Possibly the one major boon and bane of living in the age of computers and technology is the death of the private life. Just about anyone’s life can be captured and broadcast for all to see with or without their permission. The age of the Paparazzi has begun and until someone does something to dampen our appetite for the lurid details of celebrity lifestyles, chances are things will only get worse.
The defining moment, the moment when privacy was no longer the right of every citizen, was the day Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, were killed in 1997 in a high-speed car crash while being followed by paparazzi in Paris, France. The fact that immediate legislation was not enacted globally to prevent hordes of paparazzi from following their celebrity targets in such a way as to endanger the lives of everyone around is a small indication of how powerful the photo agencies and gossip sites have become.
These days, it seems that there are few people who are not interested in celebrity. From news of Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan’s latest misadventures, or wanting to get all the inside scoop from the set of the latest movies, to wanting to watch random strangers compete for cash and prizes, technology gives fans unprecedented access into the lives of the people we are interested in. Ultimately, anyone who buys into the culture of celebrity in any way is responsible for Diana’s death… and the deaths that are sure to come in the future as a result of paparazzi frenzies.
I am of the opinion that anyone who buys a magazine that features candid shots of celebrities, watches an entertainment/gossip show on TV or watches any reality based television show is contributing to the problem. When you buy a magazine or watch an entertainment news show, you are in essence voting with your hard earned money… telling the major media outlets that any method employed by gossip journalists, photographers or videographers is ok. Even people who watch such reality tv as Survivor or Big Brother are in essence contributing to the problem, because they enable the fame whores who seek out fame through these shows as well as popularizing a show (that gets its money through selling advertising) that creates fame whores (or faux-lebrities as one wit has labeled them).
The only answer that I can see is if the US enacted legislation that made it illegal to capture the private moments of anyone without their consent. At the very least it would prevent situations that endanger the public such as what happened to Diana from ever happening again.
Some day common sense has to win out over common curiosity.