The Party Boy Rorschach Test

There was a young man in Melbourne who had a party. “A little get-together with mates”, he called it. The problem was, he posted it to Myspace and hundreds of kids showed up trashed and rambunctious.

Of course, the cops were called and they rolled up with the dog squad to put a clamp on things. The party didn’t end there, though, it spilled out into the streets, into a mini riot of sorts. Broken windshields. Taunting of police.

Tipped-over bird baths.

Not surprisingly, the neighbors were less than thrilled.

“There was jumping on cars, just horrendous. Just like a football crowd, the noise was really bad,” one woman said.

“Just hundreds of kids, big groups, large groups coming up and down the street and they were basically throwing bottles, smashing things, picking bricks up and smacking them against the lamp-posts,” said another.

A man said people were in his front lawn, trying to rip a metal stake out of the ground.

“[It] just was out of control. Just didn’t quieten down for a couple of hours. The police helicopter was up about, looking around,” he said.

But as the host of perhaps Melbourne’s biggest-ever teen party, Corey Delaney isn’t able to recall much of the big night.

“I can’t remember. I was just off my head. Can’t remember,” he said.

The Australian media reported the events with hyperbole equal to American standards of “The Youth of Today are Out of Control!” People were shocked, SHOCKED! There was a cry for his punishment, all the parents of Australia wanted to line up and spank him. Other kids wanted to beat him up.

With one party-turned-bad, he turned into the poster child for teenage rebellion/stupidity. Not surprisingly, the events of that night were carried by all the news networks and became the story de jour. While war wages in Iraq, a giant ice sheet breaks off in Antarctica, and the world economy sits on the edge of recession, this wayward ‘get-together’ took over the Australian news. Because of this, Corey Delaney became an instant celebrity.

He appeared soon after on the Australian A Current Affair, in an interview that would kick up his 15 minutes of fame to 20, become an Internet sensation, and forever divide the public into two camps, a Rorschach test of sorts.

  1. Corey as rebel, turning the media’s bullshit back on itself.
  2. Corey is nothing but another spoiled, hedonistic brat.

You make the call.

It’s no wonder why Corey is a ratings magnet. He brings in young viewers who fell in love with Corey’s defiance, and their parents too. The media can sell it as a symptom of youth culture gone amuck, the drinking and materialism and lack of traditional convention. (nipple rings!) The boogeyman known as myspace also has a role in this circus. It’s a perfect storm of parents’ nightmares.

There’s that old saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I realize that if I was around Corey Delaney I would probably be annoyed by the kid, but given a choice between the reporter’s scolding and Corey’s blunt and truthful answers, I’ll go with the yellow glasses.

The party boy from Melbourne has such an innate grasp of marketing and media he played that reporter effortlessly. This is a 16 year-old that knows nothing but the major machinations of culture: style, soundbite, attitude.

Most amateurs get on T.V and babble, waste their time stumbling through mediocre, safe, talking points. Most kids would have acted contrite, played the role of punished and repentant. Corey, however, hurled a beautifully concise rebuttal to all her silly points. He refused to play along with A Current Affair’s charade, instead using it to his advantage to further his notoriety and its economic potential.

“Take off your glasses and apologize to us.”

“I’ll say sorry but I’m not taking off my glasses.”

“Why not?”

“Cuz’… they’re famous.”

Fashion faux pas? Or Marketing chutzpah?

Isn’t it ironic that while the reporter is chastising him for his actions and belittling his persona, she’s helping to perpetuate his celebritihood. This is the clip that has gone viral and has been seen all over the world. She helped him rise to Internet glory, as documented by Gawker.

It’s a mutual relationship. Afterwards, I bet you, the producer walked up to Corey and told him he did great. Thanked him profusely. Gave him a card and told him he’d be calling him again.

In fact, the show did do a followup. And plenty of others bit at his heels for an interview. Even while the party boy was still ducking his parents’ cell phone calls. One DJ paid him to come on the show and then tried to rip off his glasses. Corey fled, his iconic sunnies intact, but returned to collect his fee.

Despite what we may think of him — his fluorescent clothes, his bleached locks — it’s undeniable that Corey embodies confidence, comfortableness in a televised realm, and bold defiance; and thus represents the essence of today’s youth, as silly looking as that is.

“You’re pretty happy with the way you look and the attitude you got, are you?”

“Yeah, my parents aren’t, but I am.”

He’s spun this media attention into a job. He’s now a professional promoter. They’re calling him the next Paris Hilton, a celebrity party-goer.

16 years old.

Nipple rings.

Corey gloated about his fame last night on A Current Affair.

“A week ago, I was on the building site working hard, and now they put me on national tour,” he said. “I’ve got an agent – life’s good.”

Being a child of Andy Warhol, Cell Phones and the Internet, A Current Affair and Paris Hilton, he recognized the opening and took it. The media spotlight produces gold coins. In America, a hooker caught having sex with the governor of New York nets a million dollars; in Australia, the going rate for a party boy who threw a destructive rager is $100,000.

“What do you have to say to other kids who are thinking of partying when their parents are out of town? “

“Get me to do it for you.”

However you view the Corey Delaney phenomenon, there’s no denying that it involved a natural gift of spin, self-promotion, and an inate recognition of iconography. The glasses. The Barbie blanket. There’s also a video of him getting into a fight, which some contend is a hoax. If so, it appears Corey could be playing both sides of the controversy, as some shirts on his website that say BAN COREY would suggest.

I am exactly twice this kid’s age, techinically old enough to be his father. (Geez, can you imagine me with a 16 year-old son? — shudder) I don’t relate to the look, the music, or the scene that this kid inhabits. (mega dance parties?!) When I was in high school I threw parties while my folks were away that were attended by 30 individuals — where we stood around the pool, staring into the chlorinated water, drinking Boones and listening to A Tribe Called Quest — and these were considered thrashing successes; so, there’s not a whole lot the two of us have in common, however I’m all for making the tabloid media look like fools.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

“We got to go but I suggest you go away and take a good, hard, long look at yourself.”

“I have. Everyone has. They love it.”

If only we would all believed that about ourselves, and had the kiwis to proclaim it on national television.

G’day, mate.


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