David Hauslaib: Speeding Up the Gossip Mill

Question: How do you explain the increasing popularity of gossip?

Hauslaib: I don’t think there’s necessarily . . . I think it’s cyclical. I think that technology has enabled us to feed an appetite that’s always existed. You know 50 years ago if we had this technology I think we’d be reacting the same. It’s just it wasn’t there. We didn’t have this “always on” ability to always be consuming this information. So now that we can, I think it’s very easy to see those trends that the consumption has grown, you know, many times over. And people are clicking from one site to the next trying to get the latest information. And that’s really created almost a problem within the entertainment industry because not only is every bit of minutia a story; but you know everything is being reported online the moment it happens; that when, you know, my readers are watching the Insider, or my readers are going to the newsstand to pick up People magazine, they’ve already picked up that information and moved on.

Question: Why we are so obsessed with the lives of others?

Hauslaib: You know I think it’s just . . . I’m not an anthropologist, but I think we’re social beings. We’re interested in sharing things about ourselves, which you will see on Facebook and MySpace – people tell the world everything – to learning interesting things about other people. And you know I think . . . You know from teenage girls sending text messages gossiping about each other, which has blossomed into the Gossip Girl book and TV show; to our infinite ability to learn more about how many lattes Lindsay Lohan drinks in a day, you know I think that’s sort of representative of the fact that now we have this technology to be able to do it. I don’t think we’re advancing by any means as a . . . as humanity that we’re consuming this information. I think we’re just doing it because we can and we have this insatiable appetite.

Question: What makes great gossip?

David Hauslaib: People. People and personalities. Time and again, if we have an interesting character, that story is going to blossom. So you know when it’s the story of Anna Nicole Smith’s death, however unfortunate, that was a goldmine for the gossip industry because there were so many facets to that story – so many angles to explore from her relationships with various men including her attorneys; to her history as a Playboy bunny; to her son dying shortly before she. You know there are so many elements to her personality that it creates a great story. Then you have sort of instances like, you know, Brad Renfro who passed away recently who was well known indeed, but wasn’t so much of a larger figure that he consumed as much of the debate within gossip circles as some of these other stars. So first and foremost an interesting character.

Recorded on: Jan 23 2008

Keeping the celebrity media industry on its toes.

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less