By Anne T. Donahue
We’re less than 10 days into a new decade, and everything’s a shit-show. I won’t get into the ins and outs of international politics, but I will say that if you’re currently feeling on-edge and terrible, that’s the only way I think we’re supposed to feel – which is saying something considering that over the last four years, every so often, we’d be given a reprieve from channeling the subject of The Scream. Not anymore.
But then comes a day like yesterday’s celebrity news round-up; a day in which the entertainment news is so messy that you can’t help but lean in as close to your computer as you possibly can while shouting, “WAIT, WHAT?” alone. Over the course of one afternoon, Meghan and Harry announced plans to “take a step back” from being “senior members” of the Royal Family. Grimes took to Instagram to announce that she’s pregnant with Elon Musk’s child. And Justin Bieber revealed that he has Lyme Disease. (Which honestly sucks. Nobody wants to have Lyme Disease.)
So naturally, I was late for dinner. I, a 34-year-old woman with work to do and friends to meet, had to text those very friends to explain that I would be late for our meal because I was reading the internet. “Meghan and Harry!” I said, with no explanation outside of my internal surprise at my inability to stop tweeting about them. “Grimes?!” Quickly, my friend seemed to understand: “Bieber has Lyme disease!” she texted back. “We have a lot to talk about.”
For the record, none of us know or ever knew anyone we planned on talking about. I don’t know Justin Bieber or Grimes or Elon Musk (honestly, thank God), nor Harry and Meghan (though I do recommend that if they plan on moving here, they get in touch because I’m fun). But yesterday’s celebrity whatever-that-was achieved exactly the volume of celebrity gossip I’ve come to crave: nonsense, delivered at lightning speed, funneled into our minds in a way post-Golden Globes coverage would never dare. The year is 2020. I want pure, unadulterated shenanigans. And then I want to read a million tweets about it, laugh by myself at my computer, and forget about all of it in ten minutes or so.
I want my celebrity news this year to be pixie sticks and Mountain Dew: ridiculous, over-stimulating, and tainted by the regret you feel after realizing how much garbage you’ve just confused. I want to know what Will and Kate think of Meghan and Harry. I want to know what the Queen has to say. I want to know if Denise Richards is leaving Real Housewives. And I want to collapse on the floor and yell “NO! STOP IT!” whenever I hear about Pete Davidson and Kaia Gerber.
Which I don’t feel bad about. We have lived through months of self-care and wellness and whatever it is Gooppromises to sell us. And, over all of that and annoyed at even the word “health,” I’m ready to use absolute trash as my coping mechanism against everything else that’s going on. I’m ready to treat the meltdown of the British monarchy or the will-they-or-won’t-they of Julianne Hough’s marriage as the life raft I’ve fashioned myself amidst the chaos. I’m ready to embrace how low-brow I really am, and how happily I’ll click on every blind item to decipher who’s doing what with whom on what day. I’m here to fill five precious moments of my life with a Mountain Dew can full of pixie stick dust (metaphorically). And while it can and will never actually sustain me, it will carry me through to the next thing; the next thing that will make celebrity news look so stupid and trivial because it is, but we need it and read about it anyway because otherwise we’ll all just feel like we’re seconds from dying.
So here’s to the 2020 pop cultural shit-show. Here’s to those precious seconds of thinking too much about a famous couple whose marriage you feel inexplicably drawn to over-analyzing. Here’s to conversations about gowns. Here’s to Brad Pitt calling Leonardo DiCaprio LDC. And here’s to my precious son, Justin Bieber, who I hope starts feeling better. Perhaps he and Meghan and Harry can all start to hang out.