Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries on this week's cover of People magazine. I don't think I need to tell you how successful this magazine actually is, do I?
Indulge me, if you will.
I regularly get comments on articles and Facebook posts and @ replies on Twitter in the same vein. Somebody will almost always, as if reading from a script – write “Who the fuck cares?”
Well, buddy… (I’m tempted to respond every.single.time but don’t because I have more important things to do) Millions and millions and millions of people across the entire world care. It’s why I have a job. It’s also why channels such as E! Online are so massively successful and generate so much money. It’s also the reason that celebrity gossip sites are some of the biggest on the Internet. Just because you don’t deem it newsworthy (which is your right), it doesn’t mean that it isn’t newsworthy, to somebody. Celebrity gossip articles are very, very regularly one of the top 10 most read stories on our entire portal. So, yeah, “Who the fuck cares?” is a pretty stupid question.
Aaaaand… If you don’t care (and you’re entitled not to care, by the way) then why, for the love of all things good and holy, do you click into the article, read through it, click on the “comment” button, write a comment and click submit?! I don’t care about, for example, car-related news. I don’t care and it doesn’t interet me, so I don’t read it and don’t leave comments.
Let me tell you a secret, you people who think you’re so rebellious by writing “Who the fuck cares?!” at the bottom of all of our celebrity gossip articles. We’re laughing at you. Hard. If you know anything about how online media works, you’ll know that one of the ways we measure the success of a story and generate advertising is through clicks. So – the minute you click on an article and comment, you effectively ensure that I get to do the job that I love for another day. And I thank you for that.
It still irks me, even though I’ve largely become used to the comments and the insults. I get told at least once a week that I publish “trash”, that what I write isn’t useful to anybody and that I practice “gutter journalism”. I’ve also been called a whore, a moron, an idiot, a blonde slut and a c**t. This week’s catch phrase was “incredibly snobby” (and I can work with that).
It’s the aggressive tone that irks me. It’s the fact that these people think that they’re so very, very much better than everybody else because they don’t find celebrity gossip interesting – and so they can be as rude to everybody else as they like. The anonymity of the Internet doesn’t help much, either. You can hide behind a name on a screen and swear as much as you like – and then turn around and scold your child for doing the exact same thing.
I work in entertainment. Sure, I will never, ever think that my article on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child is more important than the latest election results or the volcanic eruption in Iceland. But what my section is – what reading about Kim Kardashian’s engagement is – is escapism. Which we all need. Just for a minute. Something light and fluffy to remind ourselves that yes, the world has issues but there’s always space to hang out, breathe, and not deal with blood and death and destruction all day, every day.
And that is why I do what I do. Because my silly stories might brighten up someone’s day – and I’m perfectly happy with that.