Elements of a Scandal
11.21.13 by Mandy
It seems that nearly every week major news outlets are reporting on a story that's being referred to as a "scandal," but what really makes an activity or event scandalous? Does any bad behavior cause a scandal, or is it only specific actions which cause a torrent of gossip and outrage? After watching a few episodes of the new REELZ show Hollywood Scandals we realized that there are some common elements in every scandal. We've broken them down, isolated the individual components and finally uncovered The Elements of a Scandal.
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Throughout human history, people have always been interested in other people’s sex lives, and the topic of sex is bound to get everyone's attention. Additionally, there are all kinds of social rules and taboos about sex, which gives people plenty of opportunity to violate social norms. When an activity both generates gossip and causes outrage, it's sure to be an extremely important component of almost any scandal.
If the people involved in unseemly activities don’t try to keep it a secret, it won’t really be a scandal. It will simply be people participating in unseemly activities and then running their mouths about it. An attempt to cover up or hide the activities is necessary for a story to be truly scandalous. If the parties involved all spill their guts about the whole ordeal right after it happens, a scandal is perhaps possible, but it will likely be very short lived.
Sure there can be a minor scandal without illegal activity as long as the other elements are there, but to get a really good, salacious, intriguing scandal, there better be some criminal activity going on. Criminal activity will also add to the amount of secrecy surrounding the bad behavior, and will likely add to the controversy. All of these things add up to a bigger, better scandal.
Drugs and Alcohol
While drugs are not a necessary ingredient to a scandal, it turns out that they show up in scandals fairly often. Why? Most drugs are illegal. This is a criminal activity, and most criminals tend to be fairly secretive about their crimes. As we’ve already learned, criminal activity and secrets are important pieces in a scandal. Drugs and alcohol can alter behavior, and users can often lose their inhibitions. It’s not uncommon for sex to get all wrapped up in that, and of course, we can’t forget how important Sex is in our Periodic Table of Hollywood Scandals.
If a friend were telling you a salacious story about a person who you'd never met or heard of who was participating in some illegal drug use followed by sexual escapades of some sort, most likely your reaction would not be “Ooh! Scandal.” Instead you’d be thinking “And?” or perhaps “why are you telling me this?” If the person participating in the scandalous behavior is not well known no one will care, and if no one cares there’s not a scandal.
Finally, in order to really be a scandal, there has to be some controversy about the activity. After all, a famous, unmarried party girl over the age of 25 who goes out for a raucous weekend in Las Vegas will not create a scandal. No one will be surprised and no one will care. However, if photographs and details about a crazy trip to Vegas get out and a member of the Royal Family is involved, a scandal is sure to erupt.
For a more thorough and in-depth look at scandals, catch Hollywood Scandals first episode, where we take a closer look at the celebrity sex tape. Are those grainy, explicit, homemade videos a thing of the past? Find out Friday, November 29th on REELZ.