Why do we gossip about celebrities

by phil on Sunday Nov 23, 2003 9:02 PM

From Slate's "Doing the Celebrity Rag"

On the surface, the celebrity rags seem to be about sex. But their real subject is reproduction and the future of the human tribe. On the savanna, we needed to monitor how our clan was faring, and given our small populations we could do the job by ourselves, gossiping about how Gronk had left Zumba and that last night she slipped into Uggah's cave to make a baby, and what our chance might be to steal one of them as a mate. But in a country of 290 million people, where even our next-door neighbors are strangers, we still need to flex those savanna needs for gossip and information in order to measure our species' prospect. What better proxy than the young, wealthy, handsome, and visible alpha-male and -female breeding stock that Hollywood employs?

I love human evolutionary psychology. From a media perspective, our technology has shrunken the world into a global village which has amputated our ability to connect with our local villages (next-door neighbors etc..). But since we have the same desires, despite the amputation and extension of our capabilities, new niches spring up to handle the opportunities. Hence the star magazines.

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