Monday, June 14, 2010

Private Benjamins

There's a lot of public discussion about privacy these days. Take movie $tar$ (and wouldn't you like to!) As young starving actors, working at Sizzler while waiting for their big break on CSI: Butte, Montana, they will do anything for publicity and attention, except bring you more salad dressing. They appear at supermarket openings, anti-nuclear power rallies, and premieres of movies they aren't in, but they figure that being photographed in the vicinity of Tara Reid's breasts will be good for them. They will pose for the "Who's Wearing What" foto-feature in the Enquirer, they will hope to be listed somewhere near the bullseye in that last-page thing in Entertainment Weekly, and they will be pose for the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine, Dog Fancier magazine, or the ultimate: the new Cigar-Smoking Dog magazine. This is all good and natural; they are in show business and they need to be seen showing themselves off a little.

But then, a few movie$ down the line, and while they wait to be appointed as a $pecial Ambassador to the United Nations for The Prevention of Dipoxy, they need their privacy. Don't even LOOK at me, they explain. And don't try to take my picture! Jackie Kennedy, as much as I love her and her entire family, was The Inquiring Photographer for the Washington Post as a young woman, for the love of Pete, and then in later years she spent 1/2 her time running to court filing suits against people who took HER picture. And all 5' 9" of Sean Penn will be all up in your grill if you dare to pull out the Nikon and ask him to pose with Thelma and the kids at Marine World.

People who follow these things say that movie stars are bothered less in public than television stars, apparently because - this was in the pre-home video-era - we had to put on a pair of pants and drive to a theater to see Paul Newman, but we could just turn on the tv to see Don Knotts in our boxer shorts. And what he was doing in our boxer shorts, I'll never know.... So we felt much less circumspect about approaching Barney Fife for a grip 'n' grin than we did about Cool Hand Luke.

Funny thing, privacy. So many people walk around the mall with their junk on full prop-'em-up display, and then scream bloody murder if you ask for their work email address or something. They will send color video of themselves to America's Funniest Home Videos so that the entire nation - world - will see them drunkenly lurching into the Christmas tree, bellyflopping onto the grass next to the above-ground pool, and riding a bike off a pier. Where, then, the need for privacy, with our humiliations and twig-and-berries available on YouTube?

The next-to-last thing I have on my mind about privacy is people who take out a Facebook page, not under their real name of Amanda Sleepwith, but under the nom de net of Amanda Shedontloveyoulikeiloveyou Sleepwith. Interesting, and certainly a good way to hide from exes from Texas whose Lexus just tex'ed us.

And the last thing I have on my mind about privacy is private. See how easy that was?

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