We want to have our cake and eat it, too

Even the lowest form of technology can intrude.

Even the lowest form of technology can intrude.

“If someone says something that hurt you or angers you, use me as an example of what not to do.  Don’t respond with hate or anger, because you are just adding more ugliness to the world.”

Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill apologized recently for his homophobic slur (“suck my d***, you f*****!) to a member of the paparazzi; his words to Jimmy Fallon listed at the top of the page.   I hear entirely what he’s saying.  Bringing such moral change universally starts with each individual standing down in the face of aggressive situations, when possible.

Nevertheless I must respectfully disagree.  

Despite his apology, it seems there’s more than enough blame to go around as the whole episode may have been driven by the actions of the photographer.  And as this is only the latest episode of the “gotcha!” media exploiting another Hollywood celebrity, I ask myself, where does it all end?

I think it’s how we consider paparazzi; the manner in which we define them and the purpose that they serve.  They are the lifeline for those of us bent on knowing and finding out every miniscule piece of flotsam about this star or that one.  Without them, there would be no TMZ, People magazine, US magazine or a thousand other global publications, television shows and cable networks.

Make no mistake though; it’s because of that need that some are nothing more than bullies with a camera and a long range lens.  For, it’s only a bully that would photograph a person after being adamantly asked NOT to do so.  At the very least, he’s rude as all get-out.

And unless society is prepared to curb its appetite for the star life, there’s only one way to curtail those that worry others to bring it to them; the individual has to establish boundaries of what he or she will or will not accept.

There has to be something inherently wrong when one person is allowed to stalk, harass and provoke another person and then profit from their enticing actions.  It cuts at the very core of our desire and right to privacy.  To argue that the privilege is negated simply because of celebrity is disingenuous especially in light of the recent outrage concerning NSA surveillance.

On the one hand, we’re concerned about government intrusions into our lives for the sake of national security yet we’re ready to allow that right to be routinely breached simply to satisfy our taste for the latest idol gossip.  We can’t have it both ways.  Somewhere along the lines, we’re going to have to realize that we can’t demand the end of one while allowing the other to continue.

What Jonah Hill is saying is true but there is another darker point of view, unfortunately.  More times than are good for us, history has shown that when ugliness is given a pass, it doesn’t get the message and only gets stronger as it sees our restraint as weakness, our discipline as cowardice.  And by the time we realize the extent our negotiation has betrayed our true resolve, it’s too late.

The same considerations given us all should also extend to those who make their living under the bright lights.  Every person is allowed the necessary freedom of finding solitude.  It’s why police have various waiting periods before instigating adult missing persons’ cases.  Face it: we all want to be alone sometimes.  Allowing another to customarily invade on that most personal of rights just can’t be correct, in the scheme of what and who we’re supposed to be. 


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Filed under Bullying & Bullying Prevention, Life and Society

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