There's a lot of chitchat on the TV and elsewhere these days about celebrity gossip, along with much tut-tutting and rolling of eyes. What's wrong with people today? Why are they so invested in the lives of strangers, famous though they may be?
Here's my take: I think celebrity gossip has probably been around, in some form or other, from the days humans first formed communities, because for good or ill, people like to talk about other people. A well known person, being well known, is going to be talked about more than an unknown person.
In fact, I'd even venture to say that the first stories probably started off as a form of gossip. Who did what when, and why. And don't some of the Greek myths have a sort of supermarket tabloid feel to them? The bickering, the spats, the adultery.
Gossip about people we know and work with, especially unfounded rumors, can be very harmful in real life. Celebrity gossip, though, seems a sort of neutral territory. They don't know us, so what we say about them won't really hurt them or us. Whether it does or not I leave to finer minds than mine, but I don't think all the eye rolling, pearl-clutching and tut-tutting in the world is going to make people stop talking and speculating about famous people and the lives they live.