Philosopher’s Mail: Actual News Vs. Guiltless Gossip
Like the devil offering a compromise we can’t refuse…
Tabloids lure us in with “juicy” gossip and personal details about people we don’t know. They invite us into (and make us obsess over) the private moments of other people. And this can be dangerous because, whether intentional or not, tabloids can distract us from the important things. Things like war, politics, and class warfare (all those icky, tedious, far away problems). When I stand in line at the grocery store, I play a game with myself.
The goal is to avoid looking at the magazines on the rack. I never win. For some reason, and it’s hard for me to admit this to myself, I am drawn in and want to find out about, say, Jennifer Aniston’s seventeenth break up – a person, and event, so far removed from my life (and I’m guessing yours) that knowing about it has exactly 0% effect on my life. So why then, are we so inclined to read these articles? Perhaps it’s escapism. Perhaps it’s to relish in the foibles of others, so we know we aren’t the only ones who make mistakes. For whatever reason you sneak a peek at the tabloids, it’s not all gloom and existential pointlessness – there is good news as well. The Philosopher’s Mail believes we gain insight from reading tabloids. The benefit emerges when we scrutinize the events differently – it is how we look at and understand Jennifer Aniston’s break up that is important.
Using the Tabloids Tools Against Them
The Philosopher’s Mail uses tabloid-like headlines in order to compel people to read their articles: intelligent articles written with purpose and meaning, if you’re into that sort of thing. Take, for example, the headline, “Cate Blanchett, $10m ambassador for Giorgia Armani, reassures us it would be OK to call her poo face”. Yes, that’s a real headline, and yes, you probably have a strong desire to read it now. I know I did! I hovered my mouse over the link to the article while suppressing my guilt for wanting to know why, why can we call her poo face? For a while, I avoided reading the article, and instead preoccupied myself with articles that sounded more intelligent, articles I thought I should be reading. Eventually I did cave; I went for it –I read the article, and I read it with relish, damn it! The article was full of deep, heartfelt, and pertinent information to our lives – ideas People Magazine couldn’t begin to sink their bleached teeth into.
The article discusses how Blanchett’s open interaction with her son shows her compassion for those without the wealth and recognition she has obtained: it humanizes her, makes her relatable. It makes us like her – dare I say, love her (if her acting capabilities didn’t already make us quiver). You may also come across, and I hope you do, ‘A brief Philosophy of Oral Sex’, the philosophical version of Cosmopolitan’s sexist ‘Turn him on without saying a word’. Magazines like Cosmopolitan engage in the sexualisation of women by women, a phenomenon that sounds sexier than it is. These magazines instil a sense of inadequacy and fear in woman who don’t already feel inadequate enough, by bombarding women with countless ways to make “their man” feel good. Counter to Cosmopolitan and other like-minded magazines, the Philosopher’s Mail article delves into what the act of oral sex says about human nature without the added sexualisation of men and woman.
Doing away with the evil of Cosmo!
Rather, The Philosopher’s Mail helps us understand the dark parts of ourselves. The Philosopher’s Mail suggests oral sex is rooted in a dark, dirty place: a place we don’t often show other people. When we do engage in oral sex, it’s about sharing our true selves with another human being, and less about the sexual act. But don’t be upset with the Philosopher’s Mail just because they suggest something doesn’t revolve around sex, the articles are still worth reading. In fact, the Philosopher’s Mail is doing you and me a service by taking a new approach to tabloids and gossip, and what these can accomplish. It eases us into heavier, more thoughtful territory, without all the weight.
The Philosopher’s Mail has taken something vapid and made it fruitful and insightful. Unlike tabloids, the Philosopher’s Mail makes us pause and reflect. It allows us to connect with our humanity (if you aren’t afraid to do so) in a simple, honest way, without having to read the dense, confusing works of Plato, Sartre or Derrida; although it wouldn’t hurt to read these guys, and I encourage you to try along with me. The Philosopher’s Mail is more beneficial than finding out ‘who wore it best’. It allows us to read Tabloid-like articles without being embarrassed – and yes, you should be embarrassed about reading Cosmopolitan, so please stop. The Philosopher’s Mail brings an intellectual spin to the vacuous. The Philosopher’s Mail helps us pay more attention to what we somehow forget every now and then: our own humanity.