Debate: Do Celebrities Deserve a Private Life?

Barillari_rino,_Mickey_Hargitay,_vatussa_vitta,_Via_venetoMA: Did you know that the ex-boyfriend of Taylor Swift, John Mayer, inspired her song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’? Guess what, Taylor Swift officially has a wiki where you can learn every single dirty detail about her life, except the colour of her underwear (what a shame!) I confess that I am one of those people who spend their time reading Hello! magazine. But deep inside, fellow gossipers, we know that this habit just satisfies our outrageous selfish side that feeds on the misery of others. It is an excuse to bow out from our own problems, the prison and chaos of our state of mind. Well, time to find new interests, because the private lives of celebrities should not be public. Their privacy should be protected.

NV: It’s a phenomenon in today’s generation that we have celebrities that are famous for being famous. Whilst it may sound counterintuitive, ‘reality’ stars such as the Kardashians clearly show the reality of these celebrities. Primarily, being famous used to be the consequence of someone, usually actors and sportsmen, being one of the best in their field. Recognition of one’s abilities should principally play a vital role in determining their fame. The Kardashians have not kick-started their fame through any discernible abilities. If you are not well-known for your work or your hobbies, then you have to be well-known for certain parts of your privacy, with Kim it started with socialising with Paris Hilton and a leaked sex tape. Whilst the leaking of her sex tape was not her own doing, she cashed that cow immediately with the creation of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which was in the making within half a year of the leak. She wanted fame and gave up her privacy, and the paparazzi will happily accomplish both for her. So if the privacy that she’s giving up is feeding paparazzi that keep her relevant, why does she deserve privacy?

MA: Privacy is defined as our ability to isolate ourselves or conceal information about ourselves from others. It is a recognised human right that should override the freedom of information. Indeed, we live in the era of freedom of speech, where the media opt for the daily education of the masses. However we should always bear in mind that the media is nothing but a market fulfilling and exploiting your hunger for knowledge. If the public seeks some Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart drama, the paparazzi will give it to them – even if that means publishing pictures of Kristen kissing a non-sparkly who is not a wolf, but a director instead. What interests the public is not necessarily in its best interest.

NV: Don’t forget that politicians are celebrities too. There may be a few Kims in politics too, but in politics the matter of privacy is a different game. Politicians have, albeit not always, grown to power and therefore public scrutiny through success in their field. A politician aims to be elected for his/her ability to change policy, as well as their actual opinion on what that policy should be.

MA: According to the opposition, privacy is the price you have to pay to become famous. But what happens when freedom of information overrides the indisputable right for security? Often, the paparazzi endanger the lives of celebrities while trying to the let the cat out of the bag. The media has gone further by putting the blame of the death of Princess Diana on freelance photographers. Conversely, celebrities may put the lives of paparazzi on the line. When overstepping inherent human rights, security is put second. Limitations have already been placed. However, the intrusive nature of the media is a threat to the freedom of the press and expression.

NV: Say Nigel Farage was heard discussing that there aren’t enough immigrants in the UK. It would set off alarm bells for those who voted for UKIP. Those voters would not stand for it. It is as important to them as it is to everyone else that the right person is representing their views. Now it’s fair to say that in order to have full knowledge of your representative their private life would give the most genuine insight. So, for the smooth functionality of a democracy it’s vital to scrutinize the politician’s mentality, and therefore some of their privacy should be given up in the process of becoming a representative. Douglas Hogg, who was the one of the most prominent figures in the expenses scandal of 2009, lost his reputation and consequently could not get re-elected – and quite rightly so. The scrutiny of his private life, which was necessary for a proper evaluation of him as a politician, has helped reveal his greedy and deceitful nature.

MA: What is entertainment is not necessarily news. These days, during the Internet age, nothing is forgotten. A celebrity’s private life can be severely hurt. For the sake of our humanitarian nature and for the sake of democracy, the private lives of celebrities should be respected. A balance, the golden mean, must be found. How would you react if you had a camera following you 24/7? The probable answer is not “smile and wave”. You would not settle with Britney Spears’ reaction of hitting a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella. You might even send that poor man to the hospital.

NV: The overarching idea here is that consent or acknowledgment is still important. Celebrities, especially those that are ‘famous for being famous’ know very well that some of their privacy will be invaded, however, there are obvious ways in which to avoid media attention. There are countless actors on the big screen. Not all of them end up in Hello!. The difference is their attitude. They want to be known for their art, and not for overly dramatic occurrences in their lives. Politicians also go in knowing that they hold a responsibility to people, and it must come as no surprise that their private lives will be scrutinized. If they know what they are getting themselves into, and they’d be foolish not to, then consent is present.