The Cult of Celebrity

What is our obsession with the lives of celebrities?


Between 1980 to 2003, celebrity coverage doubled in news magazines. Let me be clear: these stats refer to NEWS magazines— specifically Time and Newsweek. Add to that the explosion of shows like TMZ and the tabloid shift from “weird news” to celebrity scandal and drama, and we see a disturbing trend in the American consumption of delusional intimacy.


Every trip to the grocery store ends with waiting in lines next to racks of celebrity gossip. Who is getting divorced? Who is pregnant? Who is cheating? Who cares?!?

Author Charles Eisenstein says, “We are likely to know more about the ‘private lives’ — matters of sex, family, and health — of celebrities than of our next-door neighbors.” The intimacy that many Americans feel they have with celebrities like movie stars and athletes will always be a one-way street; their level of involvement in the lives of these celebrities is unrequited, and cannot be nourishing.

I try very hard to stay away from that whole scene, but I fail.  I do know more about certain celebrities than I know about my own neighbors, and I don’t think I try hard enough to remedy that.

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Sara Quinn

Sara Quinn

Although she began college life as an art major, Sara was quickly sucked into the whirly depths of psychology. She spent a few years working as an educator and eventually became a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.Now she gets to make stuff for a living, which suits her fine.Sara co-owns Squid&Crow, and lives in Pasco with Brendan and Lila. She happily spends hours composing, coloring, and texturing (when she’s not geeking out on comic books and video games).

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  • Suzy Garza Higley

    I know!!! I hate that I can’t help but peek (shamefully) over at those magazines as I wait. I rarely buy…(it’s my guilty pleasure when I’m sick or on vacation)…but if I do…it’s like I’m buying drugs, checking over my shoulder. It’s sick. I know I don’t care about these people really and I know it’s mostly fake, and yet…I like numbing out to the stupidity. I can’t explain. I need help! Lol…the whole country needs an intervention! Lol…

  • Becca Lingley

    ugh I’m the same way!

  • Cari McGann McGee

    I can’t explain why the news coverage of celebs has risen, but I know I read it because it’s reassuring that people who make gobs of money and are far more beautiful than I, have problems, too.

  • Lou Galindo

    Ha! I had started writing a similar post a while back but scrapped it because I was embarrassed to admit that I know way more about the Kardashians or the Baldwins than I would like to admit. What is wrong with us??