Celebrity Blogs and Entertainment Blogs - Information or Obsession?
If you're an avid internet surfer, chances are pretty high that you've stopped at a celebrity website or celebrity blog from time to time. Perhaps you went there to check on the latest celebrity fiasco or you simply wanted to look to see what the fashion gurus were recommending. In any case, you are not alone.
A quick check at the popular celebrity gossip website www.PerezHilton.com shows that nearly 1000 people have commented on recent postings. While this doesn't sound like a lot, the fact that this site crashes regularly because of too much web traffic is proof enough that gossip sites aren't being ignored.
Anna Nicole Smith
Why We Read About Everyone Else
Are you one of the many that head over to the celebrity websites along with the news websites first thing in the morning? If so, you may want to stop, for a moment, to consider why you're there in the first place. For many of us, it's just a force of habit. Of the sites we visit first thing in the morning, that's where we go before we find out the news of the world and of our country.
What's more is that these higher quality news sites are actually beginning to direct us to the celebrities' blogs and gossip sites – as though the news were just as important and as relevant.
The truth is that many people look to celebrity gossip as a way to often feel better about their lives. By seeing the chaos (often) in the world of celebrities, it's easy to feel better about our own lives. We don't have cameras in our faces wherever we go, nor do we have journalists picking apart our every action and movement in the world. At the same time, we're encouraging this kind of celebrity dissection by reading gossip blogs in the first place.
What is this telling us about our culture? Are we losing ourselves in our focus on others that we may never meet and who we can truly never know? This is something that becomes the discussion beginning when we realize that headlines about the death of Anna Nicole Smith are streaming across www.cnn.com, while news about impoverished countries gets pushed to the bottom of the page.
Are we a culture that's celebrity obsessed or are we a culture that simply needs a relaxing way to feel better about ourselves?
The Celebrity Factor
The fact is that we admire celebrities, even from the distance between us. We envy the clothes they wear, the homes they have, and the partners they are with. We want to be a part of that high class 'society' where only a select few are allowed. In celebrities, we see the dreams we keep to ourselves and we are influenced to make decisions in our lives based on what certain celebrities. How often have you bought a certain face cream or pair of jeans because a celebrity was said to have used that cream or worn those jeans?
Celebrities are the ideal images of ourselves. They are put together, always airbrushed and perfect, and they always have enough money to dress impeccably, to be the perfect weight, and to be healthy and happy – or so it seems. In a very real sense, they are paintings that we can look at, admire, but never touch.
So, the closest thing we have to living their lives is reading blogs about their lives. We want to follow certain celebrities we admire to find the hints we need to somehow create our lives in that same image. We want to find out how they 'do it' and how they can help us be better people – like we envision them to be.
In a very real sense, we are trying to copy these celebrities from what we read in the blogs.
The Car Crash Factor
Of course, the idea that we are trying to emulate certain people is not a new one. We try to imitate people in our lives that will never be in the celebrity gossip columns (thankfully). But when it comes to celebrities, there's an almost unhealthy obsession with finding out the bad things that happen to them.
We look for flaws in people and we look for things they've done that we can mock in our groups of friends. Like the car crash at the side of the road, we can't seem to turn away from the celebrities that continuously get into trouble – Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, etc. We hunt for new pieces of their messed up lives to see just how they've gotten into trouble again – all the while, comparing the decisions we would make if we were in their shoes.
Again and again, we look at celebrity blogs to see just how these people are stumbling. And many gossip columns are relentless in finding and following celebrities that are prone to mistakes and missteps that might bring in more readers to the websites. www.PerezHilton.com for example often points out even the smallest of grievances against celebrities, scrawling white comments on their photos to further label their actions as being either fascinating or humiliating.
But we don't turn away from these celebrity car crashes. Instead, we look for updates to see what other dark secrets might be revealed.
Are We Addicted? I Say Yes, Yes, Yes
An addiction is defined as a habit we can't control and a habit that begins to take over our lives, making our everyday tasks hard to complete. Perhaps addiction is too strong a word for the obsession with gossip blogs and websites, but it seems like we're not too far from needing rehabilitation.
But when you find yourself checking the gossip sites a few times an hour, it might be time to start looking into a 'recovery program.'
While there's nothing wrong with looking at gossip blogs, there is something unnatural about looking for up to the minute information. Here are some ways to start curbing your obsession right now (if you really want to):
- Take the sites out of your favorites – When you have to type in the site, you might not visit them as often.
- Try limiting yourself to morning, lunchtime, and dinnertime updates.
- Think about just relying on major news websites for information – www.msn.com and www.msnbc.com and www.cnn.com all have entertainment sections that will give you updates and stories, as well as gossip.
And this doesn't mean that you can still read those gossip magazines while you're cutting back from the gossip websites – that would be cheating on your 'less gossip' rehab.
Who Can You Trust?
In the end, it's not about whether or not it's 'right' to read gossip blogs and websites, but rather whether or not you're even getting the correction information in the first place.
Too often, these stories area fabricated by columnists without all the information they need. These stories might be fun to read, but if you're only reading about what 'might' have happened, this can be a bit of a time waster.
There are a few celebrity websites that seem to be pretty dead on with their information - www.people.com, for example. Others that you can find through traditional news agencies, like Entertainment Weekly, are also reliable sources as they have fact checkers and more traditional journalism tactics.
But there's no denying that gossip blogs are fun to read. The snarky comments that these authors make cause us to laugh in the middle of our workdays and can help to alleviate our stress.
Gossip websites and blogs aren't really evil - or as evil as some people have made them out to be. They can be a fun part of your day. And while you might need a little rehab for your constant clicking over to the lives of celebrities, there's nothing wrong with finding out how the famous people live.
We might envy their lives, but we certainly don't envy the over-exposure of their lives, do we?
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