Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day Three: A Special F.U.

Two days down, two Big F.U.s dished out. Very deserving F.U.s if I may say so myself. Today's F.U. will not be bestowed onto one person or a celebrity, even though I did have a celebrity picked. I will get to him or her at a later date. Today's Big F.U. belongs not to an individual person but to a group of people. These people tend to be a celebrity's worst nightmare. No, readers, not me. I'm a hater and not afraid to say so publicly. Oh, and I'm only one person, despite the fact I may weigh enough for two. The people I am talking about as known as paparazzi.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines paparazzi as "a freelance photographer who aggressively pursues celebrities for the purpose of taking candid photographs." The key word in the definition is AGGRESSIVELY. Why do these people have a need to pursue anyone? Why do they desire to invade the private lives of celebrities?

Simple answer: to general public has a weird and unhealthy obsession with celebrities. The paparazzi feed this obsession while trying to make a buck. Hey, it is better than a real job, right? If the general public respected the private lives of a celebrity (as much as the general public wants their own private lives to remain that way) then newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other forms of trash media would never pay paparazzi for pictures prying into a celebrity's private life.

There are many examples of celebrity-chasing paparazzi causing unpleasant situations, leading to violent confrontations and even death. In June, 2012, Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) punched a New York Daily News photographer, Marcus Santos, after being photographed leaving the Marriage License Bureau. Baldwin was there with his fiance Hilaria Thomas, as a private NYC citizen, to obtain a marriage license. Was it necessary to shove your camera in Mr. Baldwin's face? I guess so. You got your fifteen minutes of fame Marcus.

That incident was minor compared to others. On August 31, 1997, the much beloved Princess Diana of Wales was killed in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, France. Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul was also killed. Trevor Ress-Jones, Princess Di's bodyguard, was the sole survivor. The official cause of the accident is reckless driving of the chauffeur. A French judicial investigation ruled Paul lost control of the car as he drove at a high speed while drunk. Investigators also found anti-depressants and traces of an anti-psychotic drug in his system. The media, however, laid blame on paparazzi looking to take pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. Were paparazzi chasing the couple through the streets of Paris? Was this the real reason why Henri Paul was travelling at a high rate of speed? We'll never really know the true answer.

Most recently, on January 1, 2013, a member of the paparazzi was struck and killed by a SUV while trying to photograph a Ferrari believed to be driven by Justin Bieber. The paparazzo, Chris Guerra, was hounding Bieber's crew all day at a Four Seasons hotel in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Guerra swore to friends he witnessed Justin Bieber smoking weed (WHO CARES IF HE WAS????) and vowed to get picture proof and break the story. Well, seems the joke was on Chris. Justin Bieber was NOT driving the car Guerra was chasing. And now Chris Guerra, at the age of 29, is dead. Why? To get a photo of a celebrity in a possible compromising position, just to make a buck (and a name for himself. Congrats Chris, you made a name for yourself alright. Now in death, only your family and friends will remember you for the person you really are. Others, we will only remember you as a celebrity chasing pap and sadly, a statistic). Accidents like this can be avoided. Hopefully, something good comes out of something so horrible.

And why does Miley Cyrus get crap for talking the truth about paparazzi? She has tweeted on a number of occasions, her run ins with paparazzi. I have seen plenty of videos of these people harassing and hounding this girl at every turn. She comes out of the gym, there they are. She goes shopping, there they are. She arrives home from a late night flight and... there they are. Don't they have anything better to do with their lives than to follow her and other celebrities around? Really. Being at an airport late at night? Um, that smells of NO LIFE. And now, after the Bieber paparazzi incident, she speaks the truth and gets dragged through the mud? Yes, this WAS bound to happen. And more will. Miley is only speaking the truth. Deal with it. Miley, I got your back girl, not that you need it. You can dish out the F.U. as good as anyone. Color me impressed. You can follow Miley Cyrus on twitter: @MileyCyrus

In today's world of social media, access into the lives of celebrities is simpler. Twitter and Facebook allow fans to connect with their favorite stars and to follow daily news into their lives. Fan blogs pop up on a daily basis. Fan clubs are still around, and are still popular. In fact, many celebrities even promote and acknowledge fan created clubs and blogs. Way cool! I wonder when the first celebrity will acknowledge my blog?????

Social media has also given celebrities an outlet to interact with their fans on levels never before seen. For example, the lovely and talented Evan Rachel Wood, (star of hit movies such as King of California, Thirteen, and Across the Universe, among others) interacts with her fans/followers on almost a daily basis. She'll answer questions, retweet tweets, and post pictures and videos of herself while not on set. Victoria Justice (star of the hit Nickelodeon show Victorious) recently held a contest for her fans/followers called The 12 Days of Vicmas. Victoria chose one winner a day and that winner received a Victorious prize. She also randomly chose fans/followers who she would then follow. Very cool of her to do. Makes her fans feel very special. Other celebrities also follow their fans. Britney Spears recently held a following spree of her fans who tweeted that they voted for Britney's contestants on The X Factor. Some celebrities even communicate with DM (Twitter's private message system) with their fans/followers. You can follow Evan Rachel Wood here: @evanrachelwood, Britney Spears here: @britneyspears , and Victoria Justice here: @VictoriaJustice

Some celebrities not only use Twitter and Facebook to reach out to their fans, but they also use Instagram to post pictures they want to share with the public/fans. Others have YouTube accounts. And now, some are beginning to use a new service called Keek. One such celebrity using Keek is Ashley Benson (star of the hit television series Pretty Little Liars where she plays Hanna Marin). Ms. Benson hosted several Question and Answer sessions with fans on Twitter and other social media outlets. She has also responded to fan/follower inquiries. And now, she is bringing her fans into more of her personal and private life by posting video snippets on Keek. You can follow Ashley Benson on Keek here: http://www.keek.com/AshBenzo and on Twitter: @AshBenzo

So, are paparazzi even relevant today? Were they ever relevant? And why are they allowed to constantly harass celebrities? Isn't harassment against the law? How come they aren't arrested? Granted, we have the freedom of speech and press in the great old United States of America. But, freedom my friends comes with restrictions. And speaking of freedom, do celebrities give up their freedoms and their rights just because they choose a profession where they become part of pop culture and are in the public eye? I think not. They are people too, just like you and I. They have the same right to privacy you and I do. So, why are paparazzi allowed to infringe on those rights?

And another question to ask: why is it legal to post a photograph of someone without their consent? Professional photographers must have a model sign a release form (either limited or full release) in order to use their image in an ad or on their website. So, why is it that a paparazzi can stalk a celebrity, snap picture after picture of said celebrity, then sell it to some media outlet who then publishes it without any fear of repercussions? I wonder what would happen if every celebrity had his or her lawyer swamp media outlets with cease and desist letters warning them that any candid photo taken by a paparazzi is subject to trademark/IP infringement and lawsuits will commence if these photos are bought and published?

I'll tell you the only people whose private lives we need to know about. Our politicians. Why? Because these people are elected to do the work of the American people. We are their bosses. We should know every aspect of their personal lives. We should know if they engage in activities that are less than moral. We should know who line their pockets with money. Yes, politicians are the only people whose private lives should be, well, public. I mean, do we really want a politician to decide what we should deem as moral while paying a hooker for a night of adult fun? Shouldn't we know if your representative smokes weed then passes laws that make it illegal for you or I to smoke or posses all the while holding a joint in his/her hand? Come on paparazzi. Go get THOSE photos. Leave celebrities alone. Let's find out which Congressman is soliciting sex from an escort while snorting cocaine off her ass. Honestly, I could give a rats ass what Ben Affleck is wearing on a Monday while he is out having dinner with his family.

That brings me to the dishing out. Today, I dish out the Big F.U. to you, the paparazzi. The time of the paparazzi is over. Something must be done to control how the paparazzi act. Stricter laws must be passed. Maybe the paparazzi need to be cut off by the tabloids and trash media. Or maybe, the general public should become less obsessed with the lives of a celebrity and worry about their own lives and those trying to control them.

So, readers, let's say it together: PAPARAZZI, HERE IS THE BIG F.U.!


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