Like many folks, I’m fascinated by the phenomenon of celebrity gossip. Who wasn’t shocked to see Lindsay Lohan in trouble again just a few days after leaving rehab? Yes, I checked out TMZ to see Britney Spears’ shaved head the second I heard about it—and to see the multiple wigs she has used since returning to public life. And the Michael Vick-dog fighting story … well, that just defies explanation.
Back in the day, the motion picture studio used gossip columnists by leaking stories to the press, which became an extremely effective publicity tool. Most actors were contractually obligated to share every aspect of their lives as movie stars. And if an actor was on the outs with the studio heads, you can bet the public heard rumors about an actor’s drug problems, alcoholism, and sexual preferences. Doesn’t seem too different from what we’re seeing today.
In this day and age, I’m not sure why celebrities choose to reveal so much. If you’re a B-list actor or celebutaunt, I guess having your stint in rehab splashed everywhere from People magazine to CNN.com keeps you name circulating, but for all the wrong reasons. I would be less inclined to care if I didn’t see so much of it. Sure, I can turn off the TV or read a good book, but information travels so fast and by so many methods that it’s hard to avoid. I mean, I could get celebrity gossip on my cell phone if I choose. (I don’t.)
I am captivated by celebrity news that makes me stop and say, “Really? Did that just happen?” There is something grotesque in reveling in a movie star’s downfall or a politician’s romantic tryst revealed for all to see. On a basic level, I really have a problem with people who seem to have it all yet throw it all away when so many others are struggling for their opportunity to shine. But the reality is, I enjoy watching these train wrecks. And yes, I admit, I am part of the problem instead of the solution.
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