Caroline Flack’s death has prompted a boycott of celebrity gossip magazines. There’s lots to unpack about her unfortunate death (though not more unfortunate than that of so many people who aren’t well-known), but this action is both warranted and overdue. It points to a bigger issue in my mind, which is of everyone’s responsibility for creating demand and how this impacts individuals, society, the composition of economies, and ultimately our planet’s ecology.
Especially now that browsing alone generates revenue via embedded advertising, what we do in our homes and in our apparently private time can have national and international influence. In a capitalist society, any action that can be monetised will encourage supply. If you create demand for objectionable and damaging content, you have some responsibility when there is impact from that content.
The flip side is we can demand better, as some salons are now doing with their magazines. Active spending is very direct voting.
Passive consumption is also a choice. We can demand better content by choosing the sites that build up instead of tearing down. Sites that encourage celebration over shaming, acceptance over insecurity. Truth over falsehood. Considered opinion instead of outraging gossip. Precisely where content is free, we must think carefully about how we’re spending our attention.