Friday, June 29, 2007

On Celebrity

This thought isn't fully developed, so pardon me if I'm a bit scattered.

We all profit others' misfortune. The cheap clothes, food, and toys we buy are mostly produced by underpaid foreign factory workers. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty, but to point out that none of us are innocent of exploitation. As the Washington Post says, "It isn't easy to be an 'it' girl."

That said, can the media please leave Britney, Lindsay, and to a lesser extent Paris, alone? I'm not saying that they haven't made poor choices, or even that some of those choices aren't deserving of mockery, but at this point, watching the train wreck that is Britney's life is just painful. It seems to me that it would be in the media's best interest, at least in the long term, to leave these women alone, and let them get better. Being in the public eye certainly isn't helping Lindsay get into rehab, or Britney get her act together. And it has only cause Paris to become more and more of an attention whore.

Let's break this down: When JFK Jr. and Diana died it was a tragedy for the tabloids. These examples of American and British royalty were regular tabloid fodder, providing stories that people were interested in, and would read. By the same token, their regular sitings allowed paparazzos to make a fairly good living, selling exclusive pictures to tabloids for thousands of dollars each. Yet when they died (and forgive my crassness here) that cash cow stopped giving milk. It is clear that it is in the tabloids and paparazzos best interests to keep these celebrities alive, yet it is also clear that the American people are all too happy to read about the train wrecks that these girls have become. Yes, pictures of Britney wearing her shirt on her head sell magazines, but they also contributes to her unstable mental state, psychological downturn, and possible death of her career (or herself). Not that I am wishing/predicting her death, but for Lindsay at least, it seems unlikely that if she follows this current path that she'll live to 30.

If Britney's career stalls, then pictures of her will be worth nothing. And this constant media attention isn't helping her to get her act back together. Same with Lindsay, she is still making movies, but she's clearly not doing her best work, and has developed a reputation for being unprofessional on set.

I guess that the paparazzi feel that in the short term they can make money off of these women's pain, and in the long term, if they burn out someone else will take their place. If I thought that it would be in any way effective I'd try to organize a boycott of the major tabloid magazines, but I don't know enough people who purchase them anyway to make an economic dent.

*sigh* Next World Issue please...

UPDATE: US Weekly has banned coverage of Paris for the next week.


Anonymous said...

First, you're probably right that the paparazzi just assume some one new will come along(and they're probably right), but even if that weren't the case they'd still be over exposed.
It's a classic tragedy of the commons. Everyone competes for the same shots, but there is no exclusive rights to photograph a celebrity. So even if giving Britney time to recover might produce more money for the whole industry in the long term, a few photographers can make more money by taking every shot they can now. The same logic applies to why fisherman have depleted fisheries.

michael said...

I think America, and the world, should be offered a deal.

In exchange for Lindsay and Britney being safely spirited out of the public eye and imagination until they themselves feel they are ready to return, Paris will be publicly attainted, given a Hollywood Boulevard auto de fe, and then burned at the stake.

I would take the deal.