Unless you are on a total media fast, you’ll probably know that the ‘big news’ of the week is not a still missing plane with families in anguish over whether they’ll ever know what happened, nor desperate refugees being imprisoned indefinitely, nor Our Tone making a break for the 18th century – no, no, dear readers, the really big news of the week (and beyond I’m sure) revolves around the demise of Chris Martin & Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage. Le sigh.
I actually had to turn off this afternoon’s Channel 9 news because lo-and-behold, that ‘news’ broadcast includes a gossip segment, with Martin & Paltrow’s separation as the top story. Ugh.
I’ve made a conscious decision that I won’t be pouring over celebrity blogs, gossip websites, the Twitter feeds of ‘unnamed sources’ close to the couple, or feeding myself a steady diet of he said/she said if it comes to that. Here are just some of the reasons:
1. Contrary to their assumed predisposition towards having a ‘perfect’ marriage, because of their ‘perfect’ genetic pool of the looks of actors and the sex appeal of musicians (plus British), there is no truth in the notion that ‘perfect couples’ exist in real life. None.
2. They are getting a divorce. That is actually very sad (unless you’re an ‘entertainment reporter’ or tabloid editor).
3. They have young children, who do not deserve to have their friends’ parents ogling them in the school yard and whispering, let alone to have random people espousing their theories about the why/who/where of their mum and dad’s relationship breakdown on television, on the internet, on magazine stands, all over the world.
4. I am not in their circle of friends or family. When someone in my circle is going through hard times, it is shit, and I don’t want anyone talking about it out of school.
5. It is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. That’s a shocking one isn’t it? The good people of WHO, New Idea, Trash Talk Weekly, local lady news website that doesn’t deserve naming et al do NOT want you to ponder that.
6. Even though I live in a world that tells me that I should feel that I’m intimately acquainted with people whose music I sing along to in the car, or whose movies I enjoy, I’m not. Refer to point 5.
7. Nothing good comes of it (except ratings). Give me one up-side to us knowing any details of their divorce….. *crickets*.
8. It’s not kind, or constructive/worthwhile/beneficial, to wade through the dross of someone else’s life. Note that I didn’t say that it might not ‘entertain’ people. It’s beneath us, simple as that.
9. Our thirst for such ‘entertainment’ sometimes verges (or cannonballs) into murky waters. Why do we care – so much?
10. It promotes the notion that ‘celebrities’ are not simply people who do things that the culture has chosen to exult. Hold on to your hats – actors, singers, people in ‘the biz they call show’ are actually just people. People who create, and love, and even sell their wedding photos to magazines, still make mistakes and feel insecure at times. The pretty people aren’t spared life’s cruelties and challenges.
11. If we make celebrities our touchstones for how to be cool, or ‘perfectly’ married, or fashionable, or ‘so hot right now’ or look to them as icons to be feted and worshipped, rather than people’s whose creativity we enjoy, well, I’m sorry to be harsh, but we’re idiots headed for a fall. I love a Coldplay track as much as the next person, but Chris Martin is just a talented guy on the radio, not my spiritual guru.
12. Someone along the line is sure to intimate, or state outright, that these A-listers ‘deserve’ this heartbreak somehow, or at least the ensuing media storm, that by ‘putting themselves out there’ (in careers that come with media coverage) it means that everything shallow and jealous and mean-spirited about me (and you) is allowed, nay required, to comment on the demise of their marriage, to quietly delight in them being ‘taken down a peg or two’ and gobble up every detail as if it was our very life-blood. Ugh.
Phew, that was a bit full-on wasn’t it?
I’m not generally big on ranty things because sooner or later we all trip over ourselves and our table thumping sermonising, but I’ve been kind of astounded at the way this sad news has become consumer heroin, with so many people lusting for a hit, or dealing, by posting links.
Let the record clearly show that I am a lover of pop culture, I’ve got a track record as a Kardashian fan and follower. In my younger days, I devoured trashy magazines like their pages were my salvation. Yes, I’m even guilty of thinking ‘aha… sucker’ when some young starlet’s latest act of youthful stupidity gets plastered all over the internet (I don’t think I’m alone there). And then there’s the elephant in the room (for me anyway)…. SO MUCH mindless television, my constant companion and soothsayer…. so you see, this isn’t a ‘you bad people over there’ rant, at all.
I just seem to be in a place where I don’t want to clutter up my head with this stuff anymore. So much so that last week, I cancelled my Foxtel subscription, which for a TV obsessed girl like me is kind of like, well, no metaphor springs to mind, but it’s a bloody big deal. ‘Huge, I have to go shopping now’ (see what I mean?). I’ve disconnected Foxy and put him in the spare room.
The challenge in my new pay-TV free world, now complete with unfollowing E! News and On Air With Ryan Seacrest and anyone else gossipy on Facebook, is to find better things to munch on…. thank god for Kraft Cream Cheese Spread, and for the stack of library books I borrowed yesterday!