Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

February 7, 2007: According to The New York Times, Washington Gossip...Titillates?

Did you see The New York Times article over the weekend entitled Titillating or Not, Washington Gossip Blossoms?

More like not. But would that it were so.

Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, according to conventional pop culture wisdom. But I don't believe it. Our lives are invested in Washington much more than our dreams, which firmly linger in the silver screen and all its intendant glitzy, sexy celebration. It's not an apples to apples comparison.

The story reports, "As the globe warms, Iraq burns and a presidential campaign heats up, Washington finds itself red-hot in gossip, or what passes for such here. Never in memory has the political world been so awash in items about every little burp and wart and appendectomy of our nation’s leaders."

Apparently, ten publications carry a total of 14 columns focusing on political tidbits that appear regularly, up from three columns a decade ago. They include the Reliable Source and In the Loop columns, The Washington Post’s entrenched offerings (the paper’s Web site started a new enterprise, the Sleuth, last month); In the Know and Under the Dome, which dish in the tabloid The Hill; and Heard on the Hill, which appears in Roll Call. The Examiner offers Yeas and Nays, while the latest entry, The Politico, nourishes its politerati with Shenanigans and the Crypt.

The Times asks the question, "So what does this all mean?"

Politicos answer that it means an invasion of privacy, and that they have to spend more time explaining what's true vs. not to their loved ones.

I say it's much ado over nothing. There may be lots of ink, but I don't see lots of interest.

Foleygate was the most salacious story to come out of the town in years. But, like Oswald, most believe Mark, the IM Madman, acted alone (well, mostly, except for the ones who knew, and the ones who busted him), but, essentially, the story left town when Mark did. Bill and Hill intrigue the nation, and as recently as last year, there was a spotlight on their personal lives - enough for The New York Times to speculate (read: gossip) on the state of their marriage in last year's article, For Clintons, Delicate Dance of Married and Public Lives. But no one seems that interested in their marriage anymore. The attitude seems to be: it is what it is. People make compromises and figure things out. Ho hum.

The occasional so-called topics of gossip in my capital hometown hardly compare to Brangelina's globe hopping, Ryan O'Neal pulling a gun on his kid the day former-angel Farrah is deemed cancer-free, and what the cast of Gray's Anatomy do in their downtime.

No one really cares about Washington gossip. Do we really care about the personal lives of the top brass like W, Laura, Nancy Pelosi, or Dick Cheney? The behind the scenes characters seem to run around like hormonally charged banshee, but no one knows them. As for the rest, well...

Are you really going to tell me that you care about Denny Hastert's gallbladder extraction, Bill Frist's visit to the Georgetown Cineplex to see Notes on a Scandal, or Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's mad flirt with Peter MacKay, the single foreign minister of Canada?

Well, actually, the Condi story rates. Mr. MacKay is hot, and that always makes the soundbyte sing.

Chuck Todd, editor of the online political clearinghouse Hotline, claims that his publication is "selective in the quality of material it elected to republish from the various and multiplying outlets. 'We’re only going to cover the Denny Hastert gallbladder removal story once,' he vowed. 'We’re not going to cover every angle of the Denny Hastert gallbladder story.'”

Sweet relief.

This is making me long for Lindsay out-of-rehab photos, an A-lister divorce, or, at minimum, a pop singer coming out.

Do you think D.C. rates as a celebrity-haven?


Blogger Lisa G said...

The saddest thing about DC is that even when we do manage to attract the occasional celebrity (and anyone who walks uphill to get to work in this town does not count as a celebrity), they are here either for a one-night concert or to petition Congress to enact more stringent sanitary standards for nail salons. The boringness of which does much to dim the shine of their celebrity aura.

Perhaps we would attract more celebs if we assured them that this is the one town in which they will not be pursued by paparazzi.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 9:46:00 AM  
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