Sunday, March 02, 2008

Crapparazi 'R Us



This weekend, Canada's very own Grey Lady decided to spice herself up a bit by runnning a huge spread on the so-called symbiotic relationship between Britney Spears and the wolverines with WiFi-equipped cameras that chase her down.

Of course, the piece in the Globe and Mail by Peter Cheney was justified as something more than pandering due to the inclusion of incisive analysis and hard-boiled reportage like the following:

"Williams scopes the scene. The value of whatever pictures he gets today will be reduced by the sheer number of photographers on hand - many will get the exact images that he does. There are dozens of photographers arrayed along the wall. Several more have taken up position on the balconies of a nearby apartment building, where tenants have charged up to $100 for access. It gets worse - a helicopter has arrived, circling overhead with two photographers hanging out the door like waist gunners.

Suddenly, Spears emerges from the back door, a small figure in a blue shirt and torn black fishnet stockings. Dozens of cameras fire at once, like an artillery fusillade. Spears darts behind a pillar and lights a cigarette. Each time she leans out, the cameras fire again."

Which, it could be argued, was designed to help one conclude that these sleazy celebrity snipers are actually the new urban guerrillas who valiantly fight the ending media-wars that are emblematic of our hyper-linked digital age.

To which I can only reply.......

What a load of codswallop!

Because no matter how you slice it, these are people who don't know crap about crap who spend all their time generating crap for people who must have even more crap about other people who have never done anything in their entire lives except to act as crap conduits for a world already filled to bursting with craptacular crap.

Which, of course, begs the question - why don't the paparrazi ever chase down someone who has actually done something?

Well, apparently sometimes this does happen.


Today, Eleanor Wachtel interviewed the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk on CBC Radio One's 'Writers and Company'.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Pamuk's Nobel Prize lecture which he titled, 'My Father's Suitcase':

What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity's basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kind ...

Whenever I am confronted by such sentiments, and by the irrational, overstated language in which they are usually expressed, I know they touch on a darkness inside me. We have often witnessed peoples, societies and nations outside the Western world – and I can identify with them easily – succumbing to fears that sometimes lead them to commit stupidities, all because of their fears of humiliation and their sensitivities.

I also know that in the West – a world with which I can identify with the same ease – nations and peoples taking an excessive pride in their wealth, and in their having brought us the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and Modernism, have, from time to time, succumbed to a self-satisfaction that is almost as stupid.

What I heard today was a wide-ranging, rivetting conversation between Wachtel and Pamuk, and at its conclusion I felt that I had really come to know something intimate about a man whose art has done much to inspire people both in his native land and in the West to understand the concept of Turkish 'melancholy' and all it entails.

I also learned that in the five years in the run-up to his receipt of the Nobel prize for literature, Mr. Pamuk was increasingly stalked by the hard-right Turkish paparrazi as the hype built.

And even there, in the end, it all came down to crap.


Because, according to Pamuk, all they really wanted was to catch him hanging out in cafe's drinking things like diet-Coke so that they could then crucify him for pandering to the decadent West and the Nobel nominating committee.

Thus, he went on to say, one of the most important things that has happened since he won the prize is that these people now leave him alone so that he can get back to work

Which is important, because Mr Pamuk's body of work so far is most definitely NOT crap.

Instead, I would argue, it is a thing of real beauty.

Which means it is of a kind that an entire batallion of digi-cams, no matter how high-powered, will never capture or kill.


Please note: A Real Audio file of the interview between Wachtel and Pamuk should be up here soon.


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