In a comment this week, I got asked to compile a list that included my favorite “guilty pleasure” movies. I’ve also kicked around the idea of posting some of my guilty pleasure TV. We all have those; we just don’t usually admit them unless to close friends, who we hope will say, “Ohmigod, I love that show too!” and then, like the Mighty Ducks, our shame will fly together.
But in the spirit of honesty, here’s a guilty pleasure of my life: I read celebrity gossip online like a hypochondriac scouring WebMD.
Got a few minutes to surf online? I’m checking out Perez Hilton. Ted Casablanca on E! Online? Natch. (If that didn’t make sense, google Ted Casablanca and sample his, um, unique writing style). And the People mag site, even though it has – to put this delicately – devolved? I check it eight times a day. A celebrity blind item? Ooh, that’ll keep me fascinated for days.
I’d like to be clear: I wish I didn’t read this crap. I should probably be studying up on the health care bill or the progress in Haiti or something that enriches my understanding of the actual world around me, and not just the celebrity stratosphere. I feel the proper amount of guilt; I was raised Catholic, after all, so shame is not in short supply. I try to soothe myself by saying that my curiosity is both a byproduct of my obsession with movies and television – it follows that I’d be fascinated by the lives of those in them – and also simply human nature, that slow-down-and-stare-at-a-car-wreck mentality that seems so imbued in, well, everyone.
But I reached a crossroads this week. I was checking out the Entertainment Weekly site – which has a lovely mix of gossip, commentary and news – and saw that they had a link to the top couple headlines of Popeater, a gossip site that I don’t visit regularly but will if I see a salacious headline, of course. Popeater’s top two headlines were: “Sandra Bullock & Jesse James Split Rumors” and “Kate Winslet’s Divorce: Do We Really Need to Know?”
Now, the first thing that happened was that my irony alarm started blaring at full decibel. I immediately wrote the headlines down and thought, I have to blog about that. That’s hilarious.
But when the irony wore off – which took a while, frankly – I was left with the thought that, No, I don’t really need to know about either one. These people are having their lives made bare for the world – and why one actress gets the benefit of “do we really need to know” while the other doesn’t is curious in and of itself – and it’s really not my business. I know it’s not. I wish I didn’t care. But if there’s a headline about it, well…I’m clicking on it. Of course I am.
But for a week, I’ll try not to. I’m going to skip the gossip this week, and remove the temptation. No Perez. No Casablanca. No People or Popeater. When I check out the Entertainment Weekly site, no gossipy items, only recaps and TV/film news. Just the facts, ma’am. Let’s see if I miss it more or less than I think I will, and if I can reprogram my fingers not to automatically type “perezhilton.com” when a browser opens. I probably won’t make it a week, to be brutally honest. If a big scandal breaks, I probably will too. But a week from today, I’ll let you know how I did. Shame and all.