Kate Gosselin

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What's with the obsession over people who aren't stars, like Kate Gosselin? Is it a recession thing?
—Kaybe, via the Answer B!tch inbox

The fixation on Kate Gosselin's bank balance could be some sort of symptom of hobo times, especially when combined with breathless accounts of—Miley Cyrus! Leaving Twitter! Like, forevvvvvs! And now look—up in the sky, but not really—it's Balloon Boy!

Meanwhile, coverage of more traditionally glamorous stars like Brad Pitt or Beyoncé actually seems to be dwindling.

But does our taste in gossip really reflect our jobless rate? Well, consider this...

Just as our unemployment numbers have hit a disturbing high, People magazine leads not with glamorous people like Angie, but with the harrowing tale of survivor Jaycee Dugard. Us Weekly breaks news on D-listers like Larry "Who?" Birkhead.

Yes, interest in ordinary stars—or at least more ordinary—is skyrocketing, according to Predicto managing editor Kirthana Ramisetti. (Her mobile community of more than 1 million runs prediction games based largely on the most in-demand gossip magnets.)

But of course, one phenomenon doesn't necessarily mean it is causing the other, just that the two are happening at the same time. In fact there are some very good arguments that the economy isn't having an effect on our fixations at all.

Instead, the new parade of ghetto stars likely has more to do with availability than interest, Ramisetti suggests.

"These days it's impossible to get an exclusive with Brangelina, unless you're Ann Curry," Ramisetti points out. "But people like Jon and Kate keep generating news themselves. Same with Miley Cyrus, by her Twittering and then leaving Twitter, she was feeding the news cycle."

In other words, the celebrities we get are simply the ones who are making themselves gettable, and A-listers just don't work that way.

Also, consider: Maybe the reason we're seeing more seemingly accessible stars—Hi, Kim! Hi, Khloé! Hi, Kourtney!—is because we, as consumers, are demanding more of everything celebrity.

"People just want to escape for a few minutes," says Lindsay Powers, staff editor at Us Weekly and usmagazine.com. "The demand is still high to have glamorous celebrity coverage—people are still going to flip through 25 beautiful photos of celebrities in great dresses—but they also want more stories about more relatable stars."

In other words, you people simply want more of everything, and you're getting it—including the exact figure in Kate Gosselin's bank account.

_________

Hey, hobo! Catch up on the Gosselin story and feel better about yourself.

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