Is there such thing as Celebrity Studies? Celebrity reporter for CTV’s eTalk and co-host of the talk show The Social, Elaine Lui offered a convincing lecture at an intimate event in Ottawa bringing together media, bloggers and entertainment aficionados. Better known as Lainey Gossip, she certainly thinks the culture of gossip says a lot about who we are as a society. “I would argue that you can glean a lot of insight about who we are culturally by picking up a copy of US weekly” said Lui.
She’s not only promoting her first book ‘Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s a Daughter to Do?’ but she’s also on her third annual Faculty of Celebrity Studies speaking tour paired with Vitamin Water Canada. The gossip maven didn’t pause for a moment before sharing her take on conscious uncoupling, rape culture and the fascination of photographing babies for the tabloids. The live lecture included cocktails which helped to kick up the debate on the cerebral look at the study of celebrity gossip.
Although only a couple of questions focused on her new book, in my pre-lecture interview I asked her about the complicated relationship she has with her mother and what readers can gain from her book. Not to be confused with her memoir, Lui clarified that the squawking chicken is her mother. “It’s all about my mother. The book is her ten guides to life, so it’s the ten lessons she downloaded to me – she forced on me as the architect of my life. My mother built my life” said Lui.
Mother-daughter relationships tend to be complicated at the best of times, but Lui has prepared the memoir to focus on a series of lessons she learned from her mother. “The goal of the book is for me to honour her, to respect her and to express how much I love her. Her method worked for me. That’s the only proof I have that her teachings worked because I’m OK” said Lui.
Her website attracts more than a million unique visitors each month and if you follow her on twitter you’ll see that her social media presence shows that she’s the go-to Canadian gossip blogger but also well read internationally.
If you think gossip is a new phenomenon that will fade out in the years to come, Lui is quick to disagree; “Gossip is immortal. We as human beings have been gossiping from the beginning. I did a TED talk and the crux of the talk is the sociology of gossiping. In that TED talk, I talk about how people in ancient Egyptian times were gossiping about the pharaoh and Cleopatra. Fifty years ago we were gossiping about John Kennedy’s White House and the secret passage ways in the White House where the secret service would bring in the women. Now, we just happen to be gossiping about the celebrities, but the act of gossip, what we talk about and the way we communicate through gossip is part of the human condition.”
With a new book and a TV gig she’s still got her eyes on the prize. I asked her what she hopes for in the next ten years and it’s clear that she’s sticking with her tried and true medium. “Laineygossip.com is a priority over the book and over the shows, so I hope laineygossip.com continues to provoke discussion.”
Get your book signed:
Where: Indigo Rideau (47 Rideau Street)
When: Tuesday, April 8, 2014