I hover on the mouse, willing myself not to click. Gah! Involuntary reflex. I have clicked for the umpteenth time on Gawker’s gossip roundup. Pictures of shiny celebrities with their glossy hair and sparkling teeth spill across my laptop screen. Crap. I shrug, tap two fingers down on the keys and begin scrolling through lines and lines of the stuff that feeds my addiction.
It’s sad that I can name all three Kardashian sisters without ever having watched an episode of their show. I know which Real Housewives hate each other. I can totally tell that Rihanna and Drake staged their visit to a sex toy shop in Ottawa. I click incessantly through the images of Mariah’s twins. My boyfriend often points out that now I am a grad student and there isn’t any more space in my head for retaining these little tidbits of juicy information.
What really feeds the addiction to celebrity gossip? Is it merely a symptom, a path, that one chooses when falling down the proverbial Internet rabbit hole? Maybe not, since a lot of middle school is filled with memories of ripping out the latest poster of Backstreet Boys (no judgements please) from various magazines to pin up on the inside of my locker; in fact, our little circle of female friends used Tiger Beat magazines as currency.
Or is it that contemporary celebrity gossip is our version of the pantheon of gods? Instead of being scandalized when Zeus got down and dirty as an ox, we are scandalized by Shia LaBeouf openly declaring in an interview that he’d hooked up with Megan Fox while on the set of Transformers. How anybody could be attracted to that little boy-man is beyond me, but anyhoo. The point being is that instead of our pantheon of twelve gods, our deities are Brangelina, George Clooney, and all those who work with them. They fulfill our need for spectacle, lust, violence, greed – celebrities and the gossip they produce is good for us, so we can watch 15 seconds of Jersey Shore or feel grateful that we don’t have Bruce Jenner as a stepfather and feel infinitely better about ourselves.
I have already taken steps to address this problem. I limit myself to clicking on the dirtbags/gossip roundups on the Gawker media network twice a day. It’s kind of like a mildly digested version of celebrity gossip that doesn’t require me to go any further down the digital rabbit hole. It frees up time for other things – like playing Angry Birds.