Celebrity drama: Fodder for a problematic society

Let’s face it; we all have our own little guilty pleasures in life. Some of us enjoy innocent guilty pleasures like eating cookies and milk in bed or secretly walking around the apartment in your underwear while your roommate is out of town.

But there are also guilty pleasures we engage in as a society that really puzzle, yet intrigue me.

As much as we bad-mouth and verbally degrade the spoiled celebutantes that parade across our TV screens, such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, etc., we feel the need to keep watching them and highlighting their lives just to continue to rip them apart.

On CNN’s “Showbiz Tonight” last week, AJ Hammer, the male anchor, was doing a news piece about the queen-bee of the heiress club, Paris Hilton. He continually asked the same question: “Why is this girl even famous? Why is she even in the spotlight?”

And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks; he is the answer to his own question!

The reason this girl is famous is because programs like “Showbiz Tonight” continue to talk about her and keep her fame alive, even though they constantly criticize her and wonder why she’s famous to begin with.

Did AJ Hammer and CNN executives ever stop to think for two seconds that maybe, just maybe, if they didn’t report on her every move that possibly her fame would begin to wane and people would lose interest?

But let’s be real, the chances of that happening in our drama-craving society is pretty slim; the lives of young Hollywood is like the proverbial car crash that you can’t look away from as you drive by.

There’s nothing more enticing to our salacious media than a real-life soap opera.

Seriously, whenever Britney Spears goes in and out of a hospital does CNN, or any news station for that matter,, really need to provide us with all the gory details?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the lives of these young ladies have strangely become a voyeuristic guilty pleasure we all get a strange kick out of even though we hate to acknowledge it. But is there more to this dichotomy?

On a psychological level are we keeping these flawed characters around simply because they’re easy targets for us to project our own negative feelings on?

My guess would be yes! It’s much easier to criticize and judge an imperfect figure like Britney Spears, who has blatantly screwed up for the entire world to see, than to actually deal with our own problems. We think we’d never put ourselves in those kinds of predicaments, which gives us a moral ego boost.

But when you really think about it, which is more screwed up in the equation; the celebutantes whose lives are dissected on a daily basis or us, the viewers, for feeling a need to watch and judge a complete stranger in order to feel better about ourselves? You decide.

Mike McLafferty is a senior magazine production student from Port Charlotte. He can be reached at McLafferty@t-mobile.com.