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‘Idle’, ‘trivial’, ‘scurrilous’: the word ‘gossip’ is often accompanied by uncomplimentary adjectives. But don’t dismiss it; from childbirth to Hollywood to political analysis to whisper networks, gossip may be more useful and serious than you realise. Lainey Lui, founder of laineygossip.com, and Buzzfeed News’ senior culture writer (and doctor of celebrity gossip) Anne Helen Petersen explain why.
“Gossip is the weapon the powerless have.” How blind items got powerful.
Longtongue, blabbermouth, pant: the excellent Wordnik has other words for ‘gossip’.
The OED checks in on how Shakespeare used the word ‘gossip’.
The history of gossips attending births.
Want more of that? Jeanette Walls’s book Dish tracks the US gossip industry throughout the 20th century.
Lainey at work (she’s always at work!).
For the gist of what AHP was talking about, analysing celebrities’ public images as you would a literary text, read her considerations of the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Charlize Theron, Armie Hammer and Angelina Jolie and what is involved in Star Studies.
The transcript of the episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/gossip.
Listen to the end for the Minillusionist, the new extra bit at the end of the show.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
Lainey Lui is the founder of the gossip website laineygossip.com. She cohosts two podcasts: Show Your Work (with Duana the Name Therapist!) and What’s Your Drama?. She’s also ETALK’s senior entertainment correspondent and cohosts CTV’s daily talk show The Social. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer at Buzzfeed News - you may have seen her recent piece about millennial burnout or her many elegantly written longreads. She is the author of the books Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud and Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Her newsletter is well worth your reading-time. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.
In February 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
The Proprioceptive Writing Center. Find out about the upcoming West Coast USA courses in this meditative writing practice at pwriting.org.