Life, Leisure and the Pursuit of Celebrity Gossip

Life, Leisure and the Pursuit of Celebrity Gossip

Photo Credit: Ali Akberali, Photographer

Why we’re so obsessed with people we’ll (probably) never meet

Zoyeb Ehsan, Contributor 

It seems that our fascination with celebrities is growing to all new heights. Is this because of the innovation of technology or because society is changing? Maybe it’s both. 

We are now connected with the outside world 24/7, thanks to our cell phones. If a company’s stock is going down, we get an alert immediately. If a movie is not doing so well at the box office, we get the news immediately. And indeed, if some celebrity ends up in a scandal, we are notified immediately. As a result, the celebrity world can be unavoidable at times. 

But this raises a question of its own. It is true that celebrity gossip can spread like wildfire across social media, but so can international and domestic news. The Russia-Ukraine issue is a pressing, relevant issue, and yet do we care about that issue as much? Or is it something we turn off in order to watch some influencer’s vlog?

Perhaps an aspect of it is that we feel we can’t do anything politically as young people. This idea is brought up in Adam Curtis’s documentary HyperNormalization. We know what is going on in the world, even aside from the Ukraine conflict, yet we go into our virtual worlds to shut those bad feelings out because “what else are we going to do?” 

Aldous Huxley describes a similar idea in his novel called Brave New World. In the novel, an authoritarian government rules over people, not through force, but by providing them with a life of pleasure. The people are surrounded by so much pleasure that they become uncaring about politics, and are content with mindless servitude. I wonder, are we at risk of this?  

Our phones and technology have provided us with more leisure time than ever before. UberEats, grocery delivery, fast transportation, and online shopping are only a few ways that technology has made our lives more convenient and efficient. One has to wonder what the future will look like. With all of the new upcoming innovations and this newfound leisure time, what will we fill it with? Stories about DiCaprio’s dating life? Well, maybe he’d be old by then. But some other DiCaprio? 

One can definitely make the argument that we let trivial things consume our lives sometimes. I think the key is for us to ask what we want our leisure time to do for us. Do we want it to be a time where we simply consume content about things that don’t ultimately concern us? Or do we want our leisure to be something that complements us as humans and enriches us?