Essay On Tabloid Culture

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Tabloid culture is, in simple terms, gossip. Anna Hummel, a student of University of California, quoted Robin Dunbar; a published expert on gossip, in her short paper called ‘The Evolutionary significance of Gossip’. She says, ‘As humans, we take pride in our ability to think critically and express ourselves through art, music, religion, politics, and science. But in reality, most of these subjects are not discussed in the majority of human social discourse. About two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip (Dunbar 1996: 4); informal, trivial chatter, usually about the lives of other people’. The meaning of gossip itself is defined by Oxford Dictionary as ‘Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true’. I will organise my investigation into 2 separate ideas of how tabloid culture affects the lives of ordinary people. The first part will investigate the idea that we establish societal bonds over injurious information of enemies and high-status people. The second part will investigate the idea that we look at the actions of high-status people in order to clarify the norm. On an evolutionary perspective, gossip was developed as a way of maintaining social relationships. Itself, it serves a form of ‘verbal grooming’ which may be similar to ‘social grooming’ (Hummel, 2009) seen in primates. In depth, primates were seen to have groomed other primates ‘far beyond necessity’ (A. Hummel) which would suggest that grooming is a very important aspect of socializing and building bonds in primate life. As humans, gossip facilitates the need for social maintenance. It functions ‘to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of relationships…reinforcing soc... ... middle of paper ... ... the lives of ordinary people. The research more than backed up the ideas brought up in both sections of the investigation. To conclude, tabloid culture has an interesting effect on normal people. Essentially, gossip can be looked at an instrument to build bonds with another person and to maintain that relationship with damaging information of non-allies. However it can also be looked at as if we are subconsciously looking out for one’s self when we seek damaging information about others as we want to improve our status, enhance our image to others. The other main idea of gossip is that we govern our lives by the mistakes that high-status people make in the spotlight. This aspect of wanting to clarify social norms is exploited by tabloids; who publish stories that rescind the reputation of those in the limelight, enticing readers therefor generating more revenue.
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