Why do we enjoy hearing the latest scandals about stars, singers, and icons? Is it because we enjoy having new people to judge? Is it because we like the burst of self-righteous self-satisfaction of knowing that we would never do anything that stupid? All of these are probably true for anyone who enjoys pop culture news and many of these ring true for me. But maybe there is something greater and more positive that we can glean from our guilty pleasure.
Let’s look at an example. The big white whale in the #MeToo movement, the sick poc himself, Harvey Weinstein. Self-righteous anger indeed is what many people felt in the wake of the assault allegations. I have probably nearly exhausted this topic especially on the podcast BUT here I am still finding new ways to complain about him. Apart from being an endless supply of kindling for my rage fire, what did the complaints and anger actually do? For one thing, the allegations and the anger of people launched a cultural conversation and movement of women and men stepping up to share their traumatizing events, allowing people to gain some closure and at least some small amounts of justice. And the conversation has not ceased.
What other glaring cultural problems can the movie, television, and music industry scandals reveal? One of the other most prominent ones is the power imbalance between talent and executives. Many of the scandals occur when people are in a position of inequality and are afraid to say no. By examining all of this and making ourselves more educated in the industries that create the media we enjoy then we can participate in creating an environment of equality.
The whole point of this article is to say, it's okay to judge and complain! No, I’m kidding, please don’t take that away. What I am saying is that there is a place for righteous anger and critical examination of ourselves and others. As creatives and consumers. Not only does keeping ourselves informed about the goings-on in the world of digital media allow us to think critically about our own consumption but it also allows us to self reflect on our own work and our treatment of those who work with us and for us. All of these things have biblical backing as well. Jesus trashed the temple when he saw the desecration that was taking place. Do you think that the treatment of men and women in Hollywood from those who have power over them is any less of a desecration in his eyes? We are called to love. This is one of the greatest commandments. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This should come first in everything we do. Not that anyone reading this would ever do anything like the previous people. But that we are conscious that whatever power we gain through our business’ or art does not give us the right to look down upon people with less. These are just a few of the positive things that can be gleaned from our love of scandal. Bet you didn’t think this was gonna go that deep? I pulled a sneaky one on you.