Wasting our life on pop culture blogs and gossip sites, so you don't have to.
I'd planned on steering clear of the recent break-up of Katy Perry and Russell Brand, for two principal reasons:
a) It's sad when Young Hearts Run Free, only to wind up in Splitsville after just 14 months of marriage. And I prefer my celebrity gossip to weigh in at the entertaining/ridiculous end of the spectrum. See: R Kelly's singalong cruises.
b) The split has already been written about countless times, featuring countless conjectures, countless nameless 'sources' and countless gratuitous pics of Perry in a bikini and Brand with some lady behind him.
However, it's become impossible to ignore the tiresome way the story has been reported. In the absence of any hard facts about the reason for the split from the couple themselves, we've been treated to a series of ultra-conservative cliches about why marriages fail. "Russell Brand and Katy Perry split after 'she put fame ahead of children'" hisses The Daily Mail. The Daily Star quotes a "former aide" who tuts "I don't think Russell liked that Katy was the bigger star." In the Sunday Mirror, we've got "Russell Brand filed for divorce from Katy Perry because she refused to settle down and have his children." Other recurring themes include Perry's "hard partying", Brand's ignominious past as a "tight-trousered womaniser," Perry's greater wealth and the not-particularly-shocking nine-year age gap.
The morale of the story, kids, is: "Women, don't get too good at your careers and have too much fun, or your uniformly insecure, bawdy and profligate husbands will get the hump and go find other ladies to bear their children." Nobody - not Perry, Brand, women or men - comes out of this melodramatic and manufactured parable particularly well.
We're not stupid. We've all seen Friends - or at least read Madame Bovary - and we know that life and love are more complicated than this. Reducing real people to caricatures (e.g. the career-obsessed ice queen vs the lily-livered Lothario) just keeps us stuck in the past. Let's ignore this dull narrative and embrace 2012. Happy New Year!
Just when I was in danger of becoming jaded about celebrity gossip, up pops a nice little item about Clint Eastwood's obsession with a squirrel called Lola. "Clint leaves the front door open whenever he's inside working so Lola can come and go," a source explains. "He gets a kick out of watching her and always keeps a bag of shelled peanuts on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in case she gets hungry. Clint would be so upset if Lola disappeared. He enjoys her company."
Demi Moore = Gloria Steinem
2012 has a purpose! It's the year in which we'll discover, finally, if Demi Moore can act. She's been cast in the role of feminist Gloria Steinem in the forthcoming biopic of 1970s porn actress Linda Lovelace, alongside Adam Brody and Eric Roberts, as Reuters reports.