For journalists who worry about declining circulation and the future of their profession, I have two reassuring words.
We are, if some portions of the news media are to be believed, a nation preoccupied with celebrity pregnancy. A country yearning to see photos of other people’s pending progeny.
You can’t pick up a celebrity magazine or tune in to a gossipy television show today without reading about pregnant celebrities or seeing their baby bump photos. No edition of People or segment of “Entertainment Tonight” is complete without at least one story about who’s pregnant, who might be pregnant or who wants to be pregnant.
Under the headline “15 celebrities who will give birth this year, marie clair magazine enthused, “2016 gave us a fleet of adorable celebrity babies — from Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s daughter Luna to James Van Der Beek’s daughter Emilia. That said, 2017 is poised to be even more epic. Here’s who’s bumping their way into the new year.” (The No. 1 bumper, in case you care or even know who she might be, is Whitney Port.)
“See how celebrities like Anna Paquin and Beyonce dressed their baby bumps — and much more,” urged US Weekly.
Your average celebrity will hire bodyguards to keep paparazzi from snapping her photo as she’s walking out of a Hollywood restaurant. But an hour or so after conception, that same celebrity is stripping down to her underwear for photos of her baby bump.
Sometimes they don’t even wait for the bump. As People.com reported, David Arquette posted a video on Instagram showing his 2-year-old son holding an ultrasound photo to announce the actor and his wife are expecting their second child together.
“So incredibly blessed and honored that my wife @christinaarquette is pregnant with a baby boy!” Arquette gushed.
I don’t know when, or why, we started caring about stuff like that.
Nobody cared about Elizabeth Taylor’s pregnancies, if any; we just wanted to know whom she was marrying, or unmarrying, next. Photos of movie stars with baby bumps were not nearly as fascinating to us as photos of movie stars at celebrity hangouts sipping martinis with other movie stars. Their marital affairs were not nearly as newsworthy as their extra-marital affairs.
Some pregnancies are worth reporting — Kate Middleton’s, for instance. But then, one of her bumps may turn out to be the king of England.
Whether becoming pregnant is an achievement that merits all this attention can be debated. Women become pregnant all the time. My mother became pregnant. Your mother probably did, too.
But apparently there’s no circulation problem that can’t be solved with a close-up photo of Beyonce’s bulging belly.
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