Scandal Vandal

The new age of celebrity scandal, and why we can never have enough.

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We’ve all seen it—from Woody Allen to Tiger Woods to Winona Ryder (what, you’ve never done a bit of retail therapy via some casual shoplifting rather than seeing your actual therapist?). The list is endless. Celebrity scandal is all around us, has been all around us, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Thank goodness.

Celebrity vice can manifest itself in a vibrant variety of ways: substance abuse, insider trading, assault, sexual promiscuity, or outrageous behavior (shaving one’s own head is not inherently a best practice, Britney). However way it rears its ugly head, you best believe it will be tossed into the media gambit without any hesitation.

But everyone loves a good train wreck— this social rubbernecking is undeniable, even if you do in fact deny it—we know you’re lying. Don’t tell us you never once went out of your way to do a bit more “research” on one of the many Lindsay Lohan nip slip images. Again, we know you’re lying.

So then the question arises—does celebrity scandal in fact increase celebrity status? These two might very well have a beautifully formulated and symbiotic relationship. It harkens back to the well-worn phrase: “Keep talking, you’re making me famous.” From a PR standpoint, at the end of the day, coverage is coverage. Good coverage is of course the goal, but when it comes down to it, publicity is publicity. Weren’t familiar enough with Paris Hilton before her sex tape was leaked? Bet you are now. Very familiar.

FILE: Lindsay Lohan Booking Photos

Even further down the line, if a celebrity can rise above their past reprehensible and highly publicized actions, and come out on top, they are certified golden. Even better than before. Celebrity 2.0. Everyone loves a comeback kid. Maybe a stint in rehab is indeed the cure-all.

Can this infamy be justified in that it comes with the territory though? Does a high-ranking and highly visible status grant one the leeway to be more notorious with their personal life choices? Some might argue that these individuals are primed for explicit behavior overall. With money, power, connections and endless temptations at their fingertips—the stage is set for debauchery.

This perfect storm is only further fueled by the pressures of fame, driven by the persistence of being in the spotlight, the high demands of the business, and assuredly some internal, superstar status-induced, self-identification issues.

Is this reasoning enough of a scapegoat for the reprehensive and downright dumb actions we’ve all seen over the years? When it comes down to it, we’re all human. We’ve all made some regrettable decisions—only ours haven’t been blatantly plastered over countless headlines for all to gawk at while in line at the convenience store (maybe just a bit of drunken Facebook shaming, but that pales in comparison).

We say, in the grand scheme of things, if you’ve won enough Olympic gold medals to bump the US Treasury out of debt, you can have as many bong rips as you want. Go right ahead Michael Phelps. If you’ve made ten times more money than any of us common folk would in ten lifetimes, please feel free to make a viral video drunkenly consuming fast food. Can’t wait to see what you do next with a burrito, David Hasselhoff. If you have more music accolades than toes, feel free to go on another reckless Twitter rant. Can’t wait to see what the next one will be about, Chris Brown. But one thing is for certain, we’ll all just sit back and enjoy.

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