Gossip, media, the rich, the poor

Until a few months ago I paid no attention to the gossip-papers-look-at-the-rich-and-famous side of the internet. Why should I pay attention when I’d not pre internet? Then one day I realized that this really was big business and that people who would perhaps never have looked at gossip sheets in the aisles of the grocery stores, too shame-faced to do so publicly, could be all over the gossip news on the internet. Plus, in the meanwhile, the internet and its blogs had made gossip kind-of-legitimate. Lots and lots of good color photos, I think, helped. The Enquirer couldn’t exactly boast good color on the news stands. Its air was that of the morgue. As for magazines like People and Us, yeah, those were popular, I guess. Well, I know they were popular. I’m just not familiar. But I imagine they also had the feel of archived news by the time they hit the stands. News that was still kind of alive and breathing but definitely for the album. Did and do they do candids? I don’t know. The internet loves its candids alongside the approved prints.

A few months ago I started looking at a few of these gossip blogs, curious about the phenomena. Some I looked at for a short enough while to decide the comments were too repulsive to continue scanning. So I looked for some to gossip blogs that were popular but less repugnant. Because I was interested in this huge acceptance of celeb gossip news and celebration of the rich. I wanted to read for a while what these bloggers were saying, how they presented the information, and I wanted to sift the comments and see what the milling populace had to remark.

I’m no researcher but the circus has a very Depression era feel to it, when women by the thousands swooned to Valentino. And I guess it should have a depression era feel to it, considering that these days the spread of wealth is back to as it was in the Roaring 20s. There are a number of aspects to take into account, such as the media’s part in selling and the part of PR (even bad news keeps your name afloat and making money), but then there is also the response of the public. And it seems to me that if you don’t have the money then the next best thing is adulating the aristocracy and vicariously living rich with every scrumptious bite of the media gossip meal. Clothes, houses, the romance of the ability to make seemingly big choices and do seemingly big things. One would think instead this disparity would result in outrage over the economic divide (and you do see some outrage expressed in vulgar comments that make the commentators seem gluttonous for more big rich news so they can vent some really revolting bile which seems more a matter of loving to wreck free-wheeling abusiveness anonymously online) but instead it seems to foster an acceptance of and assumed righteousness of the economic divide, just as there are people who really do believe that there is A Most Beautiful Woman In The World and That Woman Is She. Not only does it foster acceptance of that righteousness of the economic divide, granting a privilege of vicarious experience it casts a peculiar dust of wealth on those who have not. Middle Class individuals are able to make select choices, from that dusty menu, of how they’d like to resemble the wealthy, and pursue those choices. While those who Really Don’t Have end up even more despised, not just financially but in that sordid moral way that counts Those Obviously Without as less than human, which leaves them scrambling to find any small way that they can to emulate the Middle Class for sake of self-esteem and in order not to be so obviously without that they hope to not be immediately pegged as having No Value Whatsoever except as menial labor. Even though it’s nice to be wanted for the work force, it’s nice, after all, just to feel accepted as an individual with your own special eye on the world.

Of course it’s nicer to be wanted for the work force in a way that pays you legitimate money that will make you self-supporting, because the work force that has to beg for salaries that will adequately meet their needs translates into many viewing them as a subhuman work force that has to beg because they’re not worth anything.

Certainly not worth what the Most Beautiful Woman in The World is getting. Or The Most Beautiful Man.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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