I find it interesting that there are people out there who are online writers like I am that in one breath will complain about and point fingers at anyone talking about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s divorce (this goes for any celebrity couple when they break up) and who turn their noses up at and wring their hands at the very thought that people find these sorts of stories interesting, or at least conversation worthy, and who will declare that they’d never stoop so low as to talk about someone else’s personal life, but who will then go and make top 10 lists of the couple’s cutest moments or lists of songs to get them through the tough times and who have no problem writing in-depth stories about how the couple’s divorce might impact the future of the music industry, awards shows, their small Oklahoma hometown, the future of pet rescue, or whatever.
It seems to me that it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, if you’re writing a story that uses Blake and Miranda’s breakup as talking points, regardless of how professional and non-gossipy you try and be about it, you’re still using a celebrity couple’s misfortune for the same reason every other writer out there is writing about it (and that includes the tabloids) – to share information, opinions, and to, yes, **GASP** try and get people to read what you’ve written about a sad, unfortunate, undeniably hot topic of conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these people are wrong for doing their thing, I’m just saying that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about one sort of exploitation but be totally fine with another, no matter how innocent it may seem. Talking about the divorce in any form is still talking about the divorce. And while I’m not saying that a top 10 list of Blake and Miranda’s best songs to get them through their dark days is as bad as people trying to figure out who screwed who, it is, nonetheless, two sides of the same coin and you’re exploiting a story that is unfortunately very popular at the moment. It’s okay, embrace it, your readers and other writers understand why you’ve written what you’ve written even if you don’t want to admit it.
I think of it like this. If I was going through a divorce I’d absolutely hate it (but definitely wouldn’t be surprised) if everyone was gossiping on Facebook about what happened between my husband and I. I’d also really hate it if they were openly trying to figure out where we went wrong. And I’d really, really hate it if one or both of us were accused of sleeping around and all of our friends and family (and tons and tons of complete strangers) were trying to figure out who we cheated with. Those things would suck, but you know what else I’d hate probably just as much? People posting cutesy pictures and saying, “Awww, look at how cute they used to be. I miss how cute they were together.” Or if people shared my wedding video and reminisced about the hopes and dreams we had back when we first got married. What person dealing with a divorce really wants to find out people are going back and reliving the good times in their now-defunct marriage?
But you know what else would also suck? People writing about how my breakup will probably totally f*ck up Christmas for the rest of the family, which is kind of what I think of when stories pop up dissecting what the breakup of a celebrity couple means to the various industries they’re associated with.
Honestly, none of the examples I just gave seem better or worse to me in terms of what I’d want to deal with if I was going through a divorce.
That said, I don’t fault anyone who chooses to write about any of these things, whether it’s a top 10 list, a dissection of what went wrong in their marriage, an analysis of what their divorce will mean to various industries, questions about what their future music will be like, who they’ll date next, or even who they may or may not have cheated with. I may find some of the things that have been written over the last couple of days distasteful and I wouldn’t personally write the same sorts of things myself, but my feeling is you do your thing and I’ll do mine. My point is, if writers are going to choose to use the personal struggles of celebrities as inspiration for the stories they write, no matter how innocent seeming the story may be, then maybe they should think twice before they decide to try and make others feel bad because they also choose to use the personal struggles of celebrities as inspiration for the stories they write.
It takes all kinds to make the world go round and just because two people have different views of what is okay and what is not doesn’t mean that you’re any better or any worse than anyone else. You do your thing and I’ll do mine.