Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrity News Coverage - Double Standards

Misery Loves Company

A couple of days ago, I went to print out some stuff at the local library. Before I went home, I dropped by Lidl to get a carton of milk. There was a very handsome guy at the cash register of the line I was waiting at. He was normal, really, but he had nice eyes. He also looked right at me. He even smiled a little. As he gave me the change, our hands touched.

He sits there all day, where people can see and talk to him. His job is in customer service. But he also smiled at me. I like that. I need that escape from the routine of daily life so I'll just focus on him.

I decided that, from now on, I will go there and hide somewhere where I can stare at him often. If other women go near, I'll feel hurt, but I'll let it pass, as long as nothing happens. He's not there all day though. I'll find out what he does after work hours or relating to them and follow him there as well. Maybe school? Grocery shopping?

I'll take pictures of him and video, when he's on the clock and not on the clock. I'll hire someone to keep an eye out for any wrong moves. He's so handsome and looks so nice, he's so good at his job, that I can't fathom him having flaws. If I ever find out he has a girlfriend or he cheated on her or something, I'll make sure to give him Hell about it. I'll write about this crime against me and all his customers! I'll tell the media about it so that we may all chastise him for betraying us by doing bad things in his private time! Why shouldn't we!? His job is about sitting in front of countless of people and smiling at them every day! Smiling at them and talking to them! He should expect my behavior and repent!

Are you freaked out yet? Put the phone down. I don't need a trip to the mental clinic or to be arrested. I was just proving a point. Does the above sound frightening to you? Does it sound like invasion of privacy and this cute cashier's rights? Would I be mentally disturbed if I did that and subject to psychiatric evaluation and maybe legal punishment? To my knowledge, yes.

Now replace said cashier with 'celebrity'. This is my problem.

Poor Bob

The recent Se7en scandal is what urged me to write this. While definitely not as serious as other cases or of any personal interest (I only know the artist by name), this was more of a boiling point for me, after seeing this happen time and time again. Long story short for those not in the know, a famous Korean solo idol singer (Se7en) and his friends were out drinking and visiting a "massage parlor" (called, wait for it... 'Happy Ending') during active duty as soldiers in the South Korean army. The guy in question apparently has a girlfriend he cheated on with the prostitute/s.

Now, some "reporters" got the drop on them at 4AM, with cameras and the whole thing has become a huge scandal in the community, globally. Supposedly, the topic the reporters covered and netizens care about is the special treatment celebrity soldiers get in the army, a big and very real issue in South Korea.

We're good so far and assuming things are as they seem (which we shouldn't always assume). These guys abused the system and should face punishment from the army. They should also receive rejection and the wrath of the citizens who pay taxes so they can abuse them for special treatment. Given one cheated, their girlfriends should imprint their new heels in their behinds too. They are idiots and they did illegal and, if the reports are true on the girlfriend issue, immoral things.

But the focus seems to be on a different issue than the special treatment and its bigger culprits. The video was taken right outside the massage parlor, exposing not only the fact they were outside and drinking during active service, but outing their sex life as well. The entire internet is drowning under waves of cursing and disappointment over one thing. Se7en went to the hookers and cheated on his famous girlfriend. What he was doing seems to carry more weight than the fact he had no right to do it at the time.

They made sure the sex part was the highlight. It sells well and brings in the cash, doesn't it?

A celebrity has a glamorous job, true. They are all about selling an image when they work. They smile to people, sign autographs, sometimes share certain things from their private life too. We all do, some a bit too much, since social media appeared.

But at what point does the nature of their career, their job, justify this complete invasion of every aspect of their lives reporters, if we can even call such harpies that, and netizens seem to think they are entitled to? Even if said celebrities do use the media and sell buzz, they expose what they want to. The parts of their own work and life they have a right to reveal themselves.

If I post a picture of me and my dog on Twitter, that does not mean everyone can knock on my door and demand to know/see more. If I decide to give my dog away, it does not mean reporters can barge in and drag my name through the mud worldwide, while netizens comment on what a hag I am to give away a dog. Girlfriend, dog, a nice porcelain plate, while they differ in importance, they are all part of my private life and decisions.

What I am saying is, these reporters had every right to reveal the soldiers were outside their dorms late at night, which is against the public army rules. The netizens also have a right to judge them as their country's soldiers who abused their status. But no one had the right to reveal or judge the fact they were visiting prostitutes.

Why are these people given the right to invade someone's private life and sex life and judge them for it? That is because this industry feeds on turning their celebrities into 24/7 pleasure dispensers for those who need gossip and escapism more than air. But that is another big topic.

Pathetigorean Theorem

My point here is, the things we expect and demand of celebrities and the privileges we demand we have in their private lives are things that, in any other employee-client relationship, would be considered irrational, invasive and illegal. And no, them being nice people or jerks does not change what we are entitled to know.

Just because we use someone's image for our fantasies and have a mistaken sense of closeness with them and importance in their lives, just because someone does not just dance or act, but does it in a glamorous way and is world-famous does not mean they are any less people or any less employees working at their job. How high someone's work ranks on the glamor-scale should not determine whether we can walk all over their human rights, right to privacy or labor rights as the people who offers us a service as part of their career.

They are not politicians who are chosen to represent us and should live and breathe our best interests. Even those seem to have more personal space than celebrities and they should. Who you are at home and at work, your devotion as a person and as an employee are not necessarily connected. Actors, singers, dancers etc have no obligation to be everything we ask and want them to be, nor does their private life have anything to do with us and our relationship with them as fans.

In other words, judge people based on their work. Judge them as officials. Judge them as criminals, if they commit an illegal act. What they do with their private life, their body, vagina or penis is none of your business. What they eat, how they diet, whether they smoke, cheat, get pregnant or have a miscarriage, it's their private life and their right to reveal it or not. Whoever tries to tell me it makes sense, that the scenario I described in the beginning can or cannot be characterized as a blatant rape of someone's rights based on their job, should pick that phone back up and call that clinic. You really need them.

Textless paparazzi image source:

Textless student image source: From KD to Kimchi. I do not know the ladies in the picture and am in no way insinuating these specific girls are emotionally unstable.

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