I’m a bit of a pop culture aficionado. If there’s something to know in the world of entertainment, I most likely know it. Even when a celebrity isn’t my favorite, I’m usually up to date on the latest news. However, there is one aspect I can’t get behind – the sensationalizing of celebrity tragedy.
Unless you’ve been living in an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of nowhere lately (which, if that’s the case I have bigger questions on how and why you’re reading my blog right now) you’ve likely heard about Lamar Odom. He was a known athlete and celebrity who has publicly struggled with addiction issues and found himself fighting for his life recently due to drug use. Nonstop the news has been about his current condition. Some websites are even giving hourly updates. Even more websites are using the occasion to dish all dirty laundry on Odom and those around him that they can acquire. The accuracy level of any information the public is receiving is probably a very low percentage as page views with click-bait headlines are common place.
While I understand people placing blame in this situation on the Kardashian family and thereby Odom himself due to the nature of their “reality” lives and expectation that nothing is off limits to be broadcasted, this isn’t the first time we’ve sensationalized celebrity. This is a frequent cycle. Anytime a celebrity dies or gets close to death or even just becomes a public hot mess due to their own destructive habits we become vultures to the reporting festivities. It becomes a pop culture trainwreck.
Where are the limits? This isn’t one of those times when my sassy Mean Girls reply of the limit not existing applies. These are human lives. Why do we not get uncomfortable inserting ourselves in their tragedy? Would we not be horrified if someone tried inserting themselves and finding out the scoop if we were going through a similar situation in our own lives?
I get it – it’s human nature to be curious, like gawkers slowing down at a car crash. Plus these people are everywhere. As celebrities (especially in the technology age) we feel like we practically know them.
Maybe it comes down to how we’re handling it. Instead of focusing on the situation we want all the juicy gossip. “Khloe coming apart due to life or death decisions!” “Ex-wife showdown at the death bed!” Even when sources are reporting the truth, they focus on the more entertainment worthy factors. As Erin wonderfully stated, this is a story about drug addiction and the toll it can take on a life – but instead all we care about mentioning is how he was on a completely legal brothel binge because that’s far more entertainment worthy.
It doesn’t even feel like a person whose life we are reporting on anymore. The way the news sensationalizes all these tragedies makes people feel as if they’re tuning into a racy television show and watching characters unfold in a pre-planned storyline. As a society we’ve gotten immune to human tragedy and turned it into a form of entertainment. (This sensationalism sadly encompasses all aspects of our global news now too.)
I’m not here to judge people on what information they consume. I am just expressing that whatever the reason is, the coverage of celebrity tragedy makes me uncomfortable. However I’m not immune to the curiosity either. I’ve found myself before when an entertainer has died reading all the reports. I’ve even been click-baited into a few with the Lamar Odom situation. At the end of the day it comes down to our personal limits. I try to avoid feeding into the sensationalism when it comes to tragedy in entertainment because of the questions I raised above. It’s so easy to find yourself detached from the reality of it all and I don’t want to forget that.
What are your thoughts on how the entertainment industry reports on celebrities?
P.S. – Wanna tackle the subject of gender in the entertainment industry next?
Until next time,