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Why I Love Celebrity Gossip

…And why bring this up on a blog that supposedly deals with the intersection of sex and spirituality?

Here’s the reason: If a person shows interest in royal babies or movie star divorces or Olympic decathlete gender identity, he or she is likely to be scorned for engaging in “celebrity worship.”

It isn’t worship.

Got that, you high-minded righteous pious scoffers?

It isn’t worship. It’s not sex-and-spirituality. It is instead like watching Mad Men or House of Cards and being utterly fascinated. It’s sex-and-curiosity. A little sex and a lot of curiosity.



For me, the intimate news coverage of the lives of highly visible people is an unfolding up-close juicy story. The fact that I’m not deeply connected to them lets me (wickedly, semi-heartlessly, I admit) follow their stories as entertainment.

I’m not saying this interest is especially admirable. I’m just saying it’s not necessarily admiration and definitely not worship.

I do admire some of these folks:

Colin Firth as “the thinking woman’s crumpet.” I forget where I read that, but I agree.

Helen Mirren as the woman who re-branded sixty-something as hot. A much-needed service.

The Clooneys as gorgeous global do-gooders. Some might choose the Jolie-Pitts for this honor, but I shallowly prefer salt-and-pepper to blonde.

But admiration isn’t necessary — think of the charmingly evil Underwoods of House of Cards. I’m interested in what the stars of celebrity gossip are going to do next. The main thing is: I love stories. I’m enchanted and spell-bound and mesmerized by stories.


Yet I don’t care for “reality TV.” And I’m usually put off by celebrities making small talk on talk shows. Somehow these seem less real and more trivial.

And, while I’m on this subject, I’m puzzled by people who write Letters to the Editor of magazines giving advice to errant movie stars. I don’t want to tell any of the famous what to do (except for the politicians). I want them to surprise me.

So-Called Teen Idols

You might counter my argument of non-worship with images of screaming teens held back by police to keep them from getting at the Beatles or Justin Bieber. That’s not worship either. That’s sex and maybe a little curiosity.

I was about twelve when I watched a a red-headed boy of about fourteen walk onto a stage to sing, as part, I think, of that year’s Wilmington, NC, Azalea Festival. I viewed myself at the time as a serious intellectual. But as soon as young Eddie Hodges stepped into the bright light, I thought: if I were the kind of girl who screamed at concerts, I would scream now. I knew even then that my impulse was not worship.

Over the Back Fence

But back to my original premise — I love celebrity gossip because of the juicy unfolding-daily long-running stories. I think these take the place of small-town gossip about neighbors. I’ve been going through old family letters recently and have run across some memorable tidbits: “X is off to the mental hospital again. (His wife) is having the time of her life. She goes out to eat at least once a day.” And: “…Will write more when I find out who else has flipped.”

I don’t run into a lot of dish on acquaintances these days — and maybe that’s a good thing and maybe Facebook has done away with the need. But I’m still keeping up with the riveting ongoing from-a-distance sagas that make up celebrity gossip and talking about them in over-the-back-fence-type deeply-bonding conversations with like-minded friends.

Apologies to those paparazzi-ridden entertainers who are putting up with this.

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  • July 16, 2015 at 2:56 am Reply

    I don’ watch House of cards, so I can’t speak to that, but I do agree with all the rest, especially Helen Mirren and the Clooneys.

    • Peggy Payne
      July 16, 2015 at 2:23 pm Reply

      Glad you also partake of the gossip, Judy. If you do Netflix, I highly recommend House of Cards. The first disc of the 3rd season arrives in my box tomorrow!

  • Bob Dick
    July 16, 2015 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Well reasoned post – still, Scoff, Scoff.

    • Peggy Payne
      July 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm Reply

      When did reason ever get in the way of the pleasures of scoffery, Bob?

  • Lee Grohse
    July 17, 2015 at 4:21 am Reply

    I also love celebrity gossip and am totally unapologetic about it. My dad was a police detective and when I was a child he brought home wonderful weird tales about the people he encountered in his work. I developed an addiction to hearing about the quirky and outrageous things people did. The nuttier the better for my tastes. So celebrity gossip is one way I get my fix. I also love to hear everyone’s “crazy relative” stories, and collect the more bizarre stories of non-celebrities that make the news. For me it is not much related to celebrity interest or hero worship as it is insatiable curiosity about what outlandish things others are up to. As long as it is “not my circus, not my monkeys” , I take great delight in knowing the dramatic details of other people’ s lives. They’re just a good short stories not yet written down.

    • Peggy Payne
      July 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm Reply

      I’m delighted to get your comment, Lee. I’m so much the same way, and also have some interest in true crime stories (if they mainly skip the violence and get straight to the who-and/or-why-dunnit.) Will likely add to my vocabulary the not-my-circus gem. Thanks!

      • Bob Dick
        July 22, 2015 at 7:50 pm Reply


        • Peggy Payne
          July 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm Reply

          Never, Bob?!

    • Bob Dick
      July 22, 2015 at 7:51 pm Reply

      You 2 evidently have a lot in common.

      • Peggy Payne
        July 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm Reply

        It seems so.

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