Good Gossip – Motherboard
Image: Kitron Neuschatz
Shortly after the news of Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt broke on TMZ, my social media feed was full of people outraged by the idea that headlines about the split had topped other news stories. The Brangelina hashtag began trending ahead of new revelations that presidential candidate Donald Trump had used money from his charity to settle legal disputes. The consensus appeared to be that it was wrong for celebrity gossip to, well, trump Trump.
I’m not going to mince words here: This is a sanctimonious and shortsighted attitude. It’s OK for people to care about stupid things. It’s even OK to discuss stupid things during a protracted and excessively cringeworthy election cycle. The story about Trump’s charities is indisputably important but, with all we know of him, not very surprising, and people want to talk about things that actually reshape how they see their world, whether it’s profound or trivial. Furthermore, the Brangelina story resonated not only because it’s a celebrity-centric narrative that dominated the tabloids for more than a decade, but because it’s a welcome break from the 24-hour, doom-and-gloom news cycle, which unfortunately reflects back to us a world of police killings and political mudslinging.
It’s OK for people to care about stupid things. It’s even OK to discuss stupid things during a protracted and excessively cringeworthy election cycle.
Rusty Foster, author of the media-centric newsletter Today in Tabs, agrees, but beyond that, he told me that he questions whether anyone has the right to rank some stories as more “important” and “serious” than others. “One of the habits of journalists that annoys me the most is this attitude that some stories are ‘vegetables,’ and some are, I don’t know, ‘desserts’? And the vegetables are important and also boring, while