There is a sizable group of my colleagues here at EW who regularly send out e-mails about Lauren Conrad (pictured, right), Heidi Montag (left), and the MTV “reality” series The Hills, of which I’ve seen maybe a total of five minutes. Each time I’ve tried tuning in, I barely made it through 30 seconds before my brain was dripping out of my ears from boredom, which was even worse than the 60 seconds it took for that to happen when watching The Hills‘ precursor, Laguna Beach. (This was far more entertaining.) There are, however, plenty of morsels of pop-culture I don’t quite understand, so I’ve never felt it was really worth complaining about the cult of The Hills.

Er, until now. Off the Perez “report” that Lauren and Heidi are appearing together on the cover of Rolling Stone — somehow Big Huge News since “This is the first time in two years that L.C. and Heidi have been on a photo shoot together” (OMG!!!!) — I’ve finally reached the limit of my patience with their fame. While they haven’t approached Paris Hilton level insanity (yet), I feel the same way about these “reality” stars that I felt about the “hotel heiress” circa 2000, namely, who the bloody hell are these women, and exactly how and why have they become Big Deals?

Seriously, tell me. This specter has invaded my life to the degree that I actually would really appreciating knowing why it’s there, taunting me with a vacant stare from the supermarket check-out line about how it’s been “betrayed” by “Spencer,” “Audrina” and “Brody.”