Social Question

Kraigmo's avatar

I don't understand why celebrity news is so popular. Why do adults care about Angelina Jolie (and other celebrities') private lives?

Asked by Kraigmo (7389 points ) April 17th, 2010

Celebrity news is big in America.

I was trying to read some real news on Huffington Post, and even over there I was subjected to vast wastes of space devoted to the private lives of celebrities.

Isn’t it kind of pathetic for adults to care about these things?
What is the allure of celebrity news, and why do people seemingly prefer it over international news?

And doesn’t the focus on celebrities cause people miss out on more important and more interesting things?

I’m not talking about teens here; I do understand why teens would be interested in such things.

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30 Answers

ucme's avatar

I couldn’t care less about their private lives.I’ve more than a passing interest in Angelina Jolie’s private parts though, oh yes.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I think its because they are famous and everyone wants to see how they live their lives…

Your_Majesty's avatar

gossip materials.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I don’t care about their private lives (or their public ones either). Popular culture is all trash as far as I’m concerned.

bobloblaw's avatar

Because international news is oftentimes boring, depressing and, most importantly, removed from the average American. People lack interest b/c most are unaffected by most things that happen in the world. Think about it. People dying in Darfur. The Rwandan Genocide. The “honor” killings in the Middle East. The Child Brides of Yemen. Rampant human rights violations in China, Vietnam, etc. The AIDs epidemic in Africa. The earthquakes in China. Poland’s Prime Minister dying in a fiery plane crash. The US’ and Russia’s new Nuclear disarmament agreement. When was the last time any of that had a direct, meaningful effect on the average person? Don’t get me wrong. All of that is important, but it doesn’t affect the average person all that much and it is boring to most.

On the other hand, celebrity news is interesting b/c, at its most basic level, its high school all over again. People like gossip. People like to vicariously live through their social betters. It’s interesting for the same reason why soap operas are interesting. I think, fundamentally, it has to do with how our brains are built. We’re interested in social drama b/c that’s what we are: social machines. We thrive on social interactions. We delight in all of it playing out. But international news about complex foreign relations topics? There’s nothing socially alluring about that. The average person doesn’t really have the time or the desire to become well-versed in non-trite news.

Or maybe I’m being pretentious. My hate of most laymen is also well-documented.

earthduzt's avatar

I believe it’s a way to avert our attention away from the bigger issues in the world that “people” don’t want us really asking questions about or getting to involved in. The dumbing down of the people is a powerful weapon. For some of us it works, for those of us critical thinkers we can see right through the visage.

Kraigmo's avatar

@earthduzt, That’s well put and perceptive. What you wrote, is the very reason I find celebrity news offensive.

bobloblaw's avatar

@earthduzt & @Kraigmo People are very capable of doing that to themselves. They don’t need a shadowy cabal to do to them.

ninjacolin's avatar

naw, i doubt that there’s any conspiracy theory at all. i think we just like to keep an eye on the extremely successful. they’re real people and some of the things they’re able to do with what they’ve accomplished in life is simply.. impressive and often admirable if not hilarious.

Jewel's avatar

I don’t understand it myself. Never have. Even as a teen. They are just people. They work, sweat, poop, fight, have unruly teens, get sick and die. Just like us. I don’t care what they are up to, and I am embarressed by the ones who do care.
Like you, I would prefer news. REAL news. About the world, culture, politics, discoveries, medicine, earth changes, astronomy, etc… I have almost stopped reading and watching news because it is all so full of smarmy tripe about celebrities.

earthduzt's avatar

It’s happened all throughout history, it’s not a new phenomena. I’m not going to get into it but why does the media spend lets say 5 mins on what’s going on in Israel vs Palestine and then they can spend 30 mins about whats going on in Tiger Woods’s life. We get the full story of that and only what they want us to hear on the big stuff. It’s not a shadowy conspiracy. It’s all about agendas, if they were to lets say reverse it and spend most of the time talking about such issues and tell both sides of the story then people might change their views on these issues and it could cause a disturbance that the political machine does not want to deal with. Certain people may not get votes, we may not view a particular channel anymore because of what they support, etc ($$$$$). Therefore they feed us only what they want us to hear about these issues and then move on the exact type of club that was used to smash Tiger Woods’s car. It’s all about psychology, and wanting to push their own personal agendas not the Illuminti wanting to play Dr. Evil and rule the world, advertisers do it all the time….This celebrity rubbish is filler.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

I kinda understand why people might be interested in famous people like her what I wonder is why does the media make such a fuss over Kate & John Gossellin They are both nobodies, he is a pudgy dweeb !

bobloblaw's avatar

@earthduzt Are you sure it’s what they feed us b/c of what they want us to hear? Or is it b/c what they think we want to hear? Like you alluded to, a lot of what the media gives us is about how much money it would get them. The more viewers they have, the more money they have. So they cater their message/news accordingly so that it maximizes their audience. Honestly, I think it’s done in response to what people want.

I don’t mean to say that there are no agenda minded people trying to change an outcome, but I think, on the whole, news organizations are just playing to human frailties so that they may profit.

Jack79's avatar

Angelina Jolie has a private life? Where? Where?

earthduzt's avatar

@bobloblaw I believe it’s both, they condition us to this sort of thing beginning at a very young age. The more we hear of one side then we tend to believe it, just like pathological liars, the more they lie the more they start to actually believe its the truth.

escapedone7's avatar

I am still trying to understand why certain people I know get all wrapped up in their friends’ and family members’ private lives. Some people are just as obsessed with their neighbors or friends as with celebrities.

Someone in my family does nothing but ask nosy questions about other people and gossip about them! This goes on regarding acquaintances, friends and relatives…. but it is the exact same mindset as being wrapped up in celebrities’ private lives.

One relative in particular is just awful about her obsession with who is sleeping with who and who is arguing with who. I suppose it gets her mind of her own troubles. She seems to get caught up in other people’s drama in a very similar way “normal people” get caught up in a good movie or book. She seems to be using it as some sort of entertainment, escape, or distraction from her own life and troubles. Perhaps she just doesn’t have enough life of her own and lives vicariously through others. I often become offended when she pries me for information about other people’s private lives.

earthduzt's avatar

@escapedone7 those type of people to me seem like they are either lonely or deprived in the area in which they are mostly gossip mongering in…can’t stand those types either.

syzygy2600's avatar

Boring people like nothing better than to hear about the rich & famous private lives.

Ludy's avatar

I just wanna know about their messed up lifes and then feel better than I’m better off this way!

earthduzt's avatar

@Ludy good point, one moral of the story is no matter how much money you have, you can still have problems. Sometimes even bigger problems.

Parrappa's avatar

I don’t know but it’s irritating that people care so much about celebrities. I honestly don’t care at all about them. They make good movies, music, TV shows, etc. but beyond that they are just regular people to me.

Trillian's avatar

I am not the least bit interested in the personal lives of any celebrity, or what they wear, or where they go for a night out. I think the idiots who stand on the red carpet with a camera and microphone should be forced to run the gauntlet through a cage of starving tigers with slabs of raw meat stapled to them.
I fail to understand the attraction, and I fail to understand why some people then discuss them as if they knew them, calling them bu their first names and pronouncing judgment on whatever the issue happens to be.
My own life occupies me enough.

jerv's avatar

Bread and circuses.

The more you see/hear about Tiger and Lindsay Lohan, the less you notice or care about the economy, healthcare, or the GOP acting like petulant children in DC. Who cares if the education system is a mess; Sandra Bullock is getting a divorce!

PacificToast's avatar

It’s their distraction from the issues that really matter. It may make them feel better if they see someone with so much money go through emotional turmoil and such.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Do you know your neighbors well enough to gossip about them to others? Gossip, in a smaller social settings, is a sort of glue. But most people don’t know their neighbors today to gossip about them, and in order to connect on a larger scale, we have celebrity gossip.

People use celebrity gossip to clarify larger social values, among other things.

100 years ago, it’ve been gossip about the owner of the general store and the schoolmarm, or the traveling salesman and Farmer Brown’s daughter. Today it’s Brangelina.

slick44's avatar

I have enough problems of my own, I dont need to hear the problems of the ritch and famous. What prob. could they have, where their next house will be built.

phillis's avatar

I think folks like seeing a celebrity “fall” because of how so many tend to put them on a precariously shaky pedestal in the first place. Folks get bitter that the person is elevated, even though they feed into it by watching celebrity-centered shows and buying gossip mags.

For consumption, I offer what Billy Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, had to say regarding Tiger Woods on national TV:

“It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here. It is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids.”

“Our hero did not live up to his status as a role model,” Payne said during his annual state of the Masters news conference. “I hope that he realizes every kid he walks by would love to have his swing but will settle for his smile.”

He also said that “Woods won’t be judged in the future solely on his performance as a golfer, but by the sincerity of his efforts to change as a person”.

First of all – hero?? His status?? Role model?? Who creates this “status”, if not the population? That’s our first mistake, and its a big one. Tiger is a golf pro, nothing more. Additionally, his only role in Augusta is hitting a ball with a stick all the way to a tiny hole. If people are so upset that they, their children, and their grandhildren, are mourning their “wayward hero”, then maybe it’s OUR fault that we’ve encouraged them to elevate another human being, who comes complete with faults, to such lofty expectations.

My husband and I watched the Billy Payne news bite with slacked jaws. We couldn’t believe that a person actually had the unmtitigated gall to go on National TV with such seething comments, when their only role in Tiger’s life is to provide a well-manicured course. What business is it of Billy Payne’s to dare suggest that “Cheetah” Woods will be held to exacting specifications based on his moral behavior outside his profession?

As far as we are concerned, the only players who matter in this fiasco Tiger created, besides Elin and the children and family, are the companies who pay this man millions of dollars to display their products based on his carefully managed image. Anybody having complaints, beyond the aforementioned people, especially if they take so much pride in being Godly people, need to go confess to a priest how they have such a screwed up set of values. Then they can beg forgiveness for the mistakes they made themselves, yet happily turned around and blamed someone else.

justmesuzanne's avatar

I don’t know. I certainly don’t care about them. Most of the time, I don’t even know who they are!

Roby's avatar

I could care less about those ‘Liberal Celebatards’

jerv's avatar

I couldn’t :P

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