Don’t hassle the Bazzel 

Celeb gossip with a local spin

click to enlarge SAVING LIVES: David Bazzelhoff gears up for a day at the beach.
  • SAVING LIVES: David Bazzelhoff gears up for a day at the beach.

The world is getting smaller. That's either good news or bad news depending on how much attention you like to receive on a daily basis. Now everyone, almost everywhere, is Google-able, on Facebook or posting daily updates to Twitter. We just want to know what everyone else is up to. Or in some cases, we just want everyone else to care about what we're up to.

It's a cyber-world where nobodies turn into celebrities through viral videos, followers and “friends.” This need or desire for celebrity has exploded over the past few years. Celebrity gossip sites are among the most popular at-work time-wasters around. There's Perez Hilton, Defamer, TMZ, the list goes on.

New, incredibly simple blogging platforms, like Tumblr, allow anyone to start a site about anything. And lately, single-topic, crowd-sourced tumblelogs, as they're known, are all the rage. Author Farhad Manjoo did an excellent piece for Slate on the topic, highlighting such genius creations as “This is Why You're Fat” and “Look at this fucking hipster.” The former explores American obesity through pictures of disgustingly fatty foods (for example, the pizza pizza — a pepperoni pizza topped with pepperoni pizza Bagel Bites)— and the latter is a collection of, you guessed it, pictures of overly fashion-conscious hipsters. There's not much to it, but we're easily entertained, right?

It's no wonder, then, that as our virtual interactions make our worlds smaller and smaller, the celebrity gossip/tumblelog phenomenon starts to hit closer to home. Little Rock has given rise to three such sites. Before everyone got hung-over on the Kris Allen Kool-aid, there was the ever-popular “Fuck Yeah Kris Allen,” simply a collection of photos of the Conway crooner.

Another Tumblr site has crept up from the depths. It's called “Sweet Tea Body Count” and it follows the “death fetish” of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Jay Grelen, who writes the Sweet Tea column. Each new blog post is a recounting of the most recent death Grelen has decided to write about, complete with summary of the column and a description of the dearly departed.

But there is one subject now being covered by the local Tumblr-sphere that is so ripe it's hard to believe it has taken this long for the mockery to begin. I'm speaking of course of 103.7 The Buzz radio personality David Bazzel. He's everyone's favorite former Razorback and his chiseled good looks have won him, not only the affections of the ladies of Arkansas, but the honor of being named “best looking” by this publication for as long as we've taken votes. He is local celebrity personified. And so he must be ridiculed.

The “Daily Baz” (http://thedailybaz.tumblr.com), offers up old YouTube videos, doctored photos (“David Bazzelhoff” shows our local radio hero's face cropped atop the busty chest and red lifeguard shorts of David Hasselhoff, buoy in-tow) and quotes that are straight from the mouth of Bazzel himself (“I feel like I relate to Napoleon Dynamite”).

The site's creator, who preferred I did not use his name — we'll call him Jack —says it's all in good fun.

“I've got a lot of friends that listen to the Buzz and see David around town,” Jack says. “We just found ourselves talking about it over lunch one day and kind of joking around. I thought if we were getting such a kick out of it then others probably would to. I guess I hit on something.”

Within a short time of the site's launch, Tumblers declared it a mandatory “must re-blog,” and the link was re-tweeted by everyone from local bloggers and news personalities to state representatives.

“It was all about bringing something to a local audience that they could relate to,” Jack says. “I think it offers visitors the ability to get involved with the content, like submissions of photos, quotes, or just concepts. There aren't too many sites that allow that.”

Jack says he's working on an even bigger locally-oriented project, but didn't want to reveal the details just yet. In the meantime, he just hopes there are no hard feelings.

“Everybody knows that David has done a lot of good things for this state and the people of Arkansas,” Jack says. “He just has one of those personalities that makes it really easy to have some fun with it. I think he probably has better things to do than try to track me down, but if he decides to beat me up, hopefully he will let me film it for ‘The Daily Baz.' ”





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