To Stay Sane, Read More Celebrity Gossip – New York Times


Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala.

Landon Nordeman for The New York Times

The world feels very fragile right now. Every morning I wake up to see if our president is threatening any more dangerous despots with nuclear war. I don’t like this new abnormal. It scares me and depresses me. So I check Twitter and hooray, I see Aaron Carter is trending because he has announced he’s bisexual. This is so great, because I don’t care! I’m only vaguely aware of who Aaron Carter is, and his sexuality couldn’t matter less to me, so I read more.

Then there is a story about Anna Faris and Chris Pratt’s break up. Thank God. I’m very sad about them, though I know that divorce can actually be the best thing that can happen to a couple. Still, they have a son, and they seemed so happy. I wonder what went wrong. Some people on Twitter seem to be blaming Jennifer Lawrence. Ooh, why? Jennifer and Chris did the movie “Passengers” together, and apparently there were “rumors” and then there was a photo of Anna and Jennifer meeting at the premiere and Anna had a “pained expression” on her face while Jennifer was holding her hands in a “claw-like” shape. The movie was panned, so the karma points went to Anna.

Several minutes have gone by and I’ve not once thought of how to build a bomb shelter in my small New York City apartment. I’m thinking TMZ instead of DMZ, and the only radiation is the heat coming from an article about Usher being accused of knowingly exposing a woman named Quantasia Sharpton to herpes.

Having recently written a book about celebrity obsession, I hear a lot of people talking about the frivolousness of celebrity gossip in these seriously troubled times. But to me, when the real news is so horrendous, we need celebrity news more than ever. You read about 20 million people losing health care, or a polar ice shelf sliding into the ocean, and somehow seeing a report about the Twitter war between Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian feels cleansing.

I’ve always used stars as a distraction. People magazine has been my drug of choice since I was putting off doing my algebra homework. Reading about celebrities gives me escapes from the problems, fears and worries that are really threatening me. And I’m not the only one in my family. A few years ago, when my daughter was 10, she realized that her parents could die (spoiler alert: we didn’t). I told her she was old enough to have some input in deciding whom she wanted to live with when we were gone. She thought solemnly and declared, “O.K., I’ll live with Seth Meyers.” My mother said, “At least he’s Jewish.” (He isn’t.)

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