You probably don’t care. You probably scoff at the memes of our babe Jennifer Aniston looking smug and giving her scumbag ex the finger. You probably despair at the world’s inability to emphasise the really important stories. People are dying and killing and raping and supporting a presidential candidate who is racist, sexist and insane. And yet here we stand, blissfully unaware of real suffering and wondering why on earth anyone has time to give a crap about the relationship of some people who we don’t know.
But, I’m a loser. When I got the Guardian notification on my phone informing me of their split, I screamed to my new work colleagues ‘HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT BRAD AND ANGELINA WHAT ARE OUR THOUGHTS????’
Now this might have been a meaningless interaction, had it not been for the fact that at the same time the news was on in the background, showing a report about the recent attacks in Syria. Since it didn’t really have our attention at we didn’t really consider its importance. Until, like magic, it switched to a Brangelina report, even going as far as having a professional relationship analyst discussing the possible reasons for the divorce. ‘How ridiculous,’ commented my new boss (eek) ‘that the two events are given the same amount of news time.’
Putting me in the awks position of having just brought it up. In front of her.
I am in no way trying to justify our obsession with celebrity drama. I am simply trying to explain it.
Sometimes, I go through phases when everything feels like it is going wrong. I might do badly in an exam, and grate with a friend, and have some boy not text back and hear about a new massacre in the news all on the same day. It is then that I crave more than anything a cup of tea and a duvet in front of a particularly hostile episode of Ex on the Beach. This is not because I care at all about the characters or their weirdly sexual lives. It is because, as humans, we are inevitably inundated with tragedy – this is life. And if this is the only influence for too long, many scary things can happen. It builds up and makes us respond to trauma in increasingly strange ways. We might become numb to the reports of massacres, trust no one that we meet, or give up altogether on anything positive happening in our lives. If we familiarise ourselves with only the bad things, the good and meaningless things in life seem impossible to attain.
Luckily for me, I have some peng mates to remind me always that things are not just bad. I have the ability to delete anyone who winds me up on social media. I have tea. I have a weirdo tortoise. And, yes, I have Brangelina splitting up. Happy, sad and the wonderful trivial.