by Ben Cohen
One of the most odious aspects of modern celebrity culture is the rise of the sex tape. Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Ray J and a host of other D-list celebrities shot to stardom not because the had talent, but because they filmed their sexual exploits and released them on the internet.
It is a sad state of affairs when intimate moments with a loved one are sold for cash and fame, but it is nevertheless a successful strategy, and has spawned careers that would have otherwise never existed.
For a history of the celebrity sex tape, check this fascinating article in Elle.com. It presupposes that the celebrities do not necessarily want to have their private tapes made public, but also makes the point that they can be exploited for gain, and are now part and parcel of modern celebrity culture.
Personally, I take a more cynical view. People like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are so relentlessly narcissistic that I believe they purposefully released their own tapes knowing full well they would reap attention and glory. It is a sign of a seriously decaying media culture if Paris Hilton's panties generate more traffic than North Korea testing nuclear weapons, and an indication that our priorities are in dire need of a shake up.