Leave those celebs alone!

I was at my local park the other day, watching my sons playing tennis, and spotted the Mayor of London on another court; blonde hair flying, Hawaiian shorts a go-go. It was quite exciting. No, he wasn’t dressed like in this picture. He was on his day off.  I  toyed with the idea of capturing the Boris serve on camera and posting it on Twitter, but just as quickly, dismissed it. Let the man play an undisturbed game of tennis. But the temptation is now there, all the time. Your smart phone is capable of instant, global dissemination of whatever image you choose to capture, be it Boris looking dishevelled or the shockingly emaciated Fergie standing on a New York street.

In days gone by, famous people were only accosted in what one might call ‘red carpet’ mode, or at least, when they had just had a visit from Hair and Makeup. Nowadays a celeb, any celeb, even a newly thin ex-member of the Royal Family, at any time of day or night, anywhere, is a business opportunity for the brave smart phone owner. Even in New York or London, cities which used to be cool with the famous. Enough is enough for Alec Baldwin. The irascible but brilliant actor, in a spirited rant for the New York Magazine, has announced that so utterly fed up is he with being snapped, all the time,  by people wielding mobile phones, that he is quitting the business.

What cheek, some people will think. Have not we, the public, allowed Mr Baldwin an enviable style of life, and a colossal bank balance? Of course. But the average snapper, he suggests, is not out to have a souvenir. They want to see the worst of him, and sell it. It’s like seeing Fergie at her most dreadful. These days, we hunger for images of famous people behaving badly.  “I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible,” continues Baldwin, who points out, inter alia, that he has given over $15 million to charity. “Anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day.”

Just looking at those pictures of Fergie, gaunt in the unforgiving sunshine, no make up, smiling awkwardly, and I know what Baldwin is referring to. It doesn’t reflect well on us, the wielders of the cameras.

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