Okay, confession time: I love entertainment news sites.
It’s not so much the content of the news…because, let’s face it, if you’re searching for nourishing, intellectual information, “OMG” and “E!” are not going to provide it. Rather, what I love about these sites is what most entertainment-news-fans love: the ability to study – and be fascinated or repulsed by – other people. New pictures and articles are uploaded so frequently, it’s like sitting in front of a window that overlooks L.A., New York, and London all at the same time.
This neverending wealth of useless information fulfills an addiction that many of us are finding harder and harder to resist – instant gratification. With smartphones and everything from Facebook to Twitter to Skype, there is never a moment when we are unplugged. (Unless, like me, you make it a point to purposely unplug several times a week.) The more we get used to the instant gratification that comes with technology, the more we crave it. There’s something about logging into a social networking site or a celebrity news site that – I’m willing to bet – triggers all of the same neurotransmitters as a narcotic painkiller or a box of Godiva chocolates.
That said, I only enjoy these sites in small doses. While the fascination comes from my ultimate interest in psychology (it’s like getting to study the choices these people make on a daily basis, without any repurcussions!), after a while, the news gets boring. There isn’t much deviation. A celebrity’s pregnant. A celebrity overdosed. A celebrity said something on live TV they shouldn’t have, and issued a public apology before an overzealous activist group could tear them limb from limb. Blah, blah, blah.
That’s why I find it funny that the most common recurring comment on celebrity news stories is, “Why do we care?”
Well, that begs the question – “why do you care?” I hate to point out the obvious, but every one of those comments is posted by someone who physically clicked on (and presumably read) the article. Yet this happens, again and again and again. Every article. Someone can’t understand why we’d care that Jessica Simpson wore unflattering boots on a stroll through LAX. Which, I must point out, is a valid complaint! It’s not the most stimulating news story ever. But then, Unhappy Commenter probably shouldn’t have clicked on a headline that read: “Jessica Simpson wears unflattering boots at LAX”.
You get the picture.
The other discrepancy that is blowing my mind lately is the brouhaha over Pippa Middleton. (Yes, I’m talking about Pippa again. Get over it, folks. It ain’t gonna stop any time soon!) E! Online features a new photo of Pippa almost every single day – sometimes, more than one. The pictures are inevitably snapped as Miss Middleton strolls through London on her way to work. If I were asked my own opinion, I’d say the pictures are lovely – Pippa is always snappily dressed, classy and coordinated from head to toe, often in pieces that can be identified as coming from midlevel stores. No designer diva complex here! She puts up with the paparazzi, without directly telling them to bugger off, and without going to the other end of the spectrum by mugging for the cameras like a Hilton/Kardashian wannabe. It must be insanely annoying to have your picture snapped eight thousand times as you do the same routine every day – coffee, then work, and back again. Yet Pippa handles it all gracefully.
What I see on every one of these photos is a barrage of complaints about, “who cares?” and “why is it Pippa again?” and “why don’t you post pictures of the ACTUAL PRINCESS?!”.
Mmkay, let’s take a little looksie at the facts here: (a) Millions of people care. She’s the sister of a princess, she’s gracious and lovely and impeccably fashionable, and she’s (to an extent) relatable. She leaves her home every weekday to head to work. (b) It’s Pippa again because of all the people who post on her pictures complaining about her! The content of comments or the emotions behind browser hits do not matter, folks. Numbers are numbers, and this chick’s numbers put her popularity through the roof. You fuel the fire the more you complain, so by all means, keep it up! (c) Do you really think, if it were that easy to snap photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, we’d be looking at her non-royal sister all the time? Kate doesn’t exactly waltz through the streets of London every day. I’m sure E! is salivating for pictures of Catherine Middleton, but if Pippa’s who you’ve got, she’s better than no Middleton at all.
So why am I blogging about this?
Honestly, there’s no big moral to the story. I’m simply so amused by how predictable the comments on entertainment websites are. And I think I’ve finally figured it out: every one of these people is in denial. There’s no way around the fact that they sought out the article/photo they’re complaining about. “Lindsay Lohan struts her stuff in a bikini” isn’t sly jargon for “Brain bending algorithms”, nor is “Miranda Kerr takes baby Flynn to the park” a secret code for “Heavy-hitting political discussions”. All of you Unhappy Commenters know what’s behind those links. And you all click on them.
So, why bother denying it? Are you so ashamed after looking at pictures of Beyoncè’s pregnant belly (is it real? is it prosthetic?) that you have to assuage your guilt by posting a derisive comment? If so, I suppose I say more power to you. It’s not going to hurt anyone.
I, for one, am not in denial. I love my celeb-sites. I find no shame in getting an emotional gratification out of pseudo-spying on celebrity lives. (Though when paps clearly cross the line, like taking pictures of celeb children on school property, I become livid!) I peruse for a few minutes, get my fill, and my instant stalkerish gratification is complete.
Isn’t it all the rage to “come out” in Hollywood these days? Admit your every deep, dark secret? Well, I’m out.
And I’ll be back for a Pippa refill in a few hours.