Town Square

Celebrities, Gossip, and Us

Original post made by Ms. Jenson, Rex Manor, on May 1, 2013

This week's piece was a final writing assignment for the young adult novel The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian. It is written in the style of the main character's blog, which is devoted to exposing consumerism, materialsim, and celebrity worship as idea that get in the way of a happy life. Kleiber's piece made me reflect: What draws us to the gossip magazines and celebrity reality shows? We're interested to hear your answers. Happy reading! ~Ms. Jenson

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

M. Kleiber is right on target. Here's a brief statement of my thoughts on this subject, which I have thought about for decades. This is only an outline. I welcome email conversations from anyone, including children. (All email to me is public record so don't tell me anything personal.) You can send me email from here: Web Link .

Humans are "programmable creatures". At an unconscious level, our brains do not distinguish between reading a novel and actually living. What I call "thought steering" is very important in our lives, and I've come up with several concepts, listed below. One of these concepts is the basis for my answer to your question. Here are the concept phrases:

thought steering
thought assault
reality model
**** reality inversion ****
perception well

"Reality inversion" refers to the assertion that something is not perceived as real unless it is blessed by a newspaper reporter. If you see someone holding a sign on the street, your mind dismisses him as a nut case and neither the person nor his/her message enters into what you experience as reality. But if that person shows up on the evening news, then the person and the event becomes part of your reality.

According to this idea, our reality consists of the movie stars and news anchors and government leaders that we read about and discuss with each other. We see ourselves, our fellow students and workers, our teachers, our parents, and everyone else that we encounter face to face in our personal lives as shadowy, insubstantial, ghostly figures inhabiting a world that is populated by "people of substance", i.e. by the people that we read about. In our reality as we experience it, President Obama is real, but we and the people that we know personally are not fully real, because we read about President Obama almost every day, but we never read about ourselves in the paper on see ourselves on television. This is "Reality inversion".

I will leave you with the challenge of thinking about how "reality inversion" makes it pleasant for us to read news about celebrities that allow us to think, "Gee, she is just like me." The idea of "reality inversion", that we think of celebrities as real and of ourselves as not real, is what I have to offer you.

Thank you for posting this thoughtful question. Keep asking those questions, and discuss them with your parents, teachers, and friends! Most important, read the answers that others have come up with. There is so much great literature that it is foolish to waste hours reading the writings of people who have nothing to say. Read great literature! Discuss it! Write down your own thoughts and share your writings with others!

Intellectual pastimes are not only for "intellectuals". Don't get caught up in all of the competitiveness of this society. Think of intellectual activity as a banquet, not as a race. Everyone has a brain. Everyone has ideas. Everyone has desires. Share your thoughts and desires with others, and enjoy listening to what they say in reply.