Friday, January 25, 2008

Leave the celebs alone!

I love a bit of celebrity gossip. I’m the first person to admit that I’ll happily while away a lunchtime or two a week catching up on who is doing what to who, and where and what they might possibly be wearing while they are doing it. I like to see famous folk looking like trainwrecks and Go Fug Yourself is one of my favourite websites.
As someone on the dowdy side of average, I like to see that being skinny, rich and hugely successful does not necessarily make you immune to the occasional horrendous fashion faux pas.
It gives me a certain sense of glee to see that Tom Cruise (a vile, vile man) seems intent on sabotaging his own career with random acts of madness. I don’t like him and his ilk after he ranted on national TV about Post Natal Depression being a load of old hooey. So, I like that the Karma Fairy is biting him in the butt with his public losing of marbles.
That said, I’m also starting to feel uncomfortable with the way we invade celebville with our long angled lenses and desire to dig the dirt. Sure laughing at their wonky dresses and underwear malfunctions is funny. And yes, Tom Cruise lost all right to our sympathy when he launched that stupid rant about depression - but I think we have to draw the line somewhere and remember that while celebs have certain luxurious lifes we would all like a taste of, they are after all, only human.
It shocked me that a well known celeb spotting website had news of Heath Ledger’s death before his family knew.
It has also really horrified me that when it comes to the like of Britney Spears, the media doesn’t seem to care that she is clearly a woman experiencing a very public nervous breakdown. In the last week, we have pictures of her without underwear on, pictures of her covered in blood and stories of how her “boyfriend” has been trying to sell pictures of the pair of them in flagrante to make a quick buck.
A certain daily paper also seems obsessed with pushing singer Amy Winehouse to the brink of a breakdown and spends each and every day commenting on her every move. Oooh, shock, horror - she ate McDonalds two days in a row.
Well, I’d be beat if I was famous. When I was pregnant I practically lived on McDonalds as it was the only food that didn’t give me horrendous heartburn. (And yet, I wondered why I put on three stone? Now it all makes sense.)
Now I know neither Britney or Amy are icons of clean living, but all this pressure cannot help. If I was hurtling towards a breakdown, being treated like some sort of circus freak and hounded morning, noon and night would not encourage me on the road to recovery. More likely it would send me hurtling for the funny farm quicker than you can say “They tried to make me go to Rehab...”
It’s worse still, I suppose, when celebs are just pottering about doing their thing and the press decides - just for the craic- to speculate on their lives. I think I’ve lost count of the number of famous people in the last few months who have been forced to admit to being pregnant long before they were comfortable making the announcement. know where to draw the line Now, famous or not, being pregnant is about as personal as it gets. And in this day and age we are all only too aware of how things can and do go wrong.
In recent months Nicole Kidman - a woman with a history of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy - has been forced to admit she is expecting. Singer Lily Allen was also forced into making an admission of a pregnancy and then, when it ended in miscarriage, she wasn’t even afforded the right to be left alone with her grief. Just a few days later she was snapped out shopping and, God forbid, she was even smiling. So that makes it okay then, doesn’t it?
Just because she is smiling it means we are allowed to take her picture again? Although I imagine if she was falling into a pit of despair at her loss and going on a bender the pictures would have at least made more money for the scurrilous photographer. I know that perhaps I’m a little hypocritical. After all, I do love to read a good bit of gossip myself. I find it entertaining, but there is a line when entertaining just becomes disturbing and intrusive.
I don’t buy the line that if someone is an actor or singer that being under public scrutiny comes with the territory. Making the most of your god given talent does not give the world and his mother the right to know what you ate for breakfast (or even what you snorted for breakfast if that is more your bag). There are plenty of trainwreck celebrities out there chomping for the attention (Kerry Katona, Pete Doherty anyone?) so why don’t the paps just concentrate on those folks who are happy to bear their souls and their knickers to the world’s media and leave the rest of them alone.
More than that however, if we see someone in genuine distress like Britney or Amy, how about we show just a little compassion. It’s the least any of us as human beings deserve.

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