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Saturday, October 20, 2007

We have seen the enemy and it is us

I can't believe it's the 20th already and this is my first October blog. Like I said in my last entry, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I have managed to see a few shows, but they all either fell into the category of being closing night or one-night-only performances (and what good is recommending a show after it's too late for you to see it?), or, as I alluded to in my last entry, just not very good.
I am still wrestling with what to do about making recommendations of shows that I have not seen yet, because, as I have seen a few times over the last few months, a good director, talented cast members, and great script do not necessarily a great show make. Often in theatre classes, we are told that the director is the person primarily responsible for the vision and direction of the show. In practice, that is not always the case.
There's a show running right now that I really want to try to see tonight, and, if I make that (there's no guarantee), and it's worth writing about here (the buzz is pretty darn good), I will do just that tonight or tomorrow morning.
Today's blog, however, is inspired by the paparazzo with the flattened foot. It appears that Britney Spears ran over the foot of one of the paparazzi Thursday afternoon. Now this story came to my attention because it actually made the television news here in Denver! There's only 30 minutes for news, including commercials, but we certainly can't go one night without hearing about what Britney Spears did today, can we?
Well, normally this info would go into the "I-don't-give-a-flying-frick" category, but I overheard someone talking about the story in the supermarket check-out line yesterday, commenting on how the paparazzo "got what he deserved," and "they're all just a bunch of low-lifes," etc. Then this individual went into a tirade about how Spears was "just a trashy little tramp with no talent, anyway." The irony of these observations were punctuated by the copy of US magazine in the opinion-giver's grocery basket.
Hey, I do not hold the paparazzi in any great esteem, but, let's not kid ourselves, nobody puts their foot in harm's way to take a picture unless that picture has some value to somebody.
I don't think much of Miss Spears as a talent, either, but she won't go away unless we all let her.
As long as copies of US, People, and those other rags fly off the shelves whenever there are new unflattering photos of Spears, she's going to have a bunch of tools with cameras running around her car, and Adele Arakawa is going to have to tell us about it when the Britster backs over one of them.
Nobody is giving us anything that we aren't asking for, at least collectively. It may primarily be morbid curiosity that will sell Britney Spears's new album, but a sale is a sale, and if her album is selling, she's going to stick around.
So, if you don't like Britney Spears, don't buy her album. If you don't like the paparazzi, stop buying the magazines that contain their photographs.
Recently, when Daniel Radcliffe (of the Harry Potter films) was performing in Equus in the West End, he came up with a solution to the paparazzi problem at the stage door. Every night after the show, he would walk out wearing the same hat, the same shirt, and the same jacket. The paparazzi found that they could not sell anything beyond the first few night's worth of pictures, because they all looked the same. Eventually, the paparazzi stopped meeting young Mr. Radcliffe at the stage door. So, there you have it. If the paparazzi can't sell their photos, they will go away.
Think Britney Spears is a talentless hack? Then just look away. If MTV wants to put her on the VMAs again, don't watch. If enough people follow your lead, MTV will not make that mistake again. (Maybe we can even get them to start playing music videos again!)
Some people like to get into a big "chicken or the egg" debate about whether the media gives us what we want or tells us what we want, but, for me, there's no debate. I'm not a chicken or an egg, thank you very much. I think for myself, and I consume what I want to consume.
The media is not to blame for what's on T.V., what's on at the movies, what's playing on the radio, or what's on the newsstands. We are.
I read a brief letter to the editor the other day from a woman who was complaining about the fact that the Disney Channel kept making shows about witches, and how she, as a Christian mother, was finding it difficult to locate appropriate shows for her children.
Now, hold the phone, many of you out there may be bracing yourselves for a tirade from me about witches vs. the Christian church, but that's not where I'm headed.
The fact is, this woman had an opinion, and she took the time to make sure it was heard. She took a stand, and whether I agree with her or not, I have to admire the fact that she's sticking up for her principles.
What did you do for your principles today?

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