Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Pictures of Assholes
February 3, 2013 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes out a camera and starts recording his paparazzi. They don't like it. [slyt]
posted by Rory Marinich (121 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
I spent three minutes waiting for tempers to boil over and then this to start playing.
posted by griphus at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2013


"Fellini."

And that's why I like JGL so much.
posted by adipocere at 8:18 AM on February 3, 2013 [35 favorites]


They were assholes.
posted by shoesietart at 8:19 AM on February 3, 2013


Christ, what pictures of assholes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:20 AM on February 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


That is a guy who is professionally charming. Even charms the assholes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2013 [22 favorites]


At the end, as they were leaving and he was taking his leave of them, i was waiting for him to say "oh, sorry, I never introduced you to my brother here, his name is...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love that they start out insulting him, and then he eventually gets them arguing with each other. That guy could charm the pants off a statue.
posted by absalom at 8:22 AM on February 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Admittedly, I don't really know enough about the range and depth of personality types in the paparazzi profession to know if this sort of person exists, but I'd be willing to bet that a paparazzo who actually took a moment to politely ask Celebrity X if they could snap a photo would be able to establish a pretty good reputation/business for themselves.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:24 AM on February 3, 2013


At the end, as they were leaving and he was taking his leave of them, i was waiting for him to say "oh, sorry, I never introduced you to my brother here, his name is...."

I appreciate that JGL didn't see fit to dignify the asshole's speculation with a response. Why should it even matter?
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:27 AM on February 3, 2013 [22 favorites]


Good point, SI.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on February 3, 2013


Although, I guess I'm cynical enough to believe that that kind of "I'm not going to dignify your speculations with an acknowlegement" is going to be lost on that paparrazi, who's going to come away thinking "ooh, wait, he didn't even try to deny that the guy he was with was his boyfriend - maybe I was right!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 AM on February 3, 2013


People can read the date of the video for themselves, but some relevant context here is that JGL took and posted this in 2006 -- when most of the world (with the exception of those few who had seen the start of his "comeback" with 'Mysterious Skin' and 'Brick') knew him only as a lapsed child star. So the stakes (and the photographers' attitudes) were a little different than they would be today.

Not that that really makes this any less neat, I just thought it was worth noting in case it wasn't clear.
posted by eugenen at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


My version (but they weren't being assholes)
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:34 AM on February 3, 2013


Some previous Mefi discussion about Pictures of Assholes (though not really a double since it was a link to his site in general).
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2013


"No, no, you weren't... You weren't very nice. You were, like, hiding and running and acting... you know."

If you find yourself saying things like this, you may want to reconsider your life. Just sayin'.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


miley cyrus filmed her stalker/paparazzi the other day.
posted by nadawi at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


What percentage of these fuckers day do you think is spent in mental gymnastics justifying their shitty social bottom feeder existence? When all is said and done and you return what you took from the ground your grand contribution to human society will have been 25,000 pictures of inconvenienced people whose day you mildly spoiled in an effort to out them or catch them with a camel toe or some such shit.

You're flies buzzing around a horse's hindquarters.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:59 AM on February 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


I love what he says in the notes to the Youtube video:

"The only other thing I'll say is (and I had trouble deciding whether or not to be so blunt with my opinion, but here goes) I do believe that the myth of "Celebrity" is not just innocently shallow entertainment, but a powerful and fundamental part of a larger movement revolving around greed, apathy and hierarchy that is currently dragging us down, down, down, lower and scarier, and perhaps weaker than we've ever, ever been. Smile!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:59 AM on February 3, 2013 [57 favorites]


Not just pictures, but audio, too.

Actually, I bet this happens a lot. The picture-taking, I mean. The engaging in conversation is probably very rare.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:01 AM on February 3, 2013


Maaaaan do I have an unreasonable appreciation of JGL's natural speaking accent.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


miley cyrus filmed her stalker/paparazzi the other day.

Is she filming with a steadycam?
posted by gwint at 9:04 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also them telling JGL "put down the camera and we can talk" is just fucking RICH.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2013 [33 favorites]


You're flies buzzing around a horse's hindquarters.
Oh come on, Looper wasn't that bad.
posted by fullerine at 9:06 AM on February 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


Miley is using a deshaking software. Probably the one that comes built into Youtube. On a very sunny day(and therefore low exposure time per frame, resulting in less motion blur), you can walk and record and it will still come out with a bizarre steadiness to it.
posted by Yowser at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whelk: there is nothing unreasonable about liking that accent.

I am so glad to have seen Brick and Fifty-Fifty because now I appreciate that JGL is actually a good actor; after Inception and 500 Days of Summer I assumed he only ever appeared in shitty, obnoxious films. The cognitive dissonance of how much I wanted to like him versus how little I did was kind of frustrating. But now I know he does some damn good movies, and the dissonance is all gone! Poof!
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was surprisingly good.
posted by odinsdream at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2013


We could help put them out of business if we stop creating a market for celebrity photos. Of course, that means that while pooping or waiting for our doctors, dentists, and hairstylists, we'd have to be willing to read articles in National Geographic and The New Yorker and The Atlantic instead of "Who Wore it Better" and "OMG BABY NEWS" in Kardassians Weekly.
It may be a tough sacrifice, but we can do it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:21 AM on February 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


Is she filming with a steadycam?

Looks like either in-camera processing, or more likely, YouTube's automatic stabilization software option.
posted by odinsdream at 9:23 AM on February 3, 2013


Miley is using a deshaking software. Probably the one that comes built into Youtube.

That seems like the distinctive look of iMovie on the iPhone.

Note: people, please turn your phone to landscape mode when taking video!
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:24 AM on February 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, props to Miley Cyrus. Something about the fact that the man keeps running as she points out that she's never seen him before really drives home what a horrible feeling it must be to have these people in your life.

I'm reminded of Emma Watson saying that on her 18th birthday, a man went out of his way to get an under-skirt photograph of her panties. So damn cruel. But searching for that quote only yields me a hundred results of "Emma Watson Turns 18, Finally Shows Us Her Panties". Can we make murdering paparazzi our method of population control?
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:25 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Although, I guess I'm cynical enough to believe that that kind of "I'm not going to dignify your speculations with an acknowlegement" is going to be lost on that paparrazi, who's going to come away thinking "ooh, wait, he didn't even try to deny that the guy he was with was his boyfriend - maybe I was right!"

You're probably right, but I still commend JGL on being level-headed enough to not rise to the bait. Assholes gonna be assholes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2013


Uploaded on Mar 31, 2006

Wonder what he's been up to since then?
posted by item at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, these guys are professional assholes. They are assholes for a living.

I reckon lots of the people they are paid to be assholes too are assholes themselves...but obviously not all...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2013


What percentage of these fuckers day do you think is spent in mental gymnastics justifying their shitty social bottom feeder existence?

Sure. On the other hand -- child actors more or less excepted -- people volunteered to be celebrities, and presumably did so knowing full well that paparazzi exist.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Haven't had a lot of opportunities to make this statement in my life, but I like the Miley Cyrus film better than the Joseph Gordon-Levitt one. Less passive-aggressive and the comment that the paparazzo jumped out of a vehicle in a handicapped parking space (yet is running like an Olympic sprinter) simply and powerfully cements her point.
posted by The Gooch at 9:47 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd be willing to bet that a paparazzo who actually took a moment to politely ask Celebrity X if they could snap a photo would be able to establish a pretty good reputation/business for themselves.

You can find the video my friend's husband took (before they met) of him helping Paris Hilton fill her gas tank on the side of the road. I always felt torn about it—you're only going to help with one hand while you hold the camera?—but his pap career didn't really go anywhere. And yeah, all his pap buddies were assholes, to the one.

ptooey.
posted by carsonb at 9:48 AM on February 3, 2013


And women shouldn't wear skimpy clothes outside, ROU_Xenophobe? Is that the argument you are making?
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:48 AM on February 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also them telling JGL "put down the camera and we can talk" is just fucking RICH.

These guys hear this kind of stuff doing their job all day long. I think they said it reflexively, if it wasn't a pap joke.
posted by carsonb at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2013


Uploaded on Mar 31, 2006

Wonder what he's been up to since then?


Making movies with Leonardo DiCaprio. Maybe they're gay!
posted by carsonb at 9:50 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sure. On the other hand -- child actors more or less excepted -- people volunteered to be celebrities, and presumably did so knowing full well that paparazzi exist.

Jodie Foster thinks this argument is full of shit.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety. Sarah Tobias would never have danced before her rapists in The Accused. Clarice would never have shared the awful screaming of the lambs to Dr. Lecter. Another actress might surely have taken my place, opened her soul to create those characters, surrendered her vulnerabilities. But would she have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:51 AM on February 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


Wonder what he's been up to since then?

Also being in a surprisingly entertaining and pulpy bike messanger movie ( i know right) that features the closest on-screen version to his speaking accent which is usually covered over in movies.

Not that...I've ...watched...all of them...or anything...
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm going to make a prediction. If there's much more of this it'll become a thing, and there'll be cable shows about the Paparazzi, and some of these jerkwads will become celebrities themselves.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:56 AM on February 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


"What percentage of these fuckers day do you think is spent in mental gymnastics justifying their shitty social bottom feeder existence?"

No more than most of us spend in mental gymnastics justifying our existences, I'd bet. These people (and their tactics) would not exist if there wasn't a gigantic market for these photos/videos. And remember that most pap shots you see are the result of deals celebs and their marketing people make with agencies.
posted by docgonzo at 10:02 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Uploaded on Mar 31, 2006


Oh thank God. I was worried his voice never changed.
posted by discopolo at 10:02 AM on February 3, 2013


Premium Rush is pretty much the only reason I'm considering picking up a fixie to have in the garage.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on February 3, 2013


Someone needs to find this Fellini asshole and stick a camera in his face. See how he likes it.
posted by panboi at 10:08 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


There's money in being the pap so people do it, like any other job. No mental gymnastics needed.
And there is already a pap reality show, it's called TMZ.
posted by josher71 at 10:12 AM on February 3, 2013


In the ecology of the entertainment business, the paparazzi perform a useful function. You can't have an entertainment business without them, and I doubt there is any celebrity or personality out there who does not want to promote themselves in some way - Princess Di had a pretty famous love/hate relationship with these guys.

What this fellow did is pretty interesting, but seems somewhat naive - it's all part of being a celebrity. Of course, he had no real choice, and, as Jodi Foster said above, once you become a celebrity, you're always going to be a celebrity. There's no way to stop these guys taking your photo, not even death.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:17 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It's been that way since La Dolce Vita... who directed that?"

"Fellini."

"Who?"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
posted by orange swan at 10:21 AM on February 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


the rules of the game
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on February 3, 2013


I love how when he confronts them, they start by insulting his level of celebrity. "Well, if you were someone like Leo..."
posted by gottabefunky at 10:22 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm surprised no one has made an FPS paparazzi game.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:22 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, when they tried to jab him with things like "you're not important", I wouldn't have been able to resist coming back with "well, what does that make you, then?" JGL deserves a lot of credit for staying above it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:26 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also being in a surprisingly entertaining and pulpy bike messanger movie ( i know right) that features the closest on-screen version to his speaking accent which is usually covered over in movies.

I watched Premium Rush on the plane out of amused curiosity and when it was over I actually felt bad for doubting it. It was really well-constructed and, for a Hollywood movie, it was surprisingly restrained as far as exaggerating the reality of cycling goes. I have a real fondness for movies that set a modest goal for themselves and then follow through on it solidly and unpretentiously.
posted by invitapriore at 10:26 AM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


There has to be some self loathing in these guys. I feel like dirt if I made my living harassing people in public.
posted by zzazazz at 10:27 AM on February 3, 2013


Are there not any countries with laws against paparazzi? I would think there would be quite a bit less of this if the cost of engaging in professional harassment were higher than what you can earn by it.
posted by parudox at 10:30 AM on February 3, 2013


Looks to me like the older paparazzo is the same guy as the younger one, Loopered in from the future, all hardened and embittered.
posted by painquale at 10:32 AM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's all part of being a celebrity.

Choosing to be an actor isn't necessarily the same as choosing to be a celebrity. We could probably have an interesting conversation about the distinctions.

We could help put them out of business if we stop creating a market for celebrity photos.

That's exactly right. Paparazzi are terrible human beings, but they would disappear tomorrow if people stopped buying tabloids at the grocery store and stopped clicking on racy links on the front page of CNN. Instead, people bookmark Perez Hilton's website on their work computers. It isn't just the paparazzi's fault.
posted by cribcage at 10:35 AM on February 3, 2013


Also, I'm surprised no one has made an FPS paparazzi game.

They did, but it was called Pokemon Snap.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:39 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Brendan Fraser did something similar to us once, except he just whipped out his Leica and shot stills.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:39 AM on February 3, 2013


While many would think Teal'c is an asshole, I have discovered an ancient source that proves otherwise.
posted by clavdivs at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


When we were watching "Lincoln" when he came onscreen, I turned to my BF and said, "He's in this, too?" Does he sleep? Great actor, one whom I respect even more after watching this.

(Personal connection: My friend Dave Jordan taught him to ride a fixie for "Premium Rush.")
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2013


Premium Rush is probobly the only film that ends with an on set video of the main character all bloddied up after a stunt.
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2013


Doesn't every Jackie Chan movie end that way?
posted by nathancaswell at 10:57 AM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am so glad to have seen Brick and Fifty-Fifty because now I appreciate that JGL is actually a good actor

The Lookout and Hesher confirm that assessment. JGL plays every role to the hilt.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


In support of docgonzo. We all love to bash the paparazzi as being parasites - which they are, for torturing our beloved superstars - but at ground level it's a bunch of people doing a job that is paid for. Admittedly, my limited understanding of JGL is that he contributes to our culture and society quite a bit more than, say, 3 movies of the Hobbit, NCAA sports, or the credit card companies which offer to "help" me with my debt. But it's throwing stones, that *we* all get paid for so much more noble endeavors.
posted by FUD at 11:10 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jodie Foster thinks this argument is full of shit.

That's why I excepted child actors, who probably don't understand what they're getting into.

And women shouldn't wear skimpy clothes outside, ROU_Xenophobe? Is that the argument you are making?

Yes, obviously, because there's clearly no distinction whatsoever between that and actively seeking to be a prominent actor in popular films.

*shrug* I just don't have a whole hell of a lot of sympathy for adults who chose to be celebrities and have to deal with paparazzi, any more than I have for, say, medical residents who have long hours, or military folks who have to move a lot, and so on. I'd rather that there weren't paparazzi, but it's hard for me to get worked up about.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the ecology of the entertainment business, the paparazzi perform a useful function. You can't have an entertainment business without them, and I doubt there is any celebrity or personality out there who does not want to promote themselves in some way - Princess Di had a pretty famous love/hate relationship with these guys.


Wait, what? Were the music and theatre businesses entirely hypothetical creations from the Greeks down through Stravinsky, everybody saying "damn, it would be great to actually stage these plays and perform this music and entertain the public, but we really can't do it until some sort of a candid image of us going to the drugstore or picking our nose can be widely circulated"?

What about sports, which is an entertainment business? They manage to publicize their events adequately generally without some asshole having to hide in the bushes outside Colin Kaepernick's apartment.

Sure, there are people out there who want to see pictures of famous people trying to live their lives, and there are people out there who want to see pictures up the skirts of young starlets. Fuck 'em. There are people who would pay to watch dogs fight, or live executions. Just because the lowest common denominator wants to see something doesn't automatically make it a mandatory part of our cultural ecosystem.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:20 AM on February 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


there's connection between the skimpy clothes analogy and celebrity - as was mentioned up thread, emma watson on her 18th birthday. after her panties were plastered all over the place, the commentary was largely, "well, what did she expect?" and "she wore those panties to be seen - why else would she be wearing sheer, lace undies?" the paparazzi were over, around, and, yes, laying in gutters to get the shot. everyone is horrified when it's creeps on reddit, but when it's someone who is famous and rich the reaction is largely indifference or straight up victim blaming.
posted by nadawi at 11:22 AM on February 3, 2013 [16 favorites]


there's connection between the skimpy clothes analogy and celebrity - as was mentioned up thread, emma watson on her 18th birthday

That doesn't make much sense give that lying in gutters trying to take photos up women's skirts ought to be illegal, and vigorously enforced, no matter who the woman is.

Even for people who become celebrities as adults, which excludes Watson, celebrities ought to be able to expect that paparazzi only follow them around and take pictures of them in times, places, and manners that don't violate laws that protect everyone.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:38 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's fascinating to see people here sticking up for the 1% here. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


but they don't get that protection, that's the point. if the paparazzi were just following them around and not using long lenses to get into their houses, or hiding in bushes, or laying in gutters, or stalking their kids at grade school, there might not be so much vitriol. but all of those things are happening.
posted by nadawi at 11:53 AM on February 3, 2013


Wow, that was super fascinating. He's genuinely nice to them--he tells them he'd be happy to take a picture if they just asked nicely and they say they can't because it's never been done? And then tell him that because he has the nerve to walk around with another guy then he must be gay therefore it's okay to harass him? Wow. What loathsome human beings. I can't believe that ended with a smile and a handshake (with the younger guy admitting he was a bit starstruck, nonetheless.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:58 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


".... people volunteered to be celebrities, and presumably did so knowing full well that paparazzi exist."

Means what? People work in convience stores knowing that stick-ups exist. So, they shouldn't work the night shift? The cash register validates the thief? I can make an argument for theft (stealing bread to feed your starving kids), if the circumstances are narrow enough. (I differentiate between legal and moral tenets, here.) These photographers don't rise to that level. The camera seems to have turned around and bitten these guys on the ass. Go You Tube.

JGL is a class act, and seems to be developing into a formidable talent.

Assholes are dogshit, which you have to keep scraping off your shoes if you want to go outside. Their product is lucrative, so that complicates things on account of how the associate assholes who buy and read their product are never actually required to admit their asshole-ness. I was pleased and somehow comforted by the way JGL softened these guys. It won't last, though.

See, this is just another example of why you can't explain Earth people to aliens.
posted by mule98J at 12:11 PM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


but when it's someone who is famous and rich the reaction is largely indifference or straight up victim blaming.

Well good heavens, if Emma Watson hadn't wanted them to take a photo of her panties she wouldn't have worn any!
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 PM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


but they don't get that protection, that's the point

That's fair enough; I'd certainly support vigorously using civil and criminal law to force paparazzi to rigidly adhere to clearly legal conduct.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:25 PM on February 3, 2013


It's fascinating to see people here sticking up for the 1% here. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Oh, come the fuck on.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:26 PM on February 3, 2013 [30 favorites]


It's fascinating to see people here sticking up for the 1% here. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Yes, we must stand in solidarity with camera-wielding creeps.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:28 PM on February 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


The Whelk: "the rules of the game"

Damnit, now you made me lose!
posted by symbioid at 12:39 PM on February 3, 2013


Well, I bet that professional nuisances like this pair are far fewer than 1% of the population, and that is worse than The 1% because the number is smaller so we can dislike them even more.

Math!
posted by griphus at 12:41 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What about sports, which is an entertainment business? They manage to publicize their events adequately generally without some asshole having to hide in the bushes outside Colin Kaepernick's apartment.

Josh Hamilton, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Leinart would probably argue otherwise (and those are just the top of my head examples)
posted by The Gooch at 12:42 PM on February 3, 2013


That's not professional paparazzi, that's partying with college kids or randos in a bar and having one snap a photo on their phone and then upload it to the Internet. Totally different.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:46 PM on February 3, 2013


Fair enough point, nathancaswell. Was just trying to illustrate that sports stars are not immune from this sort of invasion of privacy, as was suggested in the earlier comment.
posted by The Gooch at 12:49 PM on February 3, 2013


Also, nobody, and I mean nobody, who becomes a celebrity is ready for it. Most celebrities don't really expect to become celebrities – believe it or not, plenty of musicians and actors actually do what they do because they like doing it, and not because they enjoy being preened by the masses – and the ones that do often find that they immediately regret it.

I understand the hostility that some of you here feel for celebrities. It can be really annoying, or even downright depressing, to have people who you don't care about shoved in your face by news outlets and friends constantly. But as bad as you think you have it, having to notice these irritating Hollywood people every day of your life, celebrities have it a thousand times worse.

Think of all the people you can't stand. All the people you hate. The ones who talk to you too much for no good reason, the ones who start fights with you just to start fights. The ones who are just obsessed with talking shit about you, making up rumors, just generally trying to get everybody else to hate you. You all know some terrible people. Of course you do.

Now imagine that instead of just the couple who find themselves in your life – friends of friends, workmates, so on, so forth – there are tens of thousands of these people and they obsess about everything you do. What you say. What you wear every day of your life. There are TV shows DEDICATED to talking about you, criticizing you, making fun of you. And there are people who take these TV shows seriously, who are convinced that since there's a show about it, this must be the right thing to give a shit about. Some of these people will force their ways into your life. Some of these people are not quite so crazy, but they'll pay the people who're getting in your life as-is to do things for them, or else they'll just validate those people with extra attention. There is a whole culture dedicated to putting you on display and just letting anybody, ANYBODY, feel like they have access to every little bit of your life.

Now, a few rare celebrities are exhibitionists. Some say they like being on display, and then something happens and they feel personally violated, and then they realize: they don't get to draw the line. There is no line. Anything fucking goes. Anybody has access to them, not because they've done anything or are trying to reach anybody, but because society has deemed them acceptable targets.

The Internet makes this worse. Because now there are amateurs trying to get in on this, amateurs who aren't limited by a network or by financial obligations or by the limits of "taste" (ha!) – and when those amateurs get especially nasty, enough so that they attract a real crowd, then they further legitimatize this mindset that as far as celebrities are concerned, anything goes. So you have Perez Hilton. You have Gawker, which was founded with the mindset that ANYBODY should be allowed to become a celebrity, ANYBODY should be the target of the Internet's faceless scorn and rage. It just keeps getting worse.

I feel horrible for the Justin Biebers and Britney Spearses. They couldn't have known what they were getting into. And once they're a part of it, it will never stop. People can be scary and horrifying and shitty, and when you're a celebrity you draw all these people towards you. All for no good reason than because we've decided to make certain people available targets.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:50 PM on February 3, 2013 [31 favorites]


Came for JGL, stayed for the discussion about celebrity culture. Well played, Metafilter.
posted by Misty_Knightmare at 12:55 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's fascinating to see people here sticking up for the 1% here. I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Yeah I know, it's weird that people are treating these celebrities as if they're somehow human and can have human emotions, when clearly they're all eldritch abominations.
posted by kmz at 1:11 PM on February 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I love that not one of the commenters here thought that whether or not JGL is gay was worth discussing. Plenty of sites, this topic goes up, that's ALL the discussion is about.

But here? We all seem to be on the same page: MEH. He's a nice guy, he's a good actor, he's not saying either way, it's none of our goddamned business, and who cares if he was?

Good on you, MetaFilter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:29 PM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't celebrities like JGL derive some kind of intangible profit from having their image in tabloids? I mean, obviously the attention paid is derived from their successes or failures away from their relations with paparazzi but isn't JGL giving these guys short shrift? They play an essential role in making sure the average American who pays $15 every other week to watch a movie will have his or her attention momentarily diverted by JGL as they buy their groceries.
posted by anewnadir at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2013


Fair enough point, nathancaswell. Was just trying to illustrate that sports stars are not immune from this sort of invasion of privacy, as was suggested in the earlier comment.

I wasn't saying that they were immune (and soccer stars have it far worse than NFL players), I was just responding to KokuRyu's idea that the entertainment business wouldn't work without paps and celebrity culture. The sports world manages to promote matches, have celebrities and human interest stories and will be staging the biggest entertainment event of the year in a couple of hours relying almost entirely on things like press conferences and interviews and journalism. Sure, Gawker has a sports-themed spinoff that you can point to, but that's entirely incidental and an expansion of paparazzi culture in the last few years.

Maybe a better expansion would be to look at other kinds of business -- somehow the tech industry manages to promote itself and its products without people trying to take pictures of Tim Cook buying groceries, or rampant speculation on whether Sergei Brin has gained a little weight, or invading Mark Zuckerberg's private life*. Most industries manage to do fine promoting their products, with their leaders being so anonymous I don't even know who they are to cite them.

Yet the entertainment world has this ridiculous celebrity-paparazzi-industrial complex built up, like it's somehow an appropriate way to treat human beings. And we're all the poorer for it -- presumably there are very good performers out there who are making the hard choice that some in this thread have suggested they must and are depriving us of their talents because they don't want to become yet another piece of meat in the celebrity sausage grinder.

* one of the top ten people in the world who actually deserves paparazzi
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:51 PM on February 3, 2013



Maybe a better expansion would be to look at other kinds of business -- somehow the tech industry manages to promote itself and its products without people trying to take pictures of Tim Cook buying groceries, or rampant speculation on whether Sergei Brin has gained a little weight, or invading Mark Zuckerberg's private life*.

Ah but you are looking in the wrong place. See commentary and nitpicking re: Marissa Mayer and the YahooCEOPregnancygate. Thus always for women.
posted by sweetkid at 1:56 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't celebrities like JGL derive some kind of intangible profit from having their image in tabloids?

Definitely. But unless he's asking for their help, that's somewhat irrelevant. To use a clumsy analogy, imagine a burglar who breaks into your house and steals your grandmother's old stained-glass lamp, hires a savvy auction house to sell the lamp for $500,000, and then secretly deposits $250,000 into your savings account. Sure, you're richer, but probably still pissed and rightfully so.

If an actor chooses to cooperate with tabloids and paparazzi to enhance his career, so be it. But if he doesn't, I don't think they get off the hook for harassing him by arguing, "Hey buddy, I'm doing this for you."
posted by cribcage at 2:06 PM on February 3, 2013


Man, I can't believe Jason Biggs is reduced to taking snaps of celebrities now. That American Pie money didn't last long.
posted by smoke at 2:08 PM on February 3, 2013


Oh hey, he noticed

Joseph Gordon-Levitt ‏@hitRECordJoe

Every so often, the internet re-discovers this old vid I made. Funny to see it again makin the rounds. SMILE!

posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


(Wrote this earlier and had to leave, but it still fits okay.)

There were some upskirt photos of Katy Perry a while back, and I encountered people saying, essentially, "That's what she gets for wearing a short dress and walking on a balcony." I know very little about Katy Perry and her opinions on paparazzi, but they aren't relevant to the overarching issue: She should be able to walk on an elevated surface without people shoving a camera up her dress. She shouldn't have to monitor her dress length, underwear style (or lack thereof), and her elevation relative to other people when she's just walking around in public. The people who stalk celebrities should be prosecuted, if possible. Not paid. Not defended. Not handwaved away with comments like, "that's just what the public wants".

The fact that famous women do have to adapt to this issue is obvious, and maybe it is a fact of their lives they can't do anything about. But that doesn't mean it's not incredibly sick and screwed-up. Continuing to use Katy Perry as an example: I really don't like the argument of "well whatever, she's rich and famous, I don't feel sorry for her because her life is great otherwise." Her wealth, good luck, and status don't erase her right to go in public without being sexually harassed. Does this really have to be spelled out? The fact that there are far worse atrocities in the world, doesn't mean the behavior of paparazzi is acceptable in any way. It deserves anger. For female celebrities, especially, it's an extension of the the world's systematic misogyny. There's nothing acceptable about that.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:25 PM on February 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


he put together an illustrated antthology of stories? I ..dang Joe you're making me look bad
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on February 3, 2013


Don't celebrities like JGL derive some kind of intangible profit from having their image in tabloids?

Carol Burnett didn't think so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:34 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know very little about Katy Perry and her opinions on paparazzi, posted by Coatlicue

Katy Perry is a bit of a poor example here because she's a bit of an exhibitionist. She was wearing dresses and doing cartwheels as part of her Warped Tour set a while back.... not exactly an accidental display on her part.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:06 PM on February 3, 2013


Miley Cyrus's pronunciation of "vehicle" in that video will haunt my dreams.
posted by eugenen at 3:45 PM on February 3, 2013


> Katy Perry is a bit of a poor example here because she's a bit of an exhibitionist. She was wearing dresses and doing cartwheels as part of her Warped Tour set a while back.... not exactly an accidental display on her part.

It doesn't really matter. If you make your thighs available for photography in one circumstance, it doesn't grant photographers perpetual rights to them.
posted by desuetude at 3:53 PM on February 3, 2013 [27 favorites]


Katy Perry is a bit of a poor example here because she's a bit of an exhibitionist.

The stage is not the sidewalk. How does this logic extend to actors and actresses who have sex (real or simulated) in films? Or appear nude in theater productions?
posted by griphus at 3:56 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well griphus, if a woman has appeared in a nude or sex scene, then obviously paparazzi have the right to rip her clothing off, because sexual harrassment OBVIOUSLY doesn't apply to celebrities.
posted by happyroach at 4:10 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saying that anyone who ever appeared nude or semi-clothed in public has granted the right to have cameras shoved in their crotches forever is pretty much like saying there's no such thing as marital rape because once she puts out, she's your property to use and abuse.

Don't be that person.
posted by emjaybee at 4:13 PM on February 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


The stage is not the sidewalk.
posted by griphus


And I didn't say it was.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:16 PM on February 3, 2013


Also, I'm surprised no one has made an FPS paparazzi game.

They did, but it was called Pokemon Snap.


That's less of an FPS and more of a rail shooter.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:03 PM on February 3, 2013


That's less of an FPS and more of a rail shooter.

Rails or no, Pokemon Snap is still an FPS insofar as it involves shooting things (with a camera) and is entirely in a first-person POV. In any case, the next closest games I could think of were Dead Rising or Beyond Good & Evil, neither of which qualify as an FPS in any sense at all.

(Sorry for the rail-derail, you can all continue the JGL encomium...)
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:31 PM on February 3, 2013



I'm so not a celebrity and neither would I want to be. I did get a small taste of what it could be like though about ten years back. I was in a documentary about a group I was involved with concerning ecological issues. It was shown in a theatre in the area of town that I spent a lot of time in and was talked about a lot within the larger community surrounding the issues. That was coupled with a minor run for political office as part of talking about issues in public.

I admit it was cool though quite weird when I was recognized as 'being in that movie' at a couple of networking events. No big deal there because people were then interested in what I was working on. I was also recognized by waitresses at a couple of restaurants which was neat but the unsettling part was the whole idea that people I didn't know knew who I was. I realized that getting into the public meant a loss of annonimity and what it would mean. Just going out to grab some milk meant having to think more about things like what I was wearing and what I was doing.

Then one day I was walking down the street and this guy recognized me. Ended up he didn't agree with my viewpoints on a lot of things and decided that the middle of the sidewalk was the place he would tell me. He started screaming and shouting at me and when I calmly tried to get away from the situation as politely as I could proceeded to go into a tirade about how I had to listen to him. It was scary and I realized then that if I kept going in the direction I was going in terms of becoming more 'public' that this sort of thing could happen more. The feeling that I got from that guy was that since part of me was out in public then that meant that he was entitled to do whatever the heck he wanted.

I did a lot of soul searching and decided that even though I thought what I was doing was important that I was no longer going to do it in a more public way. It was a hard decision but one I don't regret. I still did work but moved it to more behind the scenes where I was better able to keep my personal life and space in some sort of order.

I do agree that being in the public eye can be a choice and that to an extent you do choose to give part of you to the public when you do. Many people can and do it consciously while weighing what you get verses what you give up. However I think celebrity culture as it stands takes it way too far. There's a difference between giving up some of yourself to the public and the public acting like they are entitled to every little bit of your life as if they own you in some way.
posted by Jalliah at 8:34 PM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


I loved Anne Hathaway's smackdown of Matt Lauer in regards to what was stupidly called a "wardrobe malfunction" and publicized by paparazzi.
Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident ... It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment, and rather than delete it and do the decent thing, sells it. And I'm sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis, because that's what the character [Fantine] is. She is someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing and there's no social safety net so yeah—let's get back to Les Mis.
posted by amanda at 8:43 PM on February 3, 2013 [24 favorites]


amanda: "I loved Anne Hathaway's smackdown of Matt Lauer "

I have 38 credits of welding college, a forge and anvil in my backyard, three freezers, and spent a good portion of my twenties climbing frozen waterfalls and feel qualified to say that that right there is one damn-hell-ass ice burn for the ages.
posted by stet at 9:13 PM on February 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


She was wearing dresses and doing cartwheels as part of her Warped Tour set a while back.... not exactly an accidental display on her part.

.... not exactly an accidental display of her parts.

TFIFY
posted by mule98J at 9:19 PM on February 3, 2013


"If they didn't want people going through their trash and calling them gay, they shouldn't have tried to express themselves artistically!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:54 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Being a celebrity is not just artistic expression. Stars are deliberately trying to be as famous as possible so more people will pay to see them in movies or on TV. They go on talk shows to divulge details of their personal life. They schedule their bikini appearances so photographers can take flattering photos. Some even have tv-cameras in their home to do a tv-show.
Celebrities are very much complicit in the erosion of their privacy.
posted by Authorized User at 12:36 AM on February 4, 2013


Authorized: I count only one use of the word "some" in your comment. I can see at least three other places where you could have used it. Are you on some kind of word shortage?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


The people who stalk celebrities should be prosecuted, if possible. Not paid. Not defended. Not handwaved away with comments like, "that's just what the public wants".

I agree. Yet, a giant industry that pays people good money to take these photos does not agree.
posted by josher71 at 4:47 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I'm missing a business opportunity here: I want to set up a company where you Paparazzi the Paparazzi for the celebrities so they don't have to all the time.

Client A could call us up and say, "Hey, there's this dude always around our house and I always take my dog out at such-and-such a time." So then PtP would come out and film the guy so they could go out with their dogs without being harrassed. You could hire one, two or 10 PtP photographers to come out and run interference.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:01 AM on February 4, 2013


I would think hiring goons with bats would be more efficacious.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:32 AM on February 4, 2013


Authorized: I count only one use of the word "some" in your comment. I can see at least three other places where you could have used it. Are you on some kind of word shortage?

To tell you the truth, I was. And probably no one does all of those. But most celebrities do partake in activities. You can act, even in movies, without being famous. Certainly if you want to be a star, you have to be famous. But first trying to gain fame, then reaping the benefits of fame and then complaining about the drawbacks of fame is rather disingenious.
posted by Authorized User at 6:37 AM on February 4, 2013


I guess there are two questions I'd consider. First, is paparazzi behavior a reasonable "drawback" to fame? It seems fairly extreme. Yet we appear to accept it as a society, since we don't toughen laws to prevent it, we don't enforce laws to punish it, and we buy the tabloids that fund it. (I don't buy them personally, but hey, I'm part of American society.)

Second, is there a distinction between an actor who is famous, versus one who seeks and exploits fame? In other words, maybe it's fair to shrug when paparazzi stalk someone who is constantly soliciting press, who publicizes his/her decisions about where to eat or who to date, etc. Maybe it's less fair to have paparazzi following an actor who makes summer-blockbuster movies but otherwise mostly keeps to himself.
posted by cribcage at 6:59 AM on February 4, 2013


Here's the thing: if you want a career in acting, or art, or fiction writing, or well....a lot of careers, you have to get famous on some level in order to be successful. Period. It is a requirement for you to get more and better jobs and a living wage, that doesn't require you to have a barista day job. If you don't get some form of notoriety, your career is in the toilet and you're broke and debating working at McDonald's. That is the tradeoff that some folks have to make for their career. And since careers in the arts don't come with steady pay or raises, that's about the only way to get such things (more or less). Sure, you can act in movies without getting super famous--maybe hit "Hey, It's That Guy" status-- but after awhile, people are still gonna notice you and to some degree, the drama bomb will go off.

I have done a fair chunk of research on fame (wish I was Anne Helen Petersen, right? hah) and as far as I have been able to tell, The Crazy really kicks in with the people who are on camera a lot. If we see people on TV every week, that's more frequently than we hang out with our own neighbors next door. Our brains aren't really calibrated to realize that someone we see frequently isn't actually "in" our lives and doesn't know or care about us. And that seems to make us ... crazy. We gossip about celebrities like they're our relatives or coworkers because to some degree they are omnipresent...and then we end up with this stalkerazzi shit.

And these days, hell, sometimes you even get famous accidentally without even trying. That is possible these days. And that's scary. There are ways to play down your public presence or at least not flag people into noticing you, but if people suddenly want to seek you out for whatever reason (say, Pastor Bad Tipper), then you're SOL. And that doesn't come with the compensating money to go with it.

It's a scary world we live in.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


This reminds me of that scene in Wilde in which two toughs approach Oscar Wilde and try to blackmail him. He stymies them with an unbroken front of charm. They're at total loss as to how to handle it, and of course they get nowhere with their scheme.

Congratulations, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You're as charming as Oscar Wilde. Now that's a quality worth having.
posted by orange swan at 3:23 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Though it originates in a different context, the term "human flesh search engine" seems appropriate to paparazzi. They don't aim to literally destroy or punish their targets, just to tarnish their fame, but the destructive affect and the willingness to go to any length (internet-assisted) seem similar.
posted by bad grammar at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2013


paparazzi hides out in hospital parking lot to get shots of evan rachel wood and get pictures of her ultrasound. fucked up in so many ways. it appears dailymail has taken them down for now, but i'm sure they're still out there somewhere. her response. note that she's being accused of setting up the shots because she's smiling in the pictures.
posted by nadawi at 2:44 PM on February 13, 2013


« Older What Made "The O.C." Great, Bitch...  |  DARPA has developed a 1800 meg... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments