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After I finished doing the dishes and then played a few video games, I decided to check Twitter to see if there were any major news updates I missed and could muse on. There was one major news story that caught my eye. No, it wasn't the shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge. It wasn't the Republican National Convention; who cares about the collapse of American politics? Nor was it SpaceX attempting a first private space flight, expanding our footprint into the cosmos. It was Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift. Yes, indeedily-doodily! The world-stopping, earth-shattering, finger-snapping, throwing-of-shade between these celebrities had escalated, and I, like the rest of the world, stopped for a second from watching everything burn to care about the throwdown. It's a long, convoluted story, but it involves a song Kanye wrote that referenced Taylor -- and referred to her as a "bitch" -- that she maybe consented to, and then later condemned. Kim got involved by supposedly exposing Taylor on Snapchat via a secretly recorded conversation. I know, it's like the days of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Eddie Fisher all over.
But really, I truly, honestly, deeply do not care about celebrity drama. I don't know who's on who's diss track, I have no idea who's dating who, and I don't care what anyone was wearing at what event. "But you're writing about it, Amanda! Clearly you do," you might be saying. I really don't care about what celebrities do, I care about how we react to it. And honestly, the way everyone is responding has truly reinforced my belief that the way we deal with celebrity drivel is the most disheartening thing about our culture, and I say that while watching America tear itself apart over race, crime, and politics. How can I say that with a straight face? Easily. It shows how quickly we abandon any principles and morals we have in order to revel in petty schadenfreude.
First off, let's be up front about something. If the crap Kim, Kanye, and Taylor pulled was being carried out by a bunch of poor people on The Maury Povich Show, we would be pointing, laughing, and changing the channel. This is a petty ongoing feud, but involving people with too much money, too much time, and not enough real problems in their lives. There is no good person in this fight. Kanye is a pompous, probably mentally-unbalanced narcissist. Kim is a woman obsessed with her looks, and the minute those fade, we'll start mocking her for her plastic surgeries (too late). Taylor is a vacuous woman who is so inauthentic with her image, she makes Hillary Clinton look like a paragon of earnestness. If there was no level of celebrity and money involved between these three, they would instantly conjure images of people yelling at each other from their porches at the trailer park, beer in hand and cigarette in mouth. It's trashy, petty garbage that, if it showed up on our Facebook feed, we would unfriend all of them.
Secondly, there's a probability that by secretly recording a private conversation, Kim and Kanye broke California law. You see, California is what's called a "two-party consent" state. Taylor would have had to agree to having the call recorded or else it's illegal. No, it's not a felony, but it is punishable by a fine and jail for up to a year. While we cheer that Kim and Kanye exposed Taylor (for headlines and Keeping Up With the Kardashian plotlines), we freak out that companies and the government are invading our privacy for profit. We revolted when Edward Snowden told us the government was spying on us -- there are folks who put stickers over the cameras on their laptops because they might be listening! So, corporations mining and selling our private presence to shill more junk freaks us out, but when Kim and Kanye do it, it's just good old-fashioned celebrity drama.
Now I get that after the rough year that 2016 has been we need a little light-heartedness; a laugh, something to take our mind off the horrors. But the obsession with Pokemon Go or Game of Thrones is much less mortifying than cheering for the humiliation of entitled strangers. It reminds me of all those who make fun of people who shop at Walmart (don't you have to shop at Walmart to know what kind of people shop there)? You can't say you hate petty celebrity drama and then click on TMZ eight times an hour. I generally go by the rule that if someone explicitly mentions they hate drama, I avoid them; it means they're actually drawn to it. If this is how you get your jollies, and get your mind off how terrible the world is, maybe this is part of why the world feels so off-track. If you need a distraction, go read Little Women.
Am I being judgmental? Yeah I am. But just remember, you probably have an opinion on who the "good guys" are in this whole mess.
AMANDA KERRI is a writer and comedian living in Oklahoma City.