Society has become, incredibly, even more obsessed with celebrities than it used to be.
I do not follow celebrities of any sort (unless “Niels Bohr” counts as a celebrity,) and my TV viewing is limited almost entirely to documentaries and children’s media, yet against my will I know who the Kardashians are, the basic plot of Rick and Morty (the Atlantic of all magazines ran an article on the show), way too much about Linda Sarsour, what Alexandria Cortez wore to work today, and every single Trump fart.
This is all gossip, and gossip is a sin.
How can you tell if something is gossip:
- Are you talking about a conversation that happened between two other people, neither of whom are present? Then it’s probably gossip.
- If you deleted the names, would it still be an interesting story? If not, then it’s gossip.
Along with this increase in gossip has come an increase in demands for purity in one’s acquaintances. These arguments tend to go like this: “Linda Sarsour once talked to a guy who said a bad thing, therefore Linda Sarsour agrees with these bad things.” Even worse, people demand purity in the people merely near famous people or talking about them, eg, “This guy went to a conference where a white supremacist was also in attendance, so he deserves to lose his job,” or “An evil guy said he liked something this other person wrote, therefore the thing this person wrote is evil.”
All of this gossip is coupled with endless demands that you remember who these people are. “Ben Shapiro said blah blah blah!” I don’t know who that is, nor do I care. “OMG, did you hear the stupid thing Jordan B. Peterson said?” I truly don’t care. If you think JBP is stupid, don’t read him. “Wow, just wow, this mildly famous male feminist just got accused of doing something bad so we all need to rally the entire country around attacking him RIGHT NOW.”
I don’t know how people manage to care this much about minor celebrities. It’s all getting really old.
Stop with all the gossip. Evaluate an argument on its merits, not based on who said it.