“Influence of Paparazzi on Our Society”
If a person was to enter into any convenience store, there is almost a sure chance that he or she would encounter a multitude of magazines and newspapers lining the shelves before the checkout counter. Each magazine obnoxiously highlights this week’s big story or scandal. Turn on any television and there are almost as many entertainment news channels as there are world news channel. Is this society becoming obsessed with the lives and mishaps of famous celebrities? Or are the tabloids so inaccurately depicting the lives of people that the average person cannot wait to see what they come up with next? However, the root of the problem does not lay within the tabloids themselves, but the paparazzi, who will stalk, invade and sometimes even chase renowned celebrities just to earn their next paycheck. These undeniable invasions of privacy put many in the face of danger. There are not only recent examples of the danger the paparazzi place on the lives of people, but examples dating back to the death of Princess Diana. When does society decide when the paparazzi has gone too far, and what laws should be put into place to ensure the safety of those who are famous? One may question if they even have the right to dive that deep into someone’s life. Due to the evidence that exists, it is necessary that laws are put into place to protect the lives of these esteemed stars.
The paparazzi – originating from the Italian word, “paparazzo,” meaning buzzing insects – are the target of heavy scrutiny from the famous. The obsession with celebrities is not just a recent phenomenon but dates back to as far as recorded history. In ancient Greece and Rome, people created their gods as very human-like beings, complete with character flaws and drama. Through the Middle Ages, the celebrities were royalty and nobility. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon came to the conclusion that there were several factors contributing to the fall of Rome, including a disregard for civil respect. He states, "The development of an over-obsessive interest in sport and celebrity was one of the factors in the collapse of the greatest civilization ever known to man" (Mell). Paparazzi have and always will be the cause for our society’s problem of blurring the lines between private citizens and public persona. As a result, societies as far back as the Roman Empire have succumbed to the trivial desire to watch the rise and fall of aspiring public figures (Mell). Nowadays, “A paparazzo… is defined as a ‘freelance photographer who aggressively pursues celebrities…to take candid often compromising photos for publication’” (Hellmueller 9). Most are under the assumption that sacrificing privacy and intimacy of relationships disappears when they are thrust into the spotlight. It is widely understood that without media attention, their existence would be irrelevant to the masses. “I understand there is a certain amount of my own privacy that I have to give up,” states actress Halle Berry (Lowry 21). Stars have come to terms with the fact that although evasive, if they want their careers to survive they must be in the media spotlight. “Visibility…is vital for a Celebrity. The paparazzo glorifies acts and magnifies sins…” (Hellmueller 9). Although twisted, stars that receive negative light such as Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, or Lindsey Lohan, receive more public interest than stars that are not involved in scandals (Hellmueller 9).Therefore, negative attention by photographers is a necessary evil. As much as stars resent the paparazzi and the scandals they expose or even factiously conjure up, they understand that their relevance in the cut-throat world of Hollywood is reliant upon their constant media exposure and public interest (Hellmueller 10). Social media has consistently proven as an outlet for the famous within the past six to seven years. Popular forms of social media such as Facebook, Instagram,...
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