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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