Wednesday, 5 February 2014

In praise of: the Paparazzi

The Paps. Ruining celebrities' lives since 1826.

Paedophiles. Ear wax. Nazi sympathisers. Dictators. Rapists. Cockroaches. Limescale. These are just some of the things our society holds in a higher regard than paparazzi. They are the pits. They are the lowest of the low, no strand of journalism (and this is saying fucking something) engenders as much contempt as they do. But can we just for a moment step back and reevaluate their role in society and perhaps add a little bit of balance to the debate on their function and the merit of their work? Because I love paparazzi. I truly, truly do.

I know. Don't act like I don't. I do. I know. Making the above admission is akin to admitting to being a member of the BNP or occasionally farting in an elevator. But when I see them on their miniature scooter in Downtown LA, clutching their camera in one hand, a copy of Heat in the other with the handlebars of the bike between their knees, chasing after Miley Cyrus or whatever equally loathsome celebrity they've spotted nipping into Starbucks to buy a skinny latte, I can't help but feel the kind of respect that a general has for his troops after winning a decisive military victory. "Gawd bless you martyrs", I say, "For King and Country, chaps."

Because celebrities are bastards. Real, major-league, full-time bastards. I should know, I presented a radio show on ULFM last year dealing with celebrity gossip so I encountered their idiocy and conceitedness on a weekly basis. Most people are incredibly sycophantic when they meet a celeb. Chat-show hosts fawn over them as if they were celestial beings bequeathed to us by the Gods and fans worship them as if they were Gods. Only paparazzi have the balls to treat celebrities like they really ought to be taught; as well-paid pieces of meat invented solely for our amusement and pleasure. 

Do they go too far? Nope. In fact, I don't think they go far enough. Hacking phones is amateur. They teach you that in Journalism 101. Camping outside a celebrity's property? Not good enough. Most celebrities' houses are better fortified than the Maginot Line was. They can't see you on the footpath in your makeshift tent. 

Trespass! Hop a wall, buy a pizza delivery boy costume, burrow underground like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape; there's a plethora of options. Then you can start really messing with the celebrities' heads. Rearrange their furniture, take pictures of their dirty linen, browse through their internet history. Just use your imagination.

Society on the whole is very vitriolic towards paparazzi but it is the fans of individual celebrities who hold paparazzi in the most contempt. Beliebers, Directioners and other "fandoms" purport to despise the paparazzi as they apparently invade the privacy and security of their chosen idol. Indeed, they often use their twitter accounts to vent their outrage towards their paps. Examples of said outrage can be found here, here, here and ooh, here

What's hilarious about the indignation that these fans express towards the paps is that their accounts and fan pages are peppered with photos of their idols that have clearly been snapped by the paps. They love sausage, they just don't love how it's made. Now, I don't mean to sound like a dick, most of these fans are kids so I shouldn't hold them to the same standards I would an adult but this dichotomy is nonetheless very amusing. 

Then there's the celebrities themselves. Apparently, they absolutely deplore the paparazzi. They are the bane of their otherwise perfect lives. But whenever they decide to wed one of their fellow vacuous celebs and exchange vows in some exotic place like the Seychelles, they like nothing more than to bring along a handful of paps to photograph the ceremony. For a rather large fee, of course. 

It's not surprising that they like being snapped in their most elegant, most beautiful for a handsome price and that they're not particularly fond of being caught in the glow of a thousand flashes for not so much as a tuppence as they're making the school run but, hey, you've made your bed now you gotta lie in it, celebs. 

So the next time you think about castigating the paps for their crass disregard for privacy or security and how they can ruin the lives of so many bright young things, just remember, these are the same people who elicited this response from Justin Bieber. Gawd bless 'em. The few. The brave. 

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