Tuesday, July 02, 2013

About the Paparazzi and Fresh Prey (Day 2 - UBC July 2013)

Thumbnail for version as of 21:19, 11 April 2005
Statue of a paparazzo at Bratislava in Slovakia,
Photo by Benmil222
I first came across the word, paparazzi, at the time of Princess Diana’s death in 1987. That was when the television news media reported the story of how vicious paparazzi, hungry for a scoop and itching to drop the princess into the hottest soup she had ever found herself in, all in the name of a good saleable photo op, tormented Princess Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, and chased them to their deaths in a high-octane car chase in Paris, France.

In the days that followed, we also heard about how Diana had been hounded by the paparazzi ever since she became the Princess of Wales, how her every public moment was click-clicked, commented upon, written about, chewed, masticated and swallowed, all for the delight and pleasure of the reader-viewer-consumer.

What a life she must have led! What must it have been like to never be afforded a moment’s privacy, to always labour under the risk of having people sneak into your life in order to capture images of you at your most vulnerable state. I remember thinking then what a sad thing it was to be rich, and how sadder it was if you were royalty.

Paparazzi earned a bad name then. Subsequently some nations sort to make some sense of the mess in order to ensure that people, especially the rich and the famous, could have the right to live their own lives, without having cretins with cameras creeping into their lives.

Incidentally, the word paparazzi evolved from the name of a character in a film, La Dolce Vita, directed by Italian director Federico Fellini. The film’s lead character, Paparazzo, was a news photographer. Apparently, Fellini named the character after the word for mosquito in an Italian dialect. Fellini told Time magazine that the name Paparazzo brought a buzzing insect to his mind.

And that is exactly what the paparazzo has come to signify -- a mosquito that might hover around one constantly, an annoying insect that would dart around, waiting to strike and inflict damage.

Over time, the word entered the English language as a term for intrusive and pesky photographers that have no respect for anybody’s privacy or personal space.

I was reminded of the term again this morning. I read somewhere that Catherine Middleton is all set to give birth to her first child, sometime around July 11, the expected due date.

By this time, I expect, the respected members of the paparazzi have already come in early in order to secure squatting rights to the pavement outside the hospital or the palace.

Having the paparazzi wait to welcome the child into the world is certainly an omen of the kind of life that will be his or hers. The child’s grandparents, particularly on the paternal side, have suffered much at the hands of these pesky mosquitoes. Daddy’s younger brother has, in recent times, made some pretty colourful fodder out of his own life. The expectant mother has also had her own brush with the nuisance.

Being royal has its perks, but the colour purple can play spoilsport when it comes to enjoying the simpler pleasures of life.

I hope the little baby has a stab at a happy childhood, one involving Teletubbies and cartoon films, and goofing off at the park, and playing in the mud, and bedtime stories and mom and dad tucking the little one in for the night.

If only the paparazzi would lay off the little one and go chasing after reality TV aspirants!


  1. Fame has it's price, doesn't it? Which is why I sometimes wonder why people try so hard to get famous! I hope the little kid is left alone.

  2. You just voiced my thoughts Cynthia. I was speaking to a friend the other day, what kind of a life will the baby have? Would the child have to grow up before living its childhood completely? Wouldn't that be unfair.

  3. Shame on all of us for creating a market for the paparazzi. Why are folks so obsessed with the lives of folks they don't even know?

  4. that's the sad state of affairs... of all this hullabaloo that the paparazzi have managed to create, i admire the way the Bacchans have managed to keep the junior B totally out of the public glare.

  5. Wow Cynthia I had no idea! Such a nice piece of trivia. And of course Diana's death brought to surface the menace which unfortunately has only gotten worse.

    All the best sweetie for UBC :D


  6. And that is also the reason why so many stories of the the so called popular faces get lost in doom because their lives are scrutinized at each level that they forget to live their lives they want to. Sad, really.

  7. Fame comes at a price, a high price. Paparazzi are out to make the most by photographing the rich and famous and royal and encashing on them but forget that they too are mortals who want to live a life of their own. NIce post Cynthia.

  8. :-/
    I hope they leave the little baby alone!!
    Fame certainly has a price!!
    And I didn't know how the term Paparazzi came into being. Thank you for that piece of info :)

  9. So that is where 'paparazzi' comes from. How very apt!
    I do hope too that the child gets to lead as normal a life possible under the circumstances.

  10. With Princess Diana's death we all learned how intrusive the paparazzi are. I feel bad for that baby having to be thrust under the paparazzi's microscope. That is not a great fate for anyone.


  11. True, Corinne, fame exacts a heavy price. The trouble is that it comes in bearing gifts of wealth and recognition, and we all want those so badly, we fail to realise that there could be any downsides to it.

  12. I agree, Bhavya. What a pity it would be otherwise. Ordinary children outside might envy the little baby. What an irony if the little baby grows up to envy ordinary kids outside!

  13. Hi, Denise, you're right. We are to blame for every single occasion when we've picked up one of those rags to know the tiniest details of the lives of the rich and famous. For every time that desire to know about others comes to us, we should image a paparazzo hanging on to our window sill and peering into our homes.

  14. hi, the little princess, there is so much money riding on the photos that these guys manage to shoot that they go to desperate means to get more photos.
    I agree, the Bachchans seem to have managed to look after their little one against paparazzi intrusion.

  15. Richa, the menace is indeed worse. So much better to be ordinary.
    Wish you luck too for the UBC. :D

  16. Kajal, I agree. Life would be as traumatic for us if we were to face such media intrusion.
    It must be painful to live life with the constant fear of someone watching.

  17. That's right, Kalpana, for the paparazzi, the lives of the rich and famous are just their means to quick fame and riches. Thank you.

  18. Thank you, Pixie, I hope the baby grows up like an ordinary child.

  19. Hi, Shail, perfect, isn't it? The origin of the word. That's exactly what they are, annoying pests that won't stay away.

  20. True, Kathy, it is better to be ordinary, non-royal beings and enjoy the simple joys of life.

  21. Ohhh the infamous Paparazzi!! what can one say about them...they do that because there are people who kill to read what the scoops they bring in.. it is all about numbers I guess...

  22. That puts the blame squarely on our shoulders, doesn't it? SuKu, I say lets lob the blame right back at them. If they didn't give it to us, we wouldn't want to see it. I speak for the general populace here. :)



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