Thursday, February 24, 2011

News to Me

The news is a strange, slippery thing. It used to be that the news was an objective look at current events: earthquakes, landslides, political coups, and military intervention. There was never a question as to what was appropriate or not for the news. But then people got frustrated at always seeing sad things, so the news took on a lighter side of life and started to feature what is often called 'soft' news, meaning the feel-good stories about common people and simple stories of human triumph. All that is well and good, but then, the appetite for even lighter news grew. And now, celebrity news is no longer a side bar, but a main component of news, sitting right up top with the natural disasters and the political plights.

It used to be that this was a relief. Especially on a slow day, it was often refreshing to see what Brangelina was up to now or what was happening to Lohan. But now, it's time to say that enough is enough. I'm sick of checking out sites for news and finding that Jennifer Aniston is getting a new haircut, selling her home and by the way, loves vitamin water and is not sure if she's still dating Gerard Butler or not- all on the same day. While there may be a strong fanbase which is that concerned about Aniston, I really don't count myself among them.

And it's not just the news about their lives- it's also their opinions. Everytime one of Hollywood's golden children wants to pronounce themselves on social or political issues, there's always some news hacks there to record every second of it- and sometimes, to misinterpret it. While you may admire the body of work of a particular actor or have a crush on them, it's not necessary to know what they think about EVERYTHING.

Celebrities were a lot more interesting when there was still some mystery around them. Back in the days of old Hollywood glamour, where studios protected the image of their actors very closely and they projected a lot of milk and honey goodness, these actors were captivating. Could you imagine Marilyn Monroe walking out her door with a ratty old bathrobe and bunny slippers, her hair still up in curlers, reaching for the morning paper with no makeup? Or Audrey Hepburn in sweatpants and a kerchief as she heads off to yoga? Perish the thought!

But now, the pendulum has really swung too far in the other direction, with actors being captured in even the most mundane of moments to show us all how 'real' they are. I don't really care that Ellen Pompeo like yogourt, or that Reese Witherspoon pumps her own gas. It doesn't necessarily make me like them more.

Celebrities should carry some mystique and fantasy with them. They should dazzle us on the red carpet shows and they should ride around LA in stretch limos looking impeccable and sipping champagne while they buy handbags that cost the same as our mortgage payments. And for those of us who want their news, we should buy the mag rags out there whose purpose in life is to feed our celebrity obsession. Aniston's hair is not as important as the political unrest in the middle East and the news should acknowledge that. There is a time and space for both, but they shouldn't be co-habitating anymore.

Real news should take back its place and stick to what it does best: social and political issues of importance. The soft news on celebrities can stay where it belongs on the likes of TMZ and Entertainment Tonight.

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