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General Review: Celebrity Pictures and Gossip Magazines

posted on 21 April 2010 | posted in Miscellaneous

I can't find another genre of entertainment that tries so hard to elicit jealousy and envy in the reader than the celebrity gossip magazine. The flipside to the green-eyed monster is schadenfreude. Celebrity journalists know this and like to flip between the two human conditions, telling us stories of success and failure in the celebrity entertainment world.

One day we're hearing about the outrageous fortunes of a rising star, looking glamorous in celebrity pictures taken at some award ceremony - and next year we're hearing about his divorce and drug rehabilitation program. And we love it.

Many can't resist the adrenalin rush that both envy and shadenfreude pump into our bloodstreams - all good for the sales and visitor stats of celebrity gossip magazines and websites.

But is it really good for us? Look at all the chavs (UK vernacular for.....well in the US you have young guys with popped collars...chavs are that kind of person) - people take celebrity gossip too seriously - they want to be celebrities themselves. Big Brother hasn't helped as its given us the notion that you don't need to be talented to be a celebrity - you just need to able to sit on a sofa and swear a lot. That's a talent chavs excel in.

But I think there is a rising backlash against this cynical string-pulling of our emotions. Website gossip columns that allow for comments often reflect a new public opinion of people getting fed up with hearing about z-list celebrities and their shenanigans.

So the spell may appear to be breaking. Such emotional manipulation was bound to result in diminishing returns. You can only fool us so much for so long.

Perhaps the future of celebrity gossip will revolve around actually interesting stories and developments - who knows? But while we feed the monster with sales and hits, we will see more of the same.