Celebrity news is not superfluous

Published: July 16, 2017

LAHORE: People like to read celebrity news to escape the reality of the world around them. They may say, “Focus on the real issues!” or “There are more important things going on in the world right now.” However, this sentiment implies that only hard, serious news is ‘important’ and ignores the reality that it is just extremely exhausting to be focused on ‘real issues’ all the time. There are ‘real issues’ that plague us every day in our families, friend groups, romantic relationships and neighbourhoods. I’m well aware of the ‘real issues,’ and fully caught up on the ‘actual news.’ But like many other people, I’m often drained from this knowledge.

In print media, I’ve noticed that celebrity news is usually only published once a week on the back page of entertainment updates. Generally, international celebrities are covered by media outlets like People, E!, Huffington Post or Daily Mail. Local celebrity news is not usually published here — information about their lives is generally acquired through social media. Their twitter accounts are followed and pictures are shared on Facebook, and so on. The human brain is hardwired to tune into gossip, but there’s something different about celebrity gossip that sets it apart from everyday office chatter.

We should give ourselves, and each other, the freedom and space to get excited and express enthusiasm about celebrity news, because it offers a respite from all the completely depressing things going on.

Aslam Khan

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2017.

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