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A blind item is a gossip column in which the identities of the people under discussion are obscured, usually with witty clues which readers can untangle. These columns are especially popular in gossip columns about Hollywood celebrities. Many entertainment publications publish a regular blind item column, inviting readers to guess about the subjects and feeding speculation about various celebrities. Some people make their living pursuing these items, digging up trashy information about well-known celebrities and using it to feed interest in gossip magazines and tabloids.
The primary reason to run a bit of juicy gossip as a blind item is because the gossip cannot be confirmed. By publishing a work in this way, the author can protect the publication from legal ramifications, such as a defamation suit from an angered topic. Blind items also pique interest from readers, often garnering much more response than a column in which the identities of the subjects are revealed. Such a column may also be used as a promotional tool, with a publication suggesting that people will find out more if they buy the magazine, or tune in next week for more details.
Blind items are typically very short, and they are often phrased in the form of a question, like: “which carrot-headed celebrity hasn't been going to court-mandated rehab?” They are especially popular on celebrity gossip websites, with readers responding with their guesses in the comments. Reader exchanges can sometimes become quite heated, as people rush to defend particular celebrities or to promote their views. The author usually stays out of the conversation to avoid being accused of specifically confirming or denying a particular theory about the identity of the column's subject.
Sometimes, the information will be verified at a later date by the publication, usually in a longer article. In other cases, the gossip fades away into the background, because it is never verified. Blind items are designed to create brief buzz, and they are quickly superseded by more celebrity gossip in a news cycle which is extremely rapid.
In publications where a blind item column is a well-established tradition, the author often includes clues which reference previous columns or running jokes at the publication. Long-term readers can use these clues to identify the subject of the blind item without too much difficulty, while the item itself remains true to the letter of the law by not explicitly naming anyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a blind item in the context of travel?
A blind item in travel is a type of gossip or news piece that discusses a particular place, event, or personality without revealing specific details. It's akin to a puzzle where readers are given hints but must guess the identity of the subject being discussed. Blind items are often used to generate buzz and engage readers' curiosity without making direct accusations or claims, which can be particularly useful in sensitive situations or to avoid legal issues.
How can I recognize a blind item when I see one?
Blind items are typically characterized by their use of vague descriptions and the absence of specific names. They often include tantalizing details that hint at the identities of the people or places involved, using phrases like "a certain hotel" or "an A-list celebrity." The writing style is usually suggestive and provocative, designed to pique interest and encourage speculation among readers. If you find yourself trying to guess who or what is being described, you're likely reading a blind item.
Why do writers use blind items instead of providing full details?
Writers use blind items for several reasons. They may wish to share insider information without exposing their sources or themselves to potential legal action. Blind items also serve to protect the privacy of individuals or entities that may not wish to be publicly named. Additionally, the use of blind items can create a sense of mystery and engage readers in a game of guesswork, which can be more entertaining and interactive than straightforward reporting.
Are blind items reliable sources of information?
Blind items should be approached with caution as they are not always reliable sources of information. The lack of specific details makes it difficult to verify the accuracy of the claims made. While some blind items may be based on factual information, others could be purely speculative or even fabricated. It's important for readers to consider the source of the blind item and to look for corroborating evidence before accepting the information as true.
Can blind items be harmful, and should they be taken seriously?
Blind items have the potential to be harmful as they can spread rumors and innuendo that may affect the reputations of individuals or businesses. The ambiguous nature of blind items means that they can lead to false assumptions and unwarranted conclusions. While they can be entertaining, it's important for readers to take blind items with a grain of salt and not to treat them as definitive statements of fact. Responsible consumption of such content involves skepticism and a critical eye.