a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

They’re afraid…they’re very afraid

My heroine Welsey has a fear of public places.  It’s hard to blame her.  It must be hard for famous stars to step out into the world with the safety and the anonymity you and I take for granted.

Many stars really have this.  It’s one reason some don’t appear without an entourage even to get a Frappuchino at Starbucks.  (Another is, of course, ego.)  Every time they go out, people invade their space, take pictures without asking (and then slam them if they have a hair out of place or are having a bad day) and in general make what you and I would call a normal life impossible for them.  Think of it: Angelina Jolie cannot go into a bakery and order a birthday cake.  You can.

Of course, Angelina Jolie can fly on a private jet to anyplace on earth at virtually a moment’s notice.  You can’t.

And that’s part of the point of the novel.  It’s a trade-off, one most of us think we’d be more than happy to make.  Sure I can deal with some annoying paparazzi if I can jet to Paris and Milan and the Riviera.  I’ll take that trade.

But it may not be as easy as it appears.  The paps follow you everywhere and to avoid them you have to live in a bubble.  Is it any wonder a lot of stars aren’t very well-balanced?

Fans are no better.  Technically they’re called fans, but given the chance, many would steal a star’s cell phone to go through it, or invade their privacy any way they can.  Many have an “I-made-you-so-I-should-have-a-piece-of-you” attitude.  Few are interested in the star as a person.  They delight in watching both the rise and the fall.

Sylvester Stalone once told Roger Ebert that after Rocky, whenever someone tapped him on the shoulder his hand balled up into a fist.  Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman tells of walking on the beach with Cliff Robertson when a fan came out of nowhere and started addressing the actor as though they were familiar friends.  Robertson became distant and defensive and later told Ebert he was at a perpetual disadvantage when he was in public because “they” knew who he was but he didn’t know them.  Michael Caine, in another story told by Ebert, was badgered by a “fan” who kept asking him some silly trivia question just to get to talk to him.

Stars never know if the conversation is going to be followed by a punch, an attack, an embarrassing photo, or what.  And in this age of Facebook, Twitter, et al, it’s worse than ever.

Of course some seem to court celebrity.  The Salahis and Kardashians and Paris and Nicky Hiltons of the world can’t seem to get enough flashbulb retina burn.  I have a feeling they enjoy paps “ruining” their nights out, ambushing them after meals and pressing their lenses into the tinted limousine windows.  It makes them feel important, the way checking one’s cell phone used to make some people feel important before everyone over the age of 12 got their own cell phone.

Maybe those idiots don’t know what they’re getting into.  I wonder how many people really enjoy the sort of “attention” illustrated in these two videos:

Some stars know how to handle paps well.  Katherine Heigl is just amazing at this, as these two samples illustrate.   She actually seems to enjoy interacting with the paparazzi:

Notice how in the second video she actually gets the paps working for her.  And in the first she calls the pap “doll.”   Smooth she is.

Few people hate the paps more, however, than Julia.  The pretty woman has a fiery redhead’s temper.

But seriously, imagine trying to live day-in and day-out in this kind of world:

(I like the street guy who comes to her “rescue.”)

This is what the Salahis and Kardashians of the world seem to want.   Do they know what they’re getting into?

Maybe Kate and Sienna should sit down with them and have a talk…

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2 responses

  1. Fascinating post, John.

    As Emily Dickinson said: “Fame is a bee. It has a song. It has a sting. Ah, too, it has a wing.”

    It seems today’s celebrities are experiencing more of the “sting.” It was sad watching Julia Roberts being hounded. To me, that would be too big a price for success.

    Like

    September 17, 2010 at 7:45 am

  2. Yes, Welsey finds that out too.

    But look how smooth Katherine Heigl is. She’s good.

    Like

    September 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

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