As is becoming par for the course, I can't sleep. So I'll share with you all the things I learned while in line at the supermarket today:
1. Nick and Jessica are splitting up.
2. Brad is adopting Angelina's kids.
3. Kevin and Britney might be splitting up.
4. Ben and Jen named their baby Violet.
5. Oprah has a new diet.
6. Tom and Katie are having a boy.
7. I can fit into my skinny jeans by January!
To these nuggets of information, I have the following responses:
1. This could be good for Jessica's career. If I were her dadager, I would suggest she try for full-on country cross-over with a cover of "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." And date Johnny Knoxville. Or maybe a Nascar driver.
2. The weird thing about this is the copy of a legal-looking document changing the kids' names to Maddox and Zahara Jolie-Pitt. Jolie-Pitt has to be the worst hyphenated name ever. It sounds like a national monument of some kind. "And on the left, you'll see Jolie Pitt." Seems to me Brad has moved from one woman who was too good for him to another. But at least he's not Billy Bob.
3. I hope so. Poor Britney. At least there's no place to go but up. And hey, Nick's single...
4. By a Hollywood standard, it's not a terrible name. I think it would have been funny if they'd name her Jennifer, though. Wouldn't it make things easier for Ben if all the women in his life just had the same name? I wonder if his mom would be willing to change her name too? How weird and surreal would that be?
5. How can they honestly still be printing this? Leave the poor woman and her diets alone. Jesus Christ.
6. How virile Tom must be, siring a man-child! Maybe they will name him Elron. That would rule.
7. January of what year?
Celebrity culture is so weird. For a long time, I had a free subscription to Us magazine. As I like to read drivel in the bathtub, most weeks I read it, so I was pretty much in the know about the celebrity goings on. This is, for example, why I know the names of the actresses and characters on Sex and the City, even though I've never seen it. However, that subscription has been run out for several months now, and I was realizing in the line today that I am not up to date anymore. It was this strange feeling, like I had been kept out of the loop of my friends or family or something. I felt oddly betrayed. I had no idea Kevin and Britney were even having problems! It's the same feeling I get when I watch an episode of General Hospital. I'm somehow insulted that life in Port Charles went on while I wasn't paying attention, and that things are as weird and fucked up as ever. How strange to feel that way about the lives of real people, though. Or at least mostly real people (my jury is still out on the possibility of the Jessica-bot).
I don't really know where I'm going with this, except to say that it's strange. Strange to find these things out, strange to care. With the exception of my skinny jeans, none of this applies to me. These are stories only removed by fiction by a tiny step, about people manufactured and sold as characters in their own lives, and yet they are part of our cultural fabric, staring at us from supermarket lines and TV screens. What's it for? What is it about their lives that keeps people interested? And what kind of a people are we that we are so alienated from our own lives, and from the real art around us, that we substitute real feelings and real interests for interest in and feelings about manufactured people's manufactured lives?
And what about the manufactured people themselves? Do they have real lives? When they stand in line at the supermarket and look at those magazine covers, do they see themselves?