I vowed not to devote this space to dishing on popular culture, let alone advertising. I’m on record somewhere saying that gossipy ranting degrades us all. A few moths ago, I wrote of an epiphany I had in college, whereby I forsook critical writing forever (“Nobody likes a critic, March 18th). No, I reasoned, best to leave that sort of thing to Perez Hilton and his ilk.

But my vow of celibacy must be broken. A celebrity has given me cause. He is not terribly controversial, nor is he a bad guy; yet, somehow, this man, by his very ubiquity, is annoying the crap out of me. I can no longer restrain pen and tongue.

The object of my disaffection is Peter Wentz, the lyricist and bassist for Chicago-based rock band Fall Out Boy. He irritates me the way Shemp Howard did as a Stooge. Shemp managed to look and behave stupid in a way that was NEVER funny. And his partners put up with it. Those episodes sucked. I would yell at the TV: You’re not as (fill in the blank) as you think you are: funny, cool, talented, handsome, etc… Clearly, Shemp had few of these aspirations but Wentz has them all, and more. He portrays himself as an in-demand rock star or worse yet an independent artist.

And the mass media indulges this pop culture blip like he was all that. Every magazine in my house has pictures of this marginally talented goofball parading in and out of nightclubs, and not just on the gossip page but EVERYWHERE. His clothes. His house. His hair…

Oh my God, his hair. Like the aforementioned Shemp, the stuff on his head looks ridiculous. Not fun, not cool, not pretty, it only draws more attention to his strange looking face. And it makes me want to punch him. He has a ‘punch me’ face.

And then he marries and knocks up that booby nose-job who fake sung on Saturday Night Live. There are pages of wedding photos in all of my wife’s sugary airplane magazines. I stare at them in disbelief. Two mooks joined in holy matrimony. Now it’s their hair, their faces. Not just him anymore. My inexplicable disdain is multiplying. Exponentially.

Am I secretly envious of his hair (I have none), his girl, or his fame? Who knows? These things cannot be analyzed too deeply. Or can they? Details magazine has a piece this month that attempts to uncover “that guy.” Funny reading unless you see yourself in the descriptions.

I’ll stop. I am degrading myself. But tell me, Gentle Reader: am I alone in this? Is Peter Wentz not “that guy” for anyone else?