If someone camps out in front of your house, follows you around, taunts you and insults you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that person would be a stalker. If he did the same thing to your kids, he may get locked up. But, give that person a camera, and he becomes a paparazzo, a bona fide member of the press. And he is given all the protections that go along with it.
But is that what the founders had in mind? Is that the purpose of the first amendment? To protect some low-life, high-school dropout with a camera, so he can stalk innocent people and their children for a buck? Is that the so-called “price of fame” that everyone keeps telling me about?
There shouldn’t be a price for fame. Talented people should have the right to express themselves, have a career, raise kids — and, if they choose, the same level of privacy that you and I enjoy.
We allow these mobs of screaming flesh and flashbulbs to swarm on innocent people all to get the “without makeup” shot, and we think nothing of it. We allow them to do it to their kids, too — against the parents’ will. And we think nothing of it. How self-absorbed we all are. Would you want a bunch of punks taking pictures of you and your kids against your will?
Everyone is bitching about the NSA tracking “meta” data, like phone numbers, times, and call duration. Big deal. Why is no one bitching about the tabloid culture in America that legitimizes and funds these shutter-thugs, and that destroys even the possibility of privacy for our most talented citizens? The paparazzi represent a much bigger infringement on the right to privacy than the NSA data-collection or some of these other issues.
Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner are speaking out about the paparazzi’s treatment of their kids. But that isn’t far enough. Give the camera carrying creeps permission to take shots at premiers and awards shows and other public events. But that’s it.
If you want a picture of Halle Berry walking down Main street, and you intend to sell it or publish it for profit, then you should have to ask her permission. That’s what I would demand, and that’s what everyone should get.
Just imagine that you had talent, or that your kid does. Is that the price you should pay to express it? Is that what you want your super-talented kid’s life to be like?
Finally, and perhaps most important: as a red-blooded heterosexual male I can honestly say, I don’t want the next Halle Berry or Jennifer Garner to stay in Wichita all their life just because they don’t want to pay the price of fame.