When his sex tape went public earlier this year, it merely cemented Kid Rock's nose-dive into that tacky level of celebrity culture where talent means less than tabloid notoriety, where people know you're famous but can't remember for what. Rock's artistic standing wasn't always so pathetic: The rap-rock jokester exploded out of Detroit in the late '90s with the playfully self-mocking Devil Without a Cause, but unlike his neighbor Eminem, he was all bravado, no hang-ups -- pure id with white-trash facial hair. Profound never, profane often, he rode his faux-pimp routine pretty far. But soon he fell into the public cesspool known as E! -- we saw him dating Sheryl Crow, standing up for Dubya, and making arena albums that no longer spoofed the rock-star mentality but instead desperately craved its trappings. He longs to be our new Bob Seger (not exactly a lofty aspiration), but he's really our male Paris Hilton.
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