Jan 25, 2008

The Paparazzi Effect

So if the details around Heath Ledger's death prove to be true, we could be in for a serious re-examination of the Cult of the Celebrity.

Even the New York Times is reporting that the masseuse who found him was so afraid of ruining Ledger's reputation and creating a scandal that she called his girlfriend Mary-Kate Olsen several times before calling 911. And that Ms. Olsen's response was also to avoid 911 and all costs and to send over a private security flack.

Now it may just have been that neither woman thought he was in mortal danger. But if the spin on this story is that Heath Ledger died because celebrities are afraid to even seek emergency medical care because of the way the press swarms around them and amplifies their issues to unmanageable heights, then Ledger may wind up being seen as a martyr to the Cult of the Celebrity and the whole gossip industry may be called to task.

Or the spin could just be "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" and our sympathy for the travails of multimillionaire actors will last the proverbial 15 seconds.

Though my optimistic nature keeps thinking that something will free us from our obsession with anyone and everyone who's ever had a camera pointed at them.

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