There’s nothing like celebrity gossip. It’s especially amusing when half the celebrated people are mystifying. Who ARE these very important people? Yes, I’ve fallen out of the pop culture loop in enough categories to start feeling old. I don’t see that many action movies. I don’t play games on my phone, Kindle or computer. And most of all the only “reality” TV shows I enjoy are cooking shows.
I don’t know the name, or face, of the current bachelor; I haven’t the faintest idea who is conniving to be the winner of the newest survivor incarnation; I don’t want to know the names of Kardashian babies; and if clips from the new big brother house weren’t shown on the news, I’d have no idea where that one was going this time around.
Still there is nothing like the lure of gossip magazine stories. Everything is written in broad strokes. New love is always enchanting and forever. Infidelity is always a fatal betrayal—except when it’s forgiven with great drama. Thoughts and prayers have demonstrated healing powers. Divorces are never less than tragic. Babies are the start of new adventures. And love conquers all.
During my last pedicure, I was thumbing through pages of faces that were vaguely familiar or utterly strange. You’d think that with all the fancy destination weddings, exotic honeymoon trips, excessive birthday parties, and extravagant homes, the stories would vary in more than just in the details. But there’s a peculiar sameness in the stories within the themes. Everyone is falling in or out of love, faster than my high school crushes and it’s not just LOVE, all emotions are writ large and in constant churn.
Underpinning much of the content there’s a scary notion of perfection. Perfection is possible. It’s sought, studied, copied, and promoted. The perfect diet is always the new one that will give you a bikini body. The perfect man, the perfect woman, the perfect child, the perfect home…. Never mind that perfect reveals its cracks in no time at all. There is no perfect.
Then, there’s the uncomfortable sameness. It’s the same fashionable hair cut (dress, shoes, workout gear). It’s the same facial hair. It’s the same glasses. It’s the same buff body… over and over again. There’s a look of the moment and it’s all over the magazines. It can get a bit dull!
But why are those stories so compelling? Why is celebrity gossip the catnip of magazines? And—more to the point—can I, as a storyteller, find something in them that will enhance my writing? I think so. I think it’s that larger than regular life, faster than normal life, more intense than REAL life feeling. Um… something to think about…