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i have no idea what the interest here is either. if i'm going to pay attention to someone's sex life, i either want to participate in it too, or have a ringside seat.

I haven't a clue...

I couldn't care less about famous people and their lives. Having said that, I have been direct witness to some pretty creepy behavior. My parents own a home directly across the cove of their lake from Patric*k D*empsey (Dr. McDreamy on "Grey's Anatomy"). The FREAKS that show up outside my parents home - it is scary. They will camp out on their shore line and actually trespass on my parents' property to catch a glimpse of poor Patric*k and his family. We leave them alone, giving the friendly neighbor-wave when they pass by in the boat or let our kids play with theirs across the way from time to time. We treat them like normal people. But not the rest of the ding-dongs in my parents' town. Quite disturbing to see. What is the catch? Why the attention? He's a guy - a dad, a husband, a homeowner. He walks on two legs, talks through his mouth and hey, he even plays with his kids. Just like everyone else. I don't understand the fascination.

I like the blogs. They provide an ego boost, that the beautiful people are more f'ed up than the rest of us combined.

Hey Tertia, if you hadn't brought up the connection to blogs, I was going to! I think they are really quite similar. What blogs have taught me is that anyone, yes anyone, can become interesting if they consistently put their lives out there for public scrutiny. Anonymous people across the world are just as interesting to me as celebrities simply because they invite me into their lives -- the ups and downs -- it is fascinating.
I also do read the celebrity magazines, but I certainly don't live or die by what they print. File it under the "guilty pleasure" category. Sometimes at the end of a long week you just want to do something mind numbing.
I don't think I particularly like watching train wrecks. I do like reading about other people's lives though -- and the insight it repeatedly provides on how we really are all the same. Awwww. All the same except some of us have nicer bodies and clothing. Yep, another appeal is just looking at the fashion.
I do think some of these magazines go way overboard and I really think the coverage of Britney Spears these days is appalling. There is a big difference between chronicling a person's troubles and predicting them/setting them up to fall down.
That said, it is only a magazine, and sometimes I am offended by the disapproving looks of the clerks and whatnot who sell them to me. IT IS ONLY A MAGAZINE. Hey, I work hard all day, I have many intellectual pursuits, I read "serious" books and am educated about a lot of things. Sometimes I just want to kick pack and page through some pictures of celebrities. Does this make me a bad person? Give me a break.
As a journalist who has spent a fair amount of time writing about celebrities, I also know that celebrities often mischaracterize the stalking paparazzi syndrome. Most of these celebrities who are constantly chased by the paparazzi are, in fact, courting the paparazzi, and actually get upset when they are not photographed enough/ do something to drum up more attention, ie Larry Birkhead parading his daughter around town in a "Who's your Daddy" t-shirt. Celebrity becomes addictive and most of these people who say they hate being stalked by photographers really love it. It is actually fairly easy for even most famous people (with a couple exceptions) to fall off the radar screen if that is what they really want.
Just my two cents!

Pure escapism. I recently lost someone very dear to me and have had a hard time of it. Reading about Britney/Paris et al doesn't demand anything of me, but gives me something else to think about.

When things are great in my life, I couldn't care less.

What the heck is a "fag" to you over there? It's rude slang for a gay man here but I don't think you meant she should have a gay man hanging out of her mouth.

Oh - as far as the rest, we're just nosy.

Stefanie, a fag here is a cigarette.we use faggot for gay amongst others....

I can only speak for myself when I say: Tertia, I'm only reading here because someday I hope you'll post a picture of yourself in a micro-miniskirt climbing out of a limo with no knickers and a fresh Brazilian.

Really, it's just that people are looking for ways to assure themselves that they're better than other people. Oh, Britney has a ton of fame and money but acts like an idiot? Then I'm doing all right for myself, even though I'm deep in debt, hate my job, and have a lousy marriage.

I agree with Orange regarding comparing your life to theirs. Especially if you start out comparing them and not coming out on top. They have looks (of course we only see their "looks" after 2 hours in a makeup chair), they have money, they have adoration. I have a bounced mortgage check and baby snot on my shoulder. So when you start to see them in such a way that your life actually looks better than theirs, I don't know, there is some twisted satisfaction in that for me. I have to say though, I don't intentionally follow the story per se, don't buy magazines or tune into the entertainment magazine type shows or the gossip sites but they actually broadcast Britney updates on the local news. That is weird. Plus the late night talk shows, radio, its hard to escape.

Anyway, that is my take.

I admit it. I read the magazines. As someone else said, it's just mind numbing escapism after years of academia. I don't idolize these people, or want to be them. I don't even know them. And I know half of what is written isn't true. BUT - I love to see what they wear, how they live and that they f up occasionally like us mere mortals. I like to see them happy, running on the beach with their kids. I like to see them glammed up on the red carpet. I like to know who's pregnant.

I don't like celebrities being hounded in sad or desperate times. I don't buy magazines where the headline is "Tears of grief as celeb's mother dies". I would never buy a magazine with photos of Princess Diana in her final moments. Stars need publicity and they do give up a certain amount of privacy but as human beings there are times they deserve to be left alone.

It's like watching Oprah, playing Sudoku, reading romance novels, playing Second Life or scoffing a chocolate bar in your car where no-one can see. Just a guilty pleasure that I can't really explain but brings a bit of joy.

Oh, and can I say, the Oprah, Suduko, romance novels, second life and chocolate aren't MY guilty pleasures. Well, one of them is. I was talking about other people. Crazy people.

Hello Tertia!

I read 'em. Not every single one, but there are 2 or 3 I like to read most weeks. It's escapism. I don't take it too seriously. And also it's funny seeing the mechanics behind it all - seeing how one week a celeb will be DEFINITELY PREGNANT and there'll be interviews with insiders and sources etc. in her life talking about how happy she is and what plans she has for the nursery etc. OMG!

Then the next week in another magazine there'll be an article about how that same celeb got really embarrassed when an unflattering picture of her was posted everywhere and people made up stories about her being pregnant.

I admit to a certain amount of schaudenfreude (have I spelled that right?!) re Paris Hilton, Britney, etc. Though with Britney in particular I also feel very sorry for her as she's obviously not right in the head at the moment, and obviously doesn't know what she's doing, and it's really sad that her kids in particular have to deal with that.

But apart from the train wrecks, I actually enjoy a certain amount of reading about celebrities who are doing well. Depends on the celebrity. I admire but am not really fascinated by all the charity work that Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt do, for example. I like the glimpses that we get into friendships and relationships; like when Brad Pitt and George Clooney take very good natured digs at each other.

I don't particularly like The Rock, but I heard a really great interview with him on a local radio show recently, and he was charming and funny and low key and delighted to participate in "Will [the DJ]'s Mum Guess Who The Celebrity Is?"

I'm also interested (to some extent) in things we hear about catfights between women on shows - it's interesting to see an interview with one party and then with another. Whether they give different perspectives on it, or they both deny any tension.

I also like seeing some of the fashion. I'm not exactly skinny, can't be bothered spending hours to get ready to go out, and don't have their budget! But it's interesting seeing what they wear, and seeing whether I agree with the writer's opinion of it.

It's escapism. I don't watch any soaps (I watch other trashy TV, but not soaps!) so this is how I get my "no thinking required I'm too tired to read a good book or concentrate on the TV" story entertainment. Oh, and it's easy to concentrate well enough to read an article even when the kids are running around and interrupting me every 2.4 seconds.

A "fag" was a term for a cigarette in America long before it became slang for a gay man.

And Tertia - I totally agree. I just don't get it. I think some of it must be a secret jealousy; why else would people find joy in hearing about Britney's, Paris', etc. etc. mishaps, mistakes, screws ups, and whatnot? I do think blogs are quite different, because unlike trashy magazines and gossip shows, you are hearing directly FROM the person - not just hearsay. That definitely adds a more personal element, because readers can feel invested in that individual's emotions, opinions, triumphs and struggles as opposed to merely listening to what "reporters" say and viewing poor photography.

Meg for president! Excellent comment, I think you've explained really well.

I liked what Jodie said. And Meg.

It is escapism for me as well, it's just bland nonsense where you know half the stuff is made up... depending on the magazine how much "half" is. Like, you know People is going to be way more on target than InTouch, and InTouch is like, way ahead of World Weekly.

I like InTouch. I love reading articles where they 99% of the article is off of a "source" or "insider", and then the remaining 1% is the celebrity quote from like, ten years ago. It cracks me up.

I don't idolize to be them (well, most of the time... I wouldn't mind being that skinny or rich!) but the fame is just so --- ugh. You can see the whole downside of being like them.

I don't know, it's just great. I love the fashions, I love knowing who's doing who, who's pregnant, who's divorcing, who used Botox or had surgery and is denying it. It's better than thinking about money problems or other bullshit.
Last night I bought InTouch, a bottle of wine, and bubble bath after work, and it pretty much made my night. :)

I would rather spend money on an extra latte than on the tabloids. But I do admit to reading some headlines while waiting in the checkout lines in the stores. But I don't care about most stories, and will only read headlines about celebrities I like/admire. So the only way I know anything about Brittney and such is if it's on the news-and-commentary program I watch (The Countdown with Keith Olberman for those in the States), where if they cover celebs, they mostly make fun of them. Which works for me. :)

I agree with some of the comments said.

I used to think the same. What is so intriguing about these money-wasting magazines?? I didn't get it either. Until the time came when a stack of these magazines always magically appeared at work in our lunchroom. Now, that's usually what I read most of the time during my break. A break is a break. I could do something intellectual or do the world a good deed every other time of the day.

I think some people do read it to make themselves feel like they're the more normal ones. Or the luckier ones. Compared to these people who get the million dollar houses and careers...

It's like a world that we don't live and will not live. So the interest comes with not knowing. Not knowing what that life is like. So to get a glimpse of it or tap into it is just a part of human curiosity. Why so curious about it in the first place? I think it goes with anything that we're not all familiar with in our own lives.

But it works both ways. As different as they are, they're also only human. They have their ups for sure, their fancy homes and cars, but they also have their downs. Seeing their downs makes them more human sometimes. As messed up as Britney and Paris seems, you oughta wonder how they got that way. It's sad. And reading those magazines makes you wonder... if you really live on hope... wishing that they'll pick themselves up again one day.

And then after all that, we put down the magazines reminding ourselves that tabloids arean't always true anyway. So it's a mish-mash of a lot of things.

For me, I just like the clothes. What's wrong with a bit of fashion? (Or sometimes, there lack of?).

I love entertainment gossip and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It's like watching the popular kids back in high school. They were always doing crazy stuff with and to each other (at least they were at my high school). Hollywood is where all the messed-up popular kids live.
Friday is the day my US Weekly comes in the mail- and I look forward to it every week! It's a quick escape from reality-it doesn't take long to read, that's for sure! My life is great- I have a nice husband and a beautiful baby boy- but things can get pretty routine. It's nice to see how the other half lives. It's also a good reminder of how nice it is to be normal and anonymous.
I love your blog! I look forward to your posts almost as much as my US Weekly!

I love them for the same reasons as above. It's a break from thinking. Also, I think there is something about how attractive they all are, it's just fun to look at them.

Well, I own and write a celebrity gossip site (I won't mention it here in case anyone things I'm wrongly spruiking it - Tertia, I'll let you decide if I can reveal it).

I must admit, I followed celebritydom for so long that setting up a blog made sense. Mine is a little different to other blogs in that it's mainly a fashion / look critique. But it is snarky and it's, on occasion, a little x-rated and ribald.

My readers seem to enjoy the schadenfreuder (sp?) of it all. That is, they love celebrities but they love it even more when celebrities fail. It's not unlike those serials you used to get in women's magazines or radio soap operas. The only difference is that we're dealing with real people.

I like keeping tabs on the entertainment scene (gossip) for entertainment. My life can get pretty boring at times so I guess I like to see how the rich and famous live.

I'm trying to figure out how to be LESS exposed to all the celebrity crap. I seem to stumble across more than enough on the internet without even trying, I can't imagine actually purchasing it.

I think for a lot of people, it's a case of seeing that life happens to us all - famous or not.
I was a great fan of Lady Di in the 80's. Had the hairstyle and watched the wedding (our school had TV's in each classroom) - followed the styles, the tours, the hair, etc, etc - was completely gutted when she died. Since then have had no real fasication with anyone specific and to that extent. I wouldn't want to see pictures of her in her dying moments though! But Meg is right - it's a form of escapism. Some people do it with alcohol, others with food....

I think some of the attraction is knowing that no matter how beautiful, famous and rich you are, the real life problem's of living in this world can still impact your life. No one is immune to problems or heart ache.

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