Brangelina are awaiting twins at a French hospital. A headline assures us that no one can peek inside the windows because they have been papered over.
The Brinkley/Cook divorce case was opened to the public because Christie, who wasn't born yesterday, knew that the press would sensationalize the lurid details even more if the proceedings were kept private.
Celebrities and public figures are photographed at all hours on the red carpet, at a private outing with friends, and during a casual stroll through Target (Kirsten Dunst probably felt like one when a photographer pounced on her to take this photo). Regardless of the setting, celebrities are rated on how well they look.
So, should the price of fame include this enormous invasion of privacy? Are we really owed a glimpse into celebrities' private moments when they are not on a publicity tour or promoting their products? Every day the boundaries of good taste and privacy are shoved back to the point where the concepts themselves are becoming almost non existent. In regard to the Brangelina twins, even the Boston Globe joined in the hysteria, posting a photo of Brad inside a limo after visiting his caro sposo and speculating about the birth. The photographer who sells the first photo of the twins stands to make a bundle of money ( a reputed 24 million dollars). If we can go by past experience, Brangelina will probably sell off the rights to a chosen photographer and donate the money to a good cause. What a smart strategy: fighting fire with fire. As for me, all the hoopla surrounding these multi-millionaire celebrities makes even cynical me feel sorry for them. Other celebrities choose to reveal their private moments to the public (see Colin Firth post), which then makes them fair game as far as that story is concerned.
Lest we minions think we are escaping Big Brother's invasive eye: think again. Our daily movements are monitored through cell phone calls, Website visits, and credit card purchases, and as we pass security cameras and traffic junctions. If someone elects to take our photo while we are in public, they can legally (without our permission) post our image on the Web.
Any time we make a comment or share a photo on the blogosphere, someone with the right search words will be able to download it. My blog's sitemeter stats will tell me the I.P. address of the individual who came to visit, how long they stayed, where they're from, and what posts they clicked on. On WordPress, if you leave a comment you leave your email address as well.
The word "privacy" has become a relative term. 1984 has long come and gone, but the specter of Big Brother watching us has arrived on so many levels that the enormous scope of invasion would boggle even George Orwell were he still alive.
What intrigues me even more is our casual acceptance of this invasion. Moments after hearing of Heath Ledger's death, his family showed up in front of the cameras to share their grief with the world. In times past this would have been a supremely private moment, and reporters and the public would have honored their need for privacy. Except during the aftermath of Princess Diana's death, there is no huge public outcry against paparazzi who follow celebrities at wild speeds, endangering them and their families. Bottom feeders like Perez Hilton make hefty incomes from stalking their famous prey, and then writing scathing comments that overstep the bounds of propriety, but that also enter the gray areas of defamation of character.
If this is progress, quick, put me in a time machine and deposit me in an era where boundaries were respected and people were allowed to live out their lives of quiet desperation away from an ever present eye.