Column: Shallow Sightings


The other day I was sitting alone in a booth at McDonald’s, enjoying a scrumptious quarter-pounder with cheese, when out of nowhere a big blob of ketchup snuck out and landed squarely on my white shirt.

Before I had time to pretend I had an itch and sneakily remove it, 20 men armed with cameras appeared and snapped shots so quickly it nearly blinded me. In a near panic, I fumbled for my keys and felt my way out the door. I jumped in my car and peeled out of the parking lot. Beads of sweat dripped down my forehead, and the ketchup blob slowly smeared its way down my shirt.

Suddenly, a black SUV pulled out in front of me with a man hanging out the rear window by his shoes screaming, “A little more to the right; smile big.” It startled me so much that I jerked the wheel and slammed myself into a pole.

Yeah, my dad didn’t believe it either.

Sound ridiculous?

Of course it is. But while I have never had to deal with this kind of attention, many celebrities have, and in the most mundane aspects of their lives no less: stuffing their faces, kissing their babies, scratching themselves. These things are recorded daily for our viewing pleasure by the paparazzi.

The saddest part of this is many of us actually care. We log on daily to various gossip Web sites to see who Lindsay Lohan had a drink with last weekend or how awful Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoes looked the other day.

Why does it matter? Does it make the slightest difference in our lives? Are our own lives really so pathetic that we rely on celebrities picking their noses to make us feel we don’t suck?

Perhaps living vicariously through the victories of the rich and famous gives us something which to aspire in our lives.

No, that’s too “sun-shiney” for me.

I choose to believe that those who obsess about the brain damage of Britney Spears’ baby are subconsciously depressed about the lack of excitement in their own lives.

So depressed, in fact, that something so trivial as a drunken snapshot of Paris Hilton makes them think, “Hey, at least I don’t have pictures that bad of me in People magazine. I think I’ll get up for work in the morning.”

What it comes down to is this: is it simple American curiosity that drives them to occasionally glance at a picture or two in their spare time, or is it an obsession with anyone not in their circle doing things that every normal person does?

I chose the latter.

I’m not pitying celebrities; they chose their fame, and they have to take what comes with it. However, I do pity those with the amount of free time it requires to actually care how many fries Ashlee Simpson ate for lunch.

Get a new hobby.

Megan Molitor is a sophomore in mass communications and is certain her algebra final will eat her soul. Please send your comments to