Saw a Close Up: Fame, Privacy and Criticism

I am a member of many different Duran Duran groups on Facebook.  For the most part, I just read the posts but rarely participate.  In fact, I probably have only posted to share an event that Rhonda and I were hosting, either online or in person.  Despite my lack of commenting, I still like to read to see what Duranies are talking about.  I’m a student of fandom and Duran fandom, in particular, after all.  In most cases, the topics fit into the usual categories of concert going, seeing a Duran reference somewhere, finding a cool clip on YouTube, and more.

This week, though, I saw some photos of John Taylor posted in a number of different Facebook groups.  These pictures featured a shirtless JT on a beach.  Perhaps, they were taken when they were in Miami.  I’m not sure.  Some groups posted one or two pics while others posted many.  Immediately following the photos came the comments, which were often numerous and critical.  I chose not to say anything but filed my reaction away in my brain for this little blog here.

The first thing I noticed about these photographs was that they were clearly not posed.  The photographer snapped the pictures as John walked around the beach, sat read a book or socializing with those near him.  I suspect that these photos were taken without John’s permission and, perhaps, without his knowledge.  Now, this argument I’m about to make is not a new one but one I can apply to many celebrities.  Does being a celebrity mean one’s privacy can and should be invaded so that their fans can see scenes from all aspects of one’s life?  Personally, I don’t think so.  I think John’s job is to perform on stage.  It isn’t to have pictures taken of him when he is away from the job.  Being a rock star doesn’t mean that he can’t have time off and away.

Now, I know that others say that one must accept things like having people take your picture whenever and wherever you show up when you are a celebrity.  The idea is that if someone wants to be famous, s/he must know that privacy is not an option anymore.  The argument would say that if John wanted to go swimming, he should have stuck to private pools.  I disagree.  I think that everyone, no matter the level of fame should have the right to some privacy.  I also feel like there can and should be a line between John’s (and any celebrity’s) job and personal life.

Then, if that was not enough, the comments I saw in response shocked me.  Many stated things like “John needs a gym” and “He really never had a body”.  The first thought that popped into my mind was, “I hope John doesn’t read these comments.”  Truly, these kind of statements are nothing but hurtful and mean.  Again, I suspect that people feel that John’s famous person status means that they can say whatever they think.  As a celebrity, he should expect that level of examination and criticism, right?  Wrong.  He along with the rest of the band should expect criticism about their albums, their videos, etc.  They do not deserve mean-spirited statements about their appearances.

I know that I wouldn’t want anyone to talk about me that way.  Why would I think I could talk about others that way?  I could point out that none of us are perfect, physically, and that John is 56 years old.  Honestly, I could only be so lucky to look a fraction as good when I am his age.  Heck, I won’t appear on a beach in a bathing suit anywhere so I admire the heck out of him being able to do so.

Now, I know that some will say that they didn’t mean anything by posting the pictures or by making the comments that were made.  I’m sure the fans will say that they still love him and all that.  Still, I have to say that the pictures and the comments made me uncomfortable.  Yes, some will say that John might not care but I did and I’m sure that other fans who saw those posts felt the same way.

-A

7 thoughts on “Saw a Close Up: Fame, Privacy and Criticism”

  1. I haven’t seen the pics, and have no interest in doing so but I couldn’t agree with you more, Amanda.

    Everyone has a right to their privacy, famous or not. And those who won’t give them that respect are the ones who don’t deserve anything but to be called out for the selfish and disrespectful-type people that they are. And, adding insulting comments on top of that?? Well, clearly they wrongly seem to feel that they have some right to insult others.

    Why are some people like this, especially towards a band they claim to love? Who knows.

    But, the band themselves addressed this very issue in the song ‘Be My Icon’ on their Medazzaland album, and they couldn’t have been any more accurate in doing so.

    A couple of telling lyrics:
    “I follow you, I wait for you
    You know there’s no escape from me…”
    …..
    “I write you letters and bring you gifts
    I’m going through all your trash
    I love you so much,
    I keep your cigarette butts”

    Apparently, the statement that we only hurt the ones we love is a truly accurate one especially when it comes to celebrity fanaticism, and the movie Misery was it at its most extreme, and disturbing.

  2. Living near many of the professional hockey players in our city, and seeing them in the neighborhood I would never dream of taking photos of them unaware. One of them is actually a neighbor of ours and I’ve heard/read nasty and snide comments made about him and his wife by people who don’t know them at all, comments that couldn’t be further from the truth.

  3. You guys went out and BOUGHT AND WORE SWEATPANTS TO MAKE A VIDEO THAT MADE FUN OF HIM!!!

    Saying ‘just joking’ doesn’t make it any better. You think he’d be okay with that if he saw it? Posed pictures or not, that still counts as a ‘mean statement on their appearance.’

    1. Let me see if I’m following. You really think that teasing John and Simon about their fashion choices in public is equal to someone taking pictures of John on a beach without his permission or people making fun of his body???? -A

        1. Okay. Fashion and one’s body does have to do with appearance. One has to do with choices and the other is who you are. I don’t think teasing one’s choices is the same as slamming someone’s physical body. If you do, fine. We will have to disagree. -A

          1. Your other point is that it would upset him to see those comments. Do you think he’d be fine with you guys going on and on about his pants and making a video about it?? I don’t think he’d care about either, but maybe you should be a little nicer.

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