Embarrassing as it is for me to admit, I occasionally browse the Celebrity section of Yahoo!’s website to catch up on the latest news. Perhaps more than I care to admit. Generally the articles themselves do not have much content of any interest but it is far more interesting to scroll down to the comments and see the reactions of many other readers. Sometimes it is a prediction game; I will try and predict the readers’ reaction and gain some trivial sense of achievement if my predictions come true.
One of the easiest reactions to predict stems from articles on, unsurprisingly, Kim Kardashian. However, I happened across an article one day with surprising results. Instead of separate rants against how the celebrity in question had done nothing of import to deserve the attention and how “in other news, I took a dump today,” the internet seemed to have come together in an attempt to genuinely stem the flow of articles. In lieu of separate comments, nearly every single commenter had written “dear yahoo stop with this kardashian junk” over and over again (assumedly until the comment character limit had been reached) and posted this same comment multiple times. I was surprised by the unanimity of the internet as I kept clicking “View more comments” and was shown even more of the same save for the very rare heterogenous comment.
Even more interestingly, I believe that Yahoo! indirectly responded to the outpouring of a call to cease and desist. An article was written about the popularity of the recent interview of Kate Gosselin and her two oldest children and how watching them crash and burn unconsciously gives readers pleasure about their own life. The greatest part was reading the comments which continued to bash Yahoo! on their posting on “talentless” celebrities. Luckily I did not have to read any more notifications of bowel movements though. Some improvement, I suppose.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Yahoo! on their arguments. Firstly, they pointed out that the People magazine sold about 3.5 million copies with the Gosselin twins and mom’s face on the cover and if the American public really wanted to show their “boycott,” then that number would have been much lower. Secondly, Yahoo! pointed about that over five hundred comments had in fact been posted on the Gosselin article, a splendid number compared to any article related to politics or technology. Taking into account my own behavior, I am sure there were millions of clicks tracked as well and each one is valuable to the company.
So why is it so difficult to rid ourselves of this habit? Pointing fingers at the notion that we feel better about ourselves by watching other’s downfall is a rather pathetic philosophical attempt to justify our obsession with celebrities. I would rather attribute the phenomenon to simple boredom and laziness. It is a rather simple proof; if you only had to choose between reading a dozen Kim Kardashian articles or go on an all-expense paid trip to visit the Taj Mahal, which one would you do? Unless your mother-in-law is from India, I would wager that you would want to visit the Taj Mahal.
Any device that can sit on our laps is like a comfortable TV-dinner; comfort plus entertainment for minimal effort. This desire to be lazy is truly what is behind the problem of excessive famous-for-being-famous news. It is about time that all of us realize there is undoubtedly something more exciting around to do other than reading about the latest boob jobs and that that something will give us far more happiness than inflated happiness over the size of our own boobs. Get out there into the real world and do something!