heard about it, but it was all already said before. It wasn’t anything special.”

Gossip Boy, however, doesn’t regret his short-lived stint in the Fordham gossip blog limelight. “When everyone first found out [I was Gossip Boy], I didn’t want to leave my room,” he admitted. “I thought everyone was going to be staring at me. But I did this to myself, and at the end of the day, this experience definitely taught me something—not to care what people think.

“I would’ve [continued] the blog if no one had found out. But once everyone knew, continuing it just would’ve added flame to the fire. It was just supposed to be something fun…It wasn’t worth it anymore, and I just didn’t want to deal with people harassing me as a result of the blog,” he said.

“Over time, more Fordham gossip blogs will pop up,” said Gossip Boy. “Gossip always piques interest, and [this trend] is definitely going to be ongoing.”

“Can the next Lincoln Center student who tries to copy me and write a blog of his or her own be funny?” asked FUrez. “It’s like watching girls with no singing ability sing Mariah Carey on an American Idol audition. Just because they’re screaming doesn’t mean they’re hitting her high notes.”

“Blogs give us the ability to do great things and discuss issues,” Eldredge said. “I wish people wouldn’t…say mean things, and would understand the impact they have on others. Gossip is worse now. It’s permanent [online], and instead of four people seeing it, 400 people see it.”