Thursday, August 14, 2008

Celebrity Break-Ups/Affairs: It's just not news

I wrote about the breakup of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore a few weeks ago in a mocking, sarcastically-serious manner, which many of you found entertaining. I think some of you likely guessed the fact that when I am looking through news sources to find things that are interesting to comment upon here at Culture Kills, a particular kind of story just irks me.

Yes, I am referring to the celebrity breakup story.

Why is it news at all? Really, we all know that in the parlance of our time a celebrity relationship lasts about as long as a fart in the wind, and yet, that's not what the media would lead you to believe. They make it seem like every time a couple breaks up, it is somehow this huge cataclysmic event.

Most relationships don't work out. I know it, you know it... why does it seem like the media doesn't get that, or perhaps more accurately doesn't want to get that. I don't have anything invested in their relationship, so why are they telling me about it. I don't care at all. News about an upcoming remake, or that an actor just signed up for a particular movie or television show, or that a musician is working on new material... that affects me, and thus, that interests me.

And the fact that this kind of information actually worms its way out of entertainment pages and onto the front pages of news sites sort of sickens me. I mean on Election Day 2006, the fact that Britney Spears had filed for divorce from Kevin Federline was "Breaking News" in a huge banner at all the major media news sites above stories about faulty voting machines, charges of corruption, crimes, disasters... all those things which are much more important stories that day.

However, I do make one glaring exception in my disdain for this type of coverage.

If a politician or celebrity has been particular sanctimonious about extra-marital affairs, premarital sex, homosexuality or a similar subject and they get caught being a complete hypocrite, well, then they should rightfully be called out for that. If someone says that they are all about family values, and then it turns out that they divorced a wife who was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment or was a survivor of a bad car accident, well, they should be confronted for their seeming hypocrisy and generally shitty behavior. If they were someone who demonized gays and smeared them with all sorts of awful names and then got caught in a men's room soliciting for sex or a skeleton came out of that particular closet, well, they should be roundly criticized for being a hypocrite. And if an actor or actress states they don't want to kiss other actors who are not their husband or wife, well, that's fine... but if they have an affair after making such comments, they had better expect a huge backlash, and rightfully so. But in all these cases, it isn't the actual event that is the newsworthy item... it is character questions they open up... especially with politicians, because really I couldn't care if they were unfaithful to a partner or were into kinky stuff, but it really bothers me when someone demonizes another person for supposed sins that they themselves are guilty of.


Micgar said...

Matt-yes! I am tired of the who split up with who bs! It's the least interesting bit of news to me!

Bart said...

Unfortunately, we aren't the least common denominator factor that these particular gossip reports are aimed at. While we don't care, there are plenty of teenage girls and soccer moms (to name a few stereotypical groups) that gush over these things and love hearing about them. As long as they keep showing interest, buying the print, watching the shows, and viewing the sites that cater to these sorts of things, we're going to be subjected to it.

MC said...

Part of me wonders if that whole Clinton-Lewinski thing had a huge impact on the overwhelming number of these stories now... like it legitimized all relationship-centered reporting from politics to celebrity gossip... or is it more linked to the rise of gossip sites like TMZ et al.