Leave [EVERYONE] Alone, Right NOW!

Remember the days when the headline news was peppered with pictures of Britney Spears’ labia majora? It was right around the time when she was, ya know, “getting fat.” Sometime between the divorce from Kevin Federline and the buzzcut, there were a few months where Britney’s lady parts could be seen on television, in magazines, and, of course, all over the internet. She’d be climbing out of a limo, either doing her damndest to stay classy or drunk off her ass, when a paparazzo would snap a photo of her crotch.

In general, I have zero interest in celebrity gossip, unless, of course, it concerns whoever I’m obsessed with at the moment. That being said, Robert De Niro ain’t makin’ too many juicy headlines these days, and that will probably remain the case until he (a) gets another divorce, or (b) kicks the bucket. Therefore, when it comes to What’s Fucked Up In Hollywood THIS WEEK, my knowledge is limited to what people tell me (to which I typically respond, “That’s bullshit”), what I see on magazine covers while I’m waiting to pay for my groceries, and what I see on the “E!” channel while I’m searching for something halfway decent to watch. Despite my best efforts to remain out of the loop, I’ve still seen Britney’s Brazilian.

I’ve also seen the footage of the night she shaved her head. Paparazzi bastards were stalking the poor thing, even though it had already been all over the news that she wasn’t doing so well (ie: a whopping eight extra pounds and no panties). She drove up to some small hair salon, went inside, and shaved all her hair off. I don’t know if she was high at the time (duh), but if not, she was high on desperation and exhaustion. Oh, and UTTERLY UNHAPPY.

To tell you the truth, I would have done the same thing. I go crazy enough when someone I love and respect won’t leave me alone. Imagining how I would feel if strangers were photographing my every move and twisting my words and making me out to be some kind of basketcase and still demanding MORE…yeah, I’d shave my fuckin’ head. Of course, Britney must have been pretty psycho at that point to pick up the razor, but what made her psycho? As if her demanding career wasn’t enough (recording albums, filming music videos, performing live, appearing at the MTV Video Movie Awards, posing for the cover of People, BEING A MOTHER), pictures of her unsightly cellulite graced the cover ofevery damn gossip magazine in existence. It’s odd. Her celebrity status was destroying her, so They bombarded her even more. And yeah. We’ve now seen her genitalia because The Media Gods assumed that’s what we all needed.

My dad receives Rolling Stone every month, and Leonardo DiCaprio is on the cover of the latest issue. I picked the magazine up a few nights ago and flipped to the Leo story. At one point the otherwise low-key Leo says something like, “I had a lot of fun when I was young.” (The interviewer must have asked the obligatory question, “How much pussy did you get after Titanic?”) Leo then talks a little bit about his life after wrapping the James Cameron mega-hit, during which time he did a good amount of partying. While he insists he’s never been in to drugs, he does admit that he definitely had a grand ol’ time without giving any specific details. As I was reading, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I remember hearing about this in the media?” Granted I was 11 years old during the height of Leo’s pretty-boy days, but I do have a freakish memory for details, and if Leo had been getting in to trouble back in the late nineties, I would remember. Then Leo explained it to me right there in the interview: “This was before TMZ.”

There was a time when you could go an entire day without hearing any uninteresting stories about fuckin’ celebrities?

If you think about it, America’s fascination with every petty occurrence in the daily life of a celebrity is a relatively recent phenomenon. It would be naive of me to suggest that we haven’t always idolized movie stars/rock stars, but hey, our grandma’s didn’t grow up catching glimpses of Joan Crawford’s undercarriage. Back in the day you had to actually pick up a newspaper if you wanted to read about who Clark Gable was schtupping; now you can receive Brangelina updates on your iPhone. People has been around for years, I know, but I’m not talking about conventional entertainment shit. I’m talkin’ humiliating TMZ headlines. I’m talkin’ bullshit Perez Hilton stories. I’m talkin’ Demi Moore having over 2,000,000 followers on Twitter. She’s Demi Moore, for cryin’ out loud! What has she done recently that’s at all intriguing?

These people are followed around twenty-four-hours-a-day. The most unflattering pictures of their inner thighs are printed in millions of magazines. They’re criticized not just for what they wear to the Oscars, but also for what they wear to the supermarket. We love them. We hate them. We don’t even know them and yet they somehow owe us something…but what is it? What the fuck do we want from them? And why? How did the media come to assume that it is imperative for us consumers to know every single gritty detail?

Going back to the Rolling Stone interview with Leo, I must say I really enjoyed reading it. I never got the feeling that the interviewer was trying to make Leo in to something he may not be: there is no insistence that Leo is the next Brando, nor that he’s a total playboy. Furthermore, the article isn’t agonizingly long, and by the time I was finished reading, I was a bigger Leo supporter than I’d ever been. Why? First, I learned that Leo and I are crazy in similar ways: we both need to say out loud where our wallets, phones, etc. are located before going somewhere (he searches through his pockets, I rifle through my purse), and we both excel in making mountains out of mole holes. (According to the article, he has drawn on his past experiences with anxiety to enhance his performances. Très method.) I’ll also admit that the pictures of him throughout the article are rather easy on the eyes, and the combination of the way he looks in his jeans and his insistence that he wants to be married someday was enough to almost make me consider switching to Scorsese’s new muse. I also fell in love a little bit when the article revealed that unless Leo is training for a movie, he doesn’t spend much of his free time working out.

The article reminded me (and attempted to remind America) that Leonardo DiCaprio is a human being. It mentions his mildly obsessive compulsive habitswithout making him seem like he needs to be hospitalized. It mentions his achievements as an actor without making him out to be a tortured artist who just “Vants to be alone.” It’s a simple, well-written portrait of an artist (…As a Young Man…) that offers details about his movie career, and just enough about his personal life to make him sound like a likable guy. I got my fix of voyeurism without reading a list of every supermodel he’s taken to bed, and I’m now determined to finally see The Aviator. The article gave me hope that the good, old fashioned, consensual Q&A [that ya have to pick up a magazine to read] isn’t dead, and that not every young, good-looking person in Hollywood is destined to be destroyed by fame. It’s all I ever wanted from a celebrity news piece — to learn a little bit more about the person’s career, and feel a small connection via The Human Condition.

And, despite my attraction to the featured star, the absence of crotch shots was fantastic.

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