i heart macaulay culkin. not out of any great love of home alone. more just because we’re near exact contemporaries and i root for him. and not in the overwrought way that i root for tommy cruise. my hopes for mac are pure, simple. i want him to do well.
so in honor of what i’ve just arbitrarily deemed Macaulay Culkin Gossip Appreciation Day, i would like to do a deep reading of two mac-related articles in my beloved daily mail.
first up, this post from 13 january:
you may ask, what is the point of this news article? voilà:
it’s worth noting that this is news drawn entirely from subjective impressions of the accompanying photographs.
i like that the writer is not completely shutting the door on the notion that macaulay culkin maybe spent the entire flight combing his “locks.”
you see what we just read there, yeah? it is, essentially, assorted hypotheses about the future film career of macaulay culkin based on his tote bag and a dramatic recounting of his leaving the airport and hailing a cab.
this is why we love gossip, you guys. because it is inherently ridic. it infuses the incredibly banal everyday with so.much.drama (see above). but also because, thanks to its inconsistency, it builds (see below).
fortunes and emotions shift from alarming extremes, with the slightest provocation. macaulay is “happy and healthy” now, but not three weeks ago, he was “sad and lonely.”
isn’t it everyone’s great fear to wind up “sad and lonely”? macaulay culkin… he’s just like US! he owns an ipod and, based on some photographs, has been diagnosed as mildly depressed.
let’s backtrack to this post from 24 december:
let this be a testament to the very great challenge of finding proper news stories to write about on christmas eve.
sidenote: because i am american and talk about tacky things like how much stuff costs AND equate eating at taco bell with the ability to feed a family of 20 for $10 (my dad would demand i include the following provision: so long as no one orders a soft drink!), i found myself extremely disappointed that the daily mail didn’t rush the counter and collar a worker to find out the total of mac’s bill. in fact, there is a sad lack on the actual lunch itself, only a preoccupation with its having been eaten alone and at taco bell.
and so this is what we’ve got:
he was plagued by drug rumors, but now he’s doing better because he was seen out shopping? even though his wellness was undercut by the fact that he was eating at taco bell? the logic connecting these paragraphs is confused at best, nonsensical at worst.
(btw, if you scroll, you will get a video of mac and some friends talking about their art pieces. what you will not get is a video of mac eating at taco bell. sadface.)
the remaining paragraphs discuss the (refuted) rumors from earlier this year that macaulay culkin is struggling with drug dependence and about to die. all of which were based on photographs of the actor looking thin and unshaven.
i know nothing about macaulay culkin, his drug dependence, or his mental health. what i’m interested in is gossip, and the way gossip stories reflect and affect the way we view our world.
the thing about the “Alone at Christmas: Troubled child star Macaulay Culkin’s solitary lunch for one at Taco Bell” article that interests me is whether the concern stems from the fact that macaulay culkin was eating at taco bell or the fact that he was eating alone. based on the recurrence of the words and phrases like “solitary” and “alone” it’s actually the later.
it’s odd to see a star eating taco bell. it’s “sad” to see a star “by himself” having a “lunch for one” “on his own.”
in all this concern trolling, you could almost miss this:
(photographs via PATRICK MCMULLAN / SIPA and the daily mail)