Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Camera rats

If there's any bunch of people who deserve contempt it's the paparazzi, whose only aim is to harass and humiliate public figures for the benefit of whatever voyeuristic media outlet is prepared to publish their pictures.

Their continual spying has forced Lily Allen to install a £60,000 state-of-the-art security system at her new home in the Cotswolds to keep them out. Now she is taking legal action against the Daily Mail for publishing extensive pictures and details of her home, including the property's name, address, location, precise layout, fixtures and fittings, and details of its private gardens and rear exterior.

The paparazzi are willing to use any method at all to get their salacious and intrusive pictures. Nothing is out of bounds. Breaking into houses, chasing cars, telescopic lenses, doorstepping, following people to holiday resorts, you name it.

The usual bogus excuses are endlessly trotted out by the media. They're public figures so they're not entitled to privacy. It's what the public wants. They like all the publicity really. If they behave badly, they must expect attention.

In my opinion, total bollocks. Everyone is entitled to privacy and a personal life without unwanted intrusion, whether they're household names or the milkman. Constant invasion of privacy is not only prurient but extremely stressful and emotionally disturbing for those on the receiving end.

The only exception, to my mind, is those in responsible public positions who have done something that jeopardises their ability to do their job properly. In that case they deserve to be exposed.

How telling it is that the media bosses themselves guard their own privacy and off-duty lives so religiously. You won't see the paparazzi following them. So don't expect to find out any time soon about the newspaper editor who's hooked on prostitutes or the tabloid mogul who beats his wife.

They may dish the dirt on others, but they don't want their own dirty laundry laid out for inspection.

22 comments:

Grannymar said...

Hip Hip Hurray! Somebody else is singing my tune! I would hate to live in the goldfish bowl of celebrity!

Nick said...

Grannymar - So would I, it must be a nightmare. Your every movement scrutinised by millions of critical eyes....

Baino said...

Yet many celebrities manage to avoid it. You don't see Tom Hanks being pursued now do you? I guess if there wasn't a market for their claptrap, they'd be taking pictures of the countryside. Don't buy their shit and there's no market for it. Who's worse, the Paparazzi or the public who indulge them?

Suburbia said...

Blame those who feed on celeb culture I say! I don't care two hoots where they live!

Roses said...

Well said.

I think we should all get together, grab cameras and chase the paps around for a month. See how they like it.

In fact, I reckon we could get some minor celebs together and make a reality show. We could call it Shoe on the Other Foot.

nursemyra said...

"What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little."

Lord Byron

Nick said...

Baino - So what's Tom Hanks' secret? How does he keep them off his back? The trouble with not buying the newspapers is that even the quality papers repeat all the celebrity gossip, and often the pictures as well.

Suburbia - Me too. But plenty of people are so obsessed with celeb lifestyles they want to know every wallpaper pattern and sofa fabric.

Roses - Yes, how about "Chase a Paparazzi", fronted by Davina McCall?

Nick said...

Myra - Very true. I think some of the celeb-watchers would be shocked to discover just how little the celebs care about them.

Wisewebwoman said...

they're only feeding the rabid hunger of the mad dogs who spend money on such rags who rank in the millions and millions of readers.
It is horrible, I think I would have a nervous breakdown. Some of the more sensible of the celebs allot time limits to the paps, others are so hungry for any kind of fame they don't wear underwear.
It is like a mad dance.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

W3 - The rabid hunger of mad dogs is an apt description for the behaviour of some so-called fans. I think I would have a nervous breakdown too.

Scarlet Blue said...

I just wish the newspapers would contain real news... failing that, perhaps we could set the paps on the bankers?
Sx

rummuser said...

I couldn't agree more Nick. In India there is not as much paparazzi menace as the desire for upstarts to get into page three. You have to see what silly photos appear to believe how grotesque they appear.

Nick said...

Scarlet - Yes, more real news and less of the pointless celeb gossip would be welcome. Never mind the paps, what the bankers deserve is a firing squad.

Ramana - Re the traditional British page three photos, I'm surprised people can stay interested in such an endless parade of identical tits.

tattytiara said...

People talk about the money celebrities make in terms of how outrageous it is, but really, they couldn't exist on less. If they went places everybody could afford to go, they'd never get a minute's piece, and yeah - they need the gated communities and security.

Nick said...

Tattytiara - Very true, they're forced into celeb ghettos because of the mobbing they'd get if they took a stroll down the local high street. Unfortunately yes, they need the heavy security just to get a bit of peace and quiet.

secret agent woman said...

It's tough, because some actively seek out media attention, but then complain when an unflattering picture emerges. But in general, I agree.

As for political figures, you mean like this?
http://www.advocate.com/news/daily_news/2011/02/09/antigay_rep_trolling_craigslist//

Nick said...

Secret Agent - It's a risky argument that if people seek media attention they shouldn't complain about the results. Isn't that a bit like saying a rape victim was asking for it?

I've read about Christopher Lee. I can't for the life of me see how a shirtless photo on Craigs List could prevent him doing his job in the House of Representatives.

Liz said...

And it's the 'news'papers that pay for the photos. And the public who buy them.

As for those in positions of responsibility, I remember thinking when whathisname got his secretary pregnant - Cecil thingy? - that if he couldn't keep his promise to his wife then how could we trust him in government. It was right that we should know that. But not where the woman lives or what curtains she has or whether he ever sees the child or pays maintenance; that's not our business.

Nick said...

Liz - Cecil Parkinson? That was a long time ago! Personally I wouldn't trust any politician an inch anyway, just look how many promises have already been broken by the new government. Even if a politician is happily married and has never had an affair, you still can't trust him/her. They're all a bunch of slippery two-faced chancers.

secret agent woman said...

I don't believe I said anything remotely like that. I was just pointing out that the ones (and it's a minority, I'm sure) who throw themselves in a camera's way shouldn't complain about photos making them look bad. I'm not talking about the photos taken when they are being stalked.

And it's not being shirtless that was a problem. It was that a congressman, with a wife and kid at home, who has a "family values" platform was advertising for an affair.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

They are the scum of the earth, no question. Consider the fate of Princess Diana, for one. I agree that everyone deserves privacy in their personal life, and it's unfortunate that anyone who achieves celebrity can kiss that privacy good bye forever. If our culture were not so enraptured by the rich and famous, there would be no market for such "reportage," so we are also to blame.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Sorry for misunderstanding the point of your comment. Though I still don't think that if people seek media attention that means the media are entitled to treat them as fair game.

Ah, it was the usual "family values" hypocrisy. We've had plenty of that in the UK as well.

Heart - Indeed, a lot of the blame lies with this obsessive adulation of the famous, and the idea that we have a right to know every minute detail of their personal lives.