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Pictures, Paparazzi and Pleasantries: Do Celebrities Owe Us Anything?

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | July 12, 2012 |

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | July 12, 2012 |

Earlier this week, on my Andrew Garfield/Emma Stone post, I included a video of Andrew attempting to reason with the paparazzi to leave them alone and let them on about their day. Some commenters fell into the “paps are scum” camp while a few made mention that it’s just something that comes with the territory and they can’t feel sorry for the rich and famous having their day interrupted.

So, again, it is time for us to debate.

Sometimes it’s probably easy to think the photogs aren’t as horrid as celebrities say, and really easy to think that when they stupidly play the rape card. That said, while we see this:


They see this:


And just in case anyone thinks that doesn’t look like too many, that’s probably because it’s Hilary Duff. No offense or anything, Hil, and I thank you for your fine contributions to reality show theme songs.

Of course, if merely playing a particularly loud game of “I’m not touching you” with various A, B, C and D-listers (hell, even those Jersey Shore people get papped all the time) isn’t enough for you to think ill of the hardworking men and women in the noble field of celebrity photography, this should be:




That’s how we get those upskirt photos. You know, the ones that make people scream “whore!” everytime they’re released, because clearly people like Britney Spears and Courteney Cox are just thrusting their crotches into their lenses on purpose.

But should that be just another part of the celebrity life for them to deal with and not complain about? It’s a debate that comes up every single time the paparazzi are discussed. And I think most can agree that the celebrity photographers who make a living stalking famous people are pretty much the lowest form of human. But what about the levels above them? What about us? What about the times we join the ranks of the TMZ elite with our camera phones and sneak a shot at a coffee shop, or, gasp shock awe, demand the dreaded fan photo, featuring an eager fan and a tepid, if not outright annoyed famous person?

You know the ones I’m talking about. I won’t include one randomly found on the internet out of respect for those who maybe don’t want their photos included in this context. I also won’t include one because this is what happens when you search “fan photo.”


I actually don’t really need to search one, because, you know, here:


That’s me with Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop of Travis after a show they did in Chicago. You can clearly see that I fangirled so hard my upper lip migrated to my nose and my dress fell south. I also have one of me with Dave Foley. I’m not posting it because I have that option because this is my post and you’re not my mom, but I can tell you how thrilled he looks to be in that photo with me, and it’s not very. I don’t even show people either of these pictures because I don’t even like the way I look in them. So, what’s the point? I have a picture of me with Fran Healy, but he’s not going to let me sing backup or anything. I have a hideous picture of me and Dave Foley, but it’s not like we’re friends now. It’s not like they know who I am, or have any recollection of these or any of the other photos taken these nights. On the other hand, yawl!, Travis and Dave Foley!

So I get it. We want a tangible piece of those we admire. And if we get it, aces. But if we don’t, if they don’t give it to us, does that make them mean?

Performers who do stop to give an autograph or pose for a photo should be lauded as “nice guys,” particularly ones who do it happily, or who stop and actually have a conversation with their fans. But that doesn’t mean the reverse is true. Kate Winslet is not a vile bitch because she didn’t feel like getting out of her seat in the middle of a transatlantic flight to talk to some stranger, even though she still signed their stupid autograph book. We evidently live in a time where it’s not enough for us to be entitled to every detail about the lives of famous people, but we are entitled to their time, kindness and super best friendship, too. That’s ridiculous.

Now, mind you, if someone magically came up to me and was all “holy shit, you’re Courtney from Pajiba, can I get a photo with you?” I’d totally do it. I’d be gobsmacked and probably sad for them because, seriously, raise your bar, but I’d do it. But if this happened to me every single day, many times a day, while I was with my family, out to dinner, in the bathroom, on a plane, in my car, on the beach, or if every single outing involved multiple strangers stealthily taking cell phone pictures of me or scary paparazzi in my face, yelling things like “two shot! Over the shoulder! Wet your lips!” then I’d probably go Baldwin and punch someone, too.

The prevailing argument seems to be “they chose the life of a celebrity” but that’s not necessarily the case with everyone. The Kardashians chose the life of a celebrity. Others chose the life of a performer, of an entertainer, and celebrity just came along with it. And it’s one thing when they’re lunching at Nobu in LA, but when they’re just trying to get some goddamn Coldstone, or trying to catch a flight , that’s not really courting the flashy life of a tabloid dream. By the same token, one could make the “just move to Dubuque already” argument.

So, what’s your take? Is all of this just a shitty part of the game, or are we actually entitled to the people on our TV screens? Should they serve us with a smile because we are the reason they exist? Or should the fact that they make movies, songs and shows we enjoy just be enough?