It’s always struck me as quite odd how the throat-clearing that goes on at the front of so many quasi-intellectual essays talking about recent celebrity drama/gossip/insane meltdowns inevitably takes the form of the author establishing with absolute clarity their own complete and utter disinterest in celebrities. Apparently the only way you can establish yourself as a compelling voice about this particular facet of pop culture is to claim that you yourself, unlike that huddled masses crowding around the tabloid displays in the checkout lines, are above even giving a shit about our nation’s economic and entertainment elite.
Why is this? I can only surmise that its a kind of ressentiment or at best a sort of tactical self-deception that the author knows they’re going to need to engage in in order to stomach talking about people much richer and famous than they. In order for me to sound both current and interesting, I have to feign complete disinterest in the matter I’m about to spend a whole bunch of time having a metadiscussion about. If I were to admit being interested in the banal topic I’m writing about, all fictive authority and supercool pop cultural street cred would melt away and I’d be just another talking head passing on celebrity gossip on EW.
Allow me to venture an unprovable, but I think quite probably true hypothesis about what’s actually going in most celebrity commentators. If anyone really and truly doesn’t care that much about Brad and Angelina’s most recent adoptions and affairs, I’ll wager its the talking head who is forced to sit across from them and act interested as they interview them. By contrast it is online magazine writer, whose book likely sits somewhere around #1,079,836 on Amazon, who actually does care, feverishly, about what’s going on in celebrity culture and how they can write about it in a way that establishes themselves as decidedly above the fray of the cultural trend of celebrity fascination. Indeed, I’d contend that there’s a good case to be made that it is denial of interest in celebrity culture that is the most developed and potent instance of celebrity fascination itself. People that really don’t care about celebrities don’t care enough to prattle on about it.