Every time I’m standing in line at the grocery store, I’m assaulted by magazines that promise even more insight into “Jon and Kate.” Who the fuck are they? Are they reality-TV show contestants or something? Or are they simply a couple of professional tabloid subjects? People can be famous just for being famous, after all. Maybe Jon and Kate studied how to be pro tabloid subjects at the esteemed drama department at Yale and are just now applying their degrees to a real-world situation. To which I say, hooray! Or maybe Jon and Kate, unbeknownst to me, are the auteurs of a groundbreaking new kind of cinema. Or maybe they’ve composed an epic suite for strings that made Ned Rorem’s pants go crazy. Or maybe “Jon and Kate” have ironed out the pesky details of time travel. I’ll have to Google them …

Oh. They’re reality-TV show stars.

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Sigh. I guess I knew that all along.

Don’t get me wrong: There’s nothing wrong with gossip magazines. Gossip, some scientists say, is essential to survival, and thank goodness we have celebrities to gossip about. Otherwise, we’d be left gossiping only about our friends, family members, and neighbors –– and probably getting ourselves into all kinds of real-world trouble (fistfights, lawsuits, etc.). Gossiping about celebs is win-win: It gives us a chance to gossip all we want and not be gossiped about (’cause the celebs about whom we’re gossiping have no idea that we exist). My problem is with that fickle mistress fame. (Not “Fame.” Love “Fame.”) I hate how she warps reality and consumes us –– and contributes to the Great Dumbing Down of Western Culture.

Me? I like smart stuff.