Jennifer Aniston: Why Do We Care?
If you have shopped at a supermarket any time in the last twenty years chances are good that you know a disconcerting amount about the love life of actress, famous person and boring white woman Jennifer Aniston. That’s because for decades now we’ve been inundated with tabloid articles about the Friends star’s never-ending quest for love and baby fever.
It’s not hard to figure out why Aniston obsessed tabloids initially. She is, after all, one of the stars of one most successful and enduring television shows in American history. She’s beautiful. She’s obscenely rich. She’s incredibly, almost preposterously famous.
Furthermore, Aniston’s love life has been custom-made for tabloid drama. Nothing fascinates the yellow press quite like famous people fucking other famous with the very notable exception of famous people cheating on famous people with other famous people.
Accordingly, Aniston’s romance with Brad Pitt obsessed the National Enquirers of the world but not quite as much as the news that Jennifer Aniston, America’s sweetheart and the Girl Next Door, was being cheated on with drugged-up bisexual harlot Angelina Jolie, the Morticia Addams-like weirdo who stole Pitt’s heart on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
It didn’t seem to matter that Jolie has devoted a lot of her celebrity and fame to trying to help refugees and starving children in underdeveloped countries. No, the media seized upon the idea that Aniston was a good girl who just wanted to be loved while Jolie was a scandalous man-stealer.
I understand why the tabloids were pathologically fixated on the Pitt-Jolie-Aniston love triangle. It was an All-American morality play that gave voyeurs and celeb watchers someone to root for (saintly, blameless Aniston) someone to boo (that evil Angelina Jolie, who obviously was pretty much playing herself in Maleficent) and something to root for (Aniston and Pitt’s reconciliation).
I was more flummoxed when the media remained obsessed with Aniston after Pitt and Jolie got married. The interesting part of Aniston’s love life was officially over. The “bad girl” got the bad boy and we were inexplicably expected to feel sorry for Aniston and her romantic travails despite Aniston being, you know, rich and gorgeous and lusted after and permanently, obscenely famous.
The tabloids didn’t just continue to report on Aniston’s love life long after anyone could be expected to care: it damn near stalked Aniston. It was absolutely riveted by everything about her. Seemingly every week prompted a new, exquisitely pointless headline. “Will Jennifer ever find love?” “Are Pitt and Aniston secretly getting back together, with marriage and a baby possibly in the works?” “Will Jennifer Anistor have a baby before her biological clock runs out?”
These were the kinds of questions the tabloids felt the need to ask, even after Aniston became involved with Justin Theroux, a talented actor and screenwriter whose writing credits include Iron Man 2 and Tropic Thunder. Theroux is an interesting guy and a gifted comic performer but as far as the tabloids were concerned, he is nothing more than the man in Jennifer Aniston’s life.
Would Theroux finally do right by her, and give her the baby the tabloids imagine she’s always desperately wanted? The answer, of course, is “Who the fuck could possibly care?” but that did not keep the media from obsessing over their relationship all the same.
It seems poetically apt that a few months back the tabloids breathlessly reported that Theroux—yet another bad boy who could not, and would not, do right by a woman who only wants to be loved, and maybe have a baby—had taken up with Olivia Munn, a woman with a decidedly Jolie-like reputation as a shameless harlot and man-stealer.
This made me wonder why, for the love of God, the tabloids remain fixated on Aniston after all these years .
The answer, I suspect, has a lot to do with the strange, fraught relationship everyday people have with celebrity. In seemingly every way, Jennifer Aniston is an aspirational figure, someone who lives a life most people can’t possibly imagine.
Yet Aniston’s romantic travails give common people an opportunity to look down on, and feel pity towards someone whose life is infinitely better and more glamorous than theirs.
Oh sure, we may not be household names or movie stars or sex symbols but dammit, we married Otis right out of college, and have three mostly acceptable kids while that poor Jennifer Aniston sad sack keeps looking for love, and family, deep into her forties.
We’re obsessed with Aniston because she’s so much better than us except for the stability of her long-term romantic relationships. She’s someone to simultaneously look up to, and look down on.
Will the tabloids ever stop being unhealthily obsessed with Jennifer Aniston and her boring-ass love life? Considering that they’re still deeply invested in the romantic life of Burt Reynolds despite the actor being a gaunt 82 year old whose films mostly go direct to video, the answer is probably no.
I sincerely hope Aniston finds the right man and makes a baby, both for her own sake, and so that I won’t be expected to care about her love life ever again. I mean, sure, I feel sorry for the poor, sexy, world-famous multi-millionaire. I would not trade my life as an unemployable Juggalo who makes his living begging strangers for money on the internet with hers under any circumstances but enough is enough.
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