I’m not going to judge you for caring about celebrities. They’re about as meaningless and stupidly aspirational as sports, and I’m a big ice hockey fan.
However, I find the intense interest in celebrity’s children appalling. I was reminded of this the other day when I saw the oddly-named baby of someone famous on the cover of People magazine. And today, I read on TechCrunch that, coincidentally, People.com has bought Celebrity Baby Blog for an undisclosed sum:
Celebrity Baby is FM PublishingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top parenting blog, and has recently started to pull in more pageviews (and thus advertising impressions) than FM stalwart BoingBoing. Since February its traffic has shot upÃ¢â‚¬â€to 6.9 million pageviews and 720,000 unique visitors in April, according to comScore. That month, BoingBoing had more unique visitors (2 million), but fewer pageviews (3.7 million).
Why do I find this so heinous? Because I think children have rights to their own privacy, even before they’re mature enough to exercise them. I find it morally corrupt to exploit toddlers in order to serve advertising to the multitudes. It’s reflective of the shallowest, most fickle tastes of our society. If only we could take a fraction of the cognitive surplus we waste on our worst devices and turn it to more admirable pursuits.
I’m not sure how to distribute the blame, but I’m certain that everyone–celebrities, paparazzi, publishers and consumers–is culpable. It’s obviously not climate change or poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, but it still rankles me. If you’re a consumer of celebrity gossip, I urge you to skip the baby pages.