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Today in My History

2001:  Whatever Happened to Yvonne DeCarlo?
Irreconcilable Differences
2003:  Ravings of a Scattered Brain
2004:  L'Chaim
2005:  Feast of Famine

2006:  Peace in the Valley Again
2007:   I'm Reviewing the Situation

2008:  Not That There's Anything WRONG with That

Hello, Dolly

Books Read in 2008
Updated: 12/28
"The Black Echo" 


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9 January 2009

I hate that we are so hungry for gossip.   When I was growing up, I lived for the first of the month when the new issues of all the movie magazines came out, so I could read the latest about all the movie stars that I loved.   Now, of course, I realize how much fiction there was in all of those stories, how the studios manipulated the stories to cover up homosexuality, illicit affairs, and other negative things about the stars whose lives they shaped and whose scandals they covered up.

But I don't know that things were as bad then as they are now. 

The news of the tragic death of John Travolta's son trickled out slowly and for a time it appeared that the tragedy in the life of a beloved star might actually be handled tastefully.

Well, screw that.  It's now become a circus.  Did the Travoltas refuse treatment because they are Scientologists? (obviously confusing Scientology with Christian Science, though I am a fan of neither).   Did Travolta let his son lie there for hours before seeking attention, etc., etc., etc.  Each story more inflammatory than the next.  (I hasten to point out that the only way I know these things is that they have either been newsflashes which have interrupted regular programming, or parts of the regular news broadcasts that I watch.)

And the intrusion.  Cameras trained on his home ("We don't know where they are, but this is where they live and maybe they'll come here so we'll be waiting for them"), cameras capturing Travolta's plane setting down on his property (no wonder the man built an airort on his own land if this is what he has to face whenever he steps outside the "compound.").  The smirking about the Travoltas holding a private funeral rather than a public one.

You know, when you become a public figure, you expect that "publicity" is going to be involved, but whether you are a politician or a performer or whoever else in the public eye, that is your job.   You don't go into a job with the expectation that you give up every single bit of privacy, that you automatically give cameramen permission to photograph your every movement, that you automatically give newscasters permission to dissect every single act that you make.

Is it any wonder that starlets like Brittney Spears and Lindsay Lohan get so crazy.  You'd be crazy too if there were cameras outside your office, following you everywhere you go, sitting outside your house, reporters yelling at you whenever you appear in public.  It's ludicrous.  It's criminal.

Look at the circus surrounding the Obama girls going to their new school for the first time.  Those are little kids.  Can you imagine how scary it must be to be chased by cameras and reporters, each eager to catch that one unique piece that nobody else gets?

Even Sarah Palin. 

I am no fan of Sarah Palin, as should be plainly clear to anybody who has read this journal over the past year, but the kind of coverage she was given by the press was criminal.  Perhaps not so much criminal for her coverage, but the intrusion into her family's life, the speculation and judgement of things that the public had no right to judge was just not fair.

I don't suppose we are ever going to turn back the clock on this sort of thing.  If the death of Princess Diana didn't send out a warning to intrusive press nothing will.  But I long for the day when we don't hunger to know every single bit of information about every single person in public life.

What celebrities owe us, the public, is a good job.  They need to do their job well, make publicity appearances or give speeches or whatever is involved in their jobs.  They do not owe us the right to take pictures of them whenever they go to the supermarket or to the doctor, or to the beach.  They do not owe us the right to know the intimate details about every single moment in their lives.

And they most definitely do not owe us a front row seat to their grief when they have suffered a traumatic loss.  They do not deserve endless speculation by people who have none of the facts.  They deserve the time to grieve.  They deserve to be left alone.

But you can bet that the Travoltas aren't going to get that.

Having some familiarity with family tragedy, I can't imagine what it would have been like to try to go through all that we went through constantly followed by a wall of reporters and photographers, if all the TV stations were dissecting their deaths and speculating what we might have done to cause them.

I am truly sorry for the Travoltas' loss--and for the circus that it has caused....and will continue to cause. 


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Ending the night with a couple of games
of Free Cell.


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