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Aug 16 2012

Can someone please explain this to me?

I have a simple rule about news items about celebrity gossip. I tend to ignore those things that concern people that I am too much of an old fogey to be aware of, let alone care about. So I will read something if it is about a truly famous actor or someone not so famous but who is of my generation (i.e., old). But if the header of a news item refers to people like minor celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, and the like, I tend to skip over it and the story usually disappears fairly quickly. I save lot of time this way.

I started doing my ignoring policy when the recent stories about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart emerged, since on the surface it seemed to be a run-of-the-mill story about minor actors (whose names I had barely heard about) having affairs. And yet, stories about them simply do not go away and keep popping up on the news sites that I read. It must be at least two weeks now and the stories about Pattinson and Stewart keep coming, even in the British press. It seems to be as big a news story as the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was a long time ago. And yet, unlike Pattinson and Stewart, Taylor and Burton were at the peak of their careers and extremely famous.

So why is this couple such a big news story? Are they the greatest actors of their generation and I am simply too much out of the loop to be aware of it? Or is it because, as actors in vampire films, this is part of the fascination with that genre that also baffles me?

I am truly puzzled. What is so special about this story that makes it dominate the celebrity gossip news?

41 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

    Who?

  2. 2
    kantalope

    On a more serious note though – Kristen Stewart slut shamed out of a job over it: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/08/16/post_scandal_kristen_stewart_gets_kicked_out_of_her_own_franchise.html

    So maybe there is a serious lesson?

  3. 3
    leni

    Yeah I hadn’t heard about it either. Thanks for ruining my streak ;D

    Big fan of the vampire genre here. Mostly because of Buffy, which is made of pure awesome and has no sparkling vampires. I like the genre mostly for the camp factor and more rarely, because some films are actually scary. Some of them just have great subtext. I do not consider the sparkling vampire series to have any of those things, but to be fair I haven’t read them either.

  4. 4
    C Tran

    It’s because they play lovers in a long-running fantasy series and are lovers in reality. It adds a certain weight to their relationship that is admired by some as a fairy tale romance come to life.

  5. 5
    C Tran

    BUT NOW THE FAIRY TALE IS OVER

    KILL YOURSELVES

  6. 6
    Shawn Mann

    It’s a media device go sell advertising. Five years from now they’ll celebrate
    the anniversary, ten years it will be on a after school special! Humor!

  7. 7
    Kate from Iowa

    Who cares about those two? But pay attention to anything that says what’s going on with Michael J. Fox medically. Apparently he’s on a new drug regimen that’s helping his Parkinson’s enough for him to go back to work on a more regular basis. It’ll be interesting to see what it is, and what the actual long-term effects of (is that correct? I can’t come up with anything better.) of it are. Bonus is…it’s something that actually matters, since Parkinson’s can affect anybody, and I’ve yet to meet anyone affected by a sparkling vampire.

  8. 8
    billygutter01

    Sadly, I have been affected by a sparkly vampire.

    I saw one in a movie once, and it caused my eyes to roll and my hand to immediately turn it off. True story.

  9. 9
    emburii

    They are the ones who play the Mormon vampire and his forever love interest, defining romance for an entire generation of tweens (and sick mothers, weep now). That’s pretty much what they’ve been typecast into, and this story breaks that illusion wide open. It makes them people again, so I guess people who buy into the Twilight horror and the media who feed it find this shocking and are having trouble letting go.

  10. 10
    LJ Briar

    You beat me to it. But yes. It’s not a fantasy series I would recommend anybody reading, but they play a play a pair of famous (for the young and/or mildly stupid) fictional lovers onscreen.

  11. 11
    Daniel Schealler

    I recently gave into nostalgia and started re-watching Buffy.

    It’s so weird re-watching it now. Last time around the actors were all older than me. Now they’re all younger than me. I have more in common with Giles than Xander, and Buffy actually looks like a kid now.

    Also: No-one has mobile phones! (still on season two) So many plot lines rely on characters not being able to contact each other due to either not being home, or because of a baddies disabling the phone lines somehow. The notion of a bunch of teenagers not having mobile phones really jumps out at you. So dated now. :p

  12. 12
    doubtthat

    I confess to having very little understanding of this, either. This is the first time someone in Hollywood shagged outside of marriage?

    The only thing I can come up with is that they’re teen idols. Their main fans are teen and pre-teen girls, so they have some undefined higher responsibility to behave better.

  13. 13
    Marshall

    The hilarity of you posting this is just…indescribable. You realize that you are displaying exactly that celebrity fascination that is the topic of this thread?

    The amusing thing is that I partially feel the tug too. I think that we all have some weird fascination with celebrities. It might have to do with some more primal, weird residual “respecting the leader of the pack” trait, and that somehow celebrities, being in the spotlight, receiving fame and adoration from thousands, tricks our subconscious into using this lens of fascination.

  14. 14
    kantalope

    Weird thing is, when I clicked on the link over at slate I didn’t recognize the name…I just pictured someone getting kicked out of their own McDonalds or some such franchise and I wondered how that could happen.

    The celebrity thing went right by me.

  15. 15
    FedUp(OrJustFed)

    Hooray for Michael J! My father has Parkinson’s, and if it helps Michael J., you can damn well bet I’ll find out if it can help Dad.

  16. 16
    Dalillama

    What I’ve gotten from this is that they plan to make sequels to Snow White. It’s frankly bad enough that someone felt the need to make some half-assed hybrid of Grimm and Robin Hood, but making more of them? This is why I don’t watch movies much anymore.

  17. 17
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Don’t know who they are. Don’t know why people care so much to make some people celebrities, and then support the weird media that they follow.

    OTOH, a celebrity sometimes does something mildly newsworthy, like showing how dangerous religion can be.

  18. 18
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    It seems to be as big a news story as the affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was a long time ago.

    I’m thinking it is more akin to when the affairs of Charles and Princess Diana broke. Of course, not anywhere near the magnitude (or length, or commitment, or progeny), just the idea of this fairy tale couple (especially in the minds of young romantic girls) turning out to be not so much.

  19. 19
    Kate from Iowa

    Oh…well if we’re counting things like that, I guess I do know someone affected by a sparkly vampire. The cousin who brought that tripe to a family gathering was definately affected when I smacked her in the back of the head (she wanted my opinion on it.)

    Since when has a love triangle beetween an abusive, self-hating stalker; a possessive and potentially physically violent stalker, and a self-destructive, co-dependant, bipolar piece of wreckage been the height of romance? If you have to read such emotionally devaluing crap, at least read Shakespeare and try to -look- as if you have something going on upstairs!

  20. 20
    Kate from Iowa

    So far no word on what it actually is, it was a leaked story, and you never know how reliable something like that is. Still, it would be wonderful, if it’s true. It could help so many people!

  21. 21
    Jockaira

    WGAF?

    Watch me. I’m giving a fuck.

    OOPS! Can’t get it up.

    …And Now, back to our regular programming sponsored by the manufacturers of crap you don’t really need but buy anyway,

    just because we want you to.

    “But…This is a bag of dog shit!”

    “But Mrs. Kresge…It’s GOOD dog shit!”

  22. 22
    Hamilton Jacobi

    Will Ferrell has given a very eloquent and heartfelt explanation why this issue is so important.

  23. 23
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Okay, I have to at least credit the Twilight books for getting me through a major depressive episode — they kept me fascinated (in a train-wreck-y sort of way) long enough to get back to whatever this is that passes as a “normal mood”.

    In retrospect, however, the whole relationship between Edward and Bella is… really scary. He stalks her, sneaks in to her bedroom to watch her sleep, controls her relationships with others, harms her “for her own good” (and threatens suicide, to boot, which is only stopped by her interference), manipulates her into marriage… Edward is the classic abuser, minus the violence. And Bella. Bella just… she thinks it’s romantic (and not at all ooky, no) that he does these things!

    I’ve been the “Bella”, and learned first hand that what seems “romantic” at first gets real creepy (and real dangerous) real fast, and by the time you realize your position, it’s too late. You’re going to have to go through a LOT of bullshit and pain to get free.

    Never again.

  24. 24
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    The illusion of “Happy Ever After” has been shattered. Again.

    Maybe it’s time we stop telling kids that they’ll automagically meet Mr/Ms Right and get married and live Happily Ever After, the end. Maybe we should start showing — even at a young age — that relationships take work? There is no “Destiny”, no “Soulmate”, no “Forever Love”, but you can have a happy ending if you work together with your partner, instead of waiting for a rescue by Prince(ss) Charming. Oh, and that love will make you do some weird things.

    To those devastated by this oh-so-shocking revelation of infidelity — the world has not ended. These are not perfect people, neither am I, and neither are you, please to be moving on and dealing with your own life, now.

  25. 25
    TheVirginian

    The media are trying, desperately at times, to attract young readers/viewers. So two actors in a popular series who get into a scandal are meat to be thrown to the lions.
    I’m a longtime newspaperman, and this type of thing is not new. Newspapers evolved “sections” in order to appeal to different groups of readers. Sports, women/society/people, local news, world/national news, religion were all efforts to diversify and centralize content targeted at various groups. I despise the “religion” content of most papers/TV, but I also recognize that if they want a lot of believers to read/view their content, they need to offer material that believers want without too much content to challenge beliefs. It’s a delicate balance. I’ve help some religion editors at my current paper (south Louisiana since 1994) avoid a few pitfalls, but sometimes it’s a bit like using a bucket under a waterfall to keep water out of the pool below.
    As for the “Twilight” couple, I have not seen the movie, but if someone has and is enthralled by it, then the acts of major characters offscreen will be entertaining. This has been going on for decades (and probably centuries), as long as people have liked to listen to gossip about famous people. I am too old to keep up with a lot of the younger celebrities, but I can understand why young people want to know. That’s what I was like 30-40 years ago. Not obsessed with celebrities, but, hey, did you know John Belushi did drugs and died of a drug overdose? If you loved Belushi’s work, then, yes, you wanted to know. I imagine Sumerians and Egyptians gossiped about their kings and nobles 5,000 years ago. It’s human nature.

  26. 26
    DollyCade

    Dear friend your thing much similar with mine. I also do not like to gossip or here gossip about celebrities infact i don,t like gossip about any thing. In my view gossips are only for those people who cannot bear the fame of others.

  27. 27
    Ysanne

    Thanks, that was my first thought too.
    Who would want to see one more minute of Snow White and the Huntsman?
    Ok, it almost passed the Bechdel test and no-one got the girl in the end, but that’s really the only positive things I can find in this movie…

  28. 28
    mikmik

    Yeah, it surely is an experience that teaches you to be wary real quick. I’m very happy you are feeling better, WMDKitty(Always growing and learning). When it turns to stalking you, and attacking anyone you subsequently try to have a relationship with, you learn to recognize possessive and inappropriate intentions and behaviors very quickly.

  29. 29
    Mano Singham

    Yes, you are probably right that the Charles/Diana split is a closer parallel.

  30. 30
    Marcus Ranum

    So why is this couple such a big news story?

    People who feel unimportant feel slightly more important if they have even a tenuous emotional connection to people that they feel are more important than they are?

    It seems a general trait. For pack animals, “sucking up” might be a survival instinct. Perhaps this is how it manifests itself in a media-heavy society.

  31. 31
    ashleybell

    Ha! That’s what I said too. I got Mano beat, this post was the first I had ever heard of these actors!

  32. 32
    Jennifer

    Along the same lines, I was really disgusted when in the movie Jacob forced an aggressive kiss on Bella, with no recognition by the movie that it was outright sexual assault. It was portrayed as romantic.

  33. 33
    Mano Singham

    Really? You managed to avoid hearing about this? It seems like every news source I read has something about it. I didn’t even post a link to the story because I simply assumed that everyone else had heard of it and was likely sick of it too.

  34. 34
    SusanP

    My sister-in-law wrote a book about the fascination with vampires in our culture and others if you’re interested:

    http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-God-Allure-Western-Culture/dp/143842860X

  35. 35
    Sunny

    Given the way Hollywood operates, perhaps the whole thing has been staged to get publicity for the recent ventures of those involved. The pictures of the two of them “caught together” definitely look staged.

  36. 36
    mikmik

    You know, Sunny, that is a very good point. I know that a lot of these disputes, rumors of affairs, etc., are staged. I know they will two actors/actresses to go on the talk show circuit and get all irate about working with the other one, and really play it up.

  37. 37
    robb

    here is what i think of celebrity gossip

  38. 38
    Jeff Johnson

    I’m not up on this story, and the reason is that I read all my news through RSS feeds. By not actually visiting the sites you can avoid all the flashy blinky glossy screaming garbage competing for your clicks, and you can focus on the topics or columnists that interest you. Of course sometimes to comment or for other reasons you must click through to the site, but it need not be the overly busy and distracting home page.

    I’ve been in news bliss since getting all my info on my iPad via RSS. I highly recommend the app Mr. Reader. Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in that app. I’m making this shameless plug for the nice guy who writes and supports the software, and who always answers my email quickly. I use it and recommend it because it truly is good.

  39. 39
    emburii

    It’s a message that more people need to figure out. My own mother sighs and moons over how ‘perfect’ my relationship is, and says I was ‘lucky’ to find my partner and holds onto the idea that she’ll be ‘lucky’ as well. I don’t have the heart to tell her that it will never happen, that my relationship is work and effort from both parties and that she’s too set and selfish to ever be able to make something the same way.

  40. 40
    emburii

    Ick. That movie had so much wasted potential, but what they want to do in the sequels doesn’t sound like it’ll make up the lack.

  41. 41
    Shleuven

    Interesting point about celebrities being perceived as the “leaders of the pack” – I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. I also think it’s a psychological thing to do with repeated exposure – once you see something enough times, you will probably start liking it.

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