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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

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I thought Stewie Griffin killed Matthew Maconawhatever.

Mike, Matthew Mcfruhfruffey is a well-known actor (at least outside Wisconsin) who is somewhere down the middle of the acting capabilities scale. This scene you reported brought to mind a scene from the film "Point Break" where a bunch of surfers (played by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) attack the lead character (played by Keanu Reeves) on the beach. So, Keanu Reeves is this well-known actor...oh forget it, it doesn't matter. I'll just say that I don't feel all that sorry for the paparazzo.

McConaughey has a laid-back attitude (e.g. playing bongos while naked) that might garner some support from the surfer crowd. He is more popular than average, I'd say.

Hard to support paparazzi in general, given some of their techniques. Sounds like this situation was escalated by both parties and is less about photo rights than people simply refusing to back down.

On the other hand, the paparazzi could, in the future, hire their own surfer-enforcers before they enter the dangerous Malibu beaches.

I looks to me like the photographer threw the first punch. With his tripod. Up until then it looked like the surfers were harassing the paparazzi who were harassing the celebrities.

Matthew McConaughey? He was the sexiest man alive a few times, I think (the entertainment magazine people haven't discovered me yet, after all). He has chiseled arms and has starred in a number of forgettable movies. In some circles those qualities make one something of a hero.

Nobody beats up the 13 year old girl buying US Weekly, just the photographer that's working for her.

Violence against photographers is at an all time high, all because of prepubescent pimple poppers who hate their lives so much they will do anything to live through another. Ever since we (photographers) killed Diana, the public somehow wants to put distance between the smut it consumes and the way said smut is gathered.

Everyone wants to eat steak, but no one wants to butcher the cow.

My favorite is when Entertainment Tonight talks about "aggressive paparrazzi" stalking celebrities, showing video of stars pulling into parking lots and getting mauled by the press corps. Does the public not understand that the lensmen they are programmed to revile are actually providing them the nutrition they need to live their boring lives?

When I go to the grocery store today I'm gonna beat up a soccer mom buying People Magazine, that should solve the problem.

"Yr. humbl. bottlewasher and chief factotum has to admit that he has no idea who Matthew McConaughey is."
I had no idea either Mike but Wikipedia soon told me why - just not the sort of films I watch. He's not all bad though as he seems to be kind to animals.

Cheers, Robin

Won't call him a 'generic' celebrity, which would put a very good actor in the same category as London Hotel or the untalented daughter of a much more talented songwriter.
If, OTOH, Brad Pitt and George Clooney are generic celebs for you ...

Matthew McConaughey is a very handsome, but a bit bland actor, best known for having the privilege of kissing Jenna Elfman in "Ed TV".

Mike,

maybe I am getting wrong something, but as I understand you don't know McConaughey, as neither I do.

So, why did you post this? *confused*

best always
Andreas

MJ: "I'm assuming he's just a generic celebrity and not in some unique sense deserving of special protection from surfers...in other words I could be misinterpreting this story. Correct me if I'm missing something."

No, that about sums it up. Within the range of contemporary "movie stars" he's actually been around a while and has a bit more talent than most of his peers. But his real appeal is to the young girls; he has quite a buff physique and thick, wavy hair. Get it?

He's a pretty legit movie star -- not one of the huge ones, but he's made some OK romantic comedies...

I don't have much sympathy for paps, I have to say. Some celebrities encourage them -- the ones who are well-known for being well-known, without any other particular accomplishments -- but otherwise, they tend to be aggressive nuisances, sort of like the "nature photographers" who go to bird sanctuaries and throw rocks at the birds to get good reaction shots...

JC

Sounds Irish. Could he have been that priest that poured pig blood over some Pentagon records several years ago?

Good for the surfers! Fewer mindless rags at the checkout line.

Even as a photographer I'm not so sure I'm upset by this. Sure there are no excuses for damaging peoples property but at some point everyboby should be entitled to some sort of private life, some sort of privacy. These guys hide under towels and from inside vans waiting for the "celebrity" to trip up just to feed our desire to pull everyone around us down to our "level". The paps have given the rest of our profession a bad name due to the way they act. I'll bet whatever you like this guy didn't introduce himself, let MM (too hard to spell) know he was there and respect MM as a person and fellow human.

These guys just need to respect other people and stop hiding in the shadows. If they asked to take a couple of shots and then left there'd be no problems. Maybe this guy would still have a camera.

Now I'm all for freedom of the press and freedom of speech etc (no bill of rights for us Aussies), but celebrity is not real news. It's just a money making exercise for the publishers of these rags at the expense of human beings.

Glad I'm not "famous"

Gordon

"So, why did you post this?"

I think it's at least mildly pertinent when a crowd attacks a photographer and throws his camera in the ocean. Whether he deserves it is an issue I didn't broach.

Mike J.

What kind of camera was thrown into the ocean?

(Now I feel compelled to note that this is an attempt at humor.)

...And what's its write speed while it's wet and salty?

Mike J.

Previous comments have missed the point.

I have no love of paparazzi, quite the opposite in fact. But, do you think that the kind of people to get into altercations like this are going make the differentiation between paparazzi and non-paparazzi photographers?

Maybe, maybe not, but I'm not so sure I'd want to be the one to find out myself.

That's why Mike posted this.

McConaughey is a University of Texas fan. There's enough reason to avoid his films.

(I kid! I kid.....sort of....)

I feel sorry for the camera

I still don't know who MM is, even after
reading Wiki and these posts....'n ya know....
I'm pretty certain I don't care.

Best wishes,

Wikipedia tells me that MM portrayed himself in the film titled "Paparazzi", apparently a revenge fantasy film where a celebrity hunts down and murders the photographers responsible for his wife's car accident.

Go figure.

If you watch the video, it's really hard to sympathize with the beach bums, even with all the pap's reputation. They at least are trying to earn a living, and only do it because there's a huge market for it.

Especially when one of the surfers shouts at the photographer "Get a real job", and when the photographer answers back "This IS a job, what do YOU do?", the answer is "I drink beer and party all the time". Few things enervate me more than spoiled brats, especially adult ones. And I'm only 28!

And the girl at the end, she surely deserved a good smack. I'm all up for not hitting women. Until they hit you first.

The whole paparazzi thing has really gotten poisonous. Back in about 1979 I used to do a lot of celebrity photography , and it was all pretty friendly. The funny thing was that I had no idea who was or was not a celebrity most of the time, but did really well by simply taking pictures of everybody who acted like they were expecting to have their picture taken, never had any problems, and even had running conversations with a lot of them.

Now, in NYC you are always at risk of accidentally photographing someone who turns out to be some sort of big deal somewhere and freaks out. A couple times a year there is a story about someone taking pictures of their girlfriend at a restaurant and getting beaten up by someone's bodyguard.

Stalker paparazzi are much worse in LA, but it's bad enough here that it creates the assumption that all photographers are jerks and some people act preemptively.

Of course it's not as bad as the general assumption that any photographer taking random photos of the sidewalk is a terrorist.

Mike,
Your view of surfers is somewhat generalised and perhaps a comment you yourself telling "us" not to make here.

But then again, I am only a Jpeg "shooter"...

Comical

Those Malibu boys should head up to Santa Cruz and drop in on The Lane or The Hook and learn how to be real bad asses.

I'd say that stuff is B-Grade on all fronts. Not a pro in the bunch.

Peter,
I have nothing against surfers (or JPEG shooters). We don't have very many surfers in Wisconsin. If anything annoys me, it's the apocryphal nationalistic legends that get propagated unthinkingly ad nauseam--one of which, in the U.S., concerns surfing culture. "Nationalism" in any country is really just a collection of myths and legends, a bunch of stories people tell themselves about themselves. I'm more interested in what the reality is.

Mike J.

Dear Folks,

Each of these threads creates its own little microcosm. It's like a tiny little culture with its own vox populi. Reading across many threads, it's easy to see that what a member says in one thread may be 'contradicted' by something they say in another. None of us are simply the total of our posts; we are certainly not properly represented by any single post.

Why am I writing this? So that the following is not mis-taken as ad hominem:

I don't think I have read a less civilized and more shameful collective "vox" in the year plus I've been here.

Civilized human beings do not organize nor approve of mobs enforcing their will and sensibilities on others. Whether by fist, gun, torch or lynch rope, they do not substitute mob rule for the law.

A small number of people were assaulted by a large number. The small number were most likely not breaking any law, and even if they were there are established instrumentalities for that (we call them "police").

Just because you don't like what someone is doing, you don't get to stop them by force, not unless you're a barbarian.

The repeated lesson of the civil and Constitutional rights cases of the 50s, 60s and 70s was that it takes no philosophical or moral commitment to defend the rights of people you agree with. Its only when you defend the rights of those who offend you that you show you really care about the principles and not just what benefits you personally.

Most of the posts here fail the barbarian test. They demonstrate no commitment to nor sympathy for the rights of the bemobbed.

I would like to think that's because the posters think these concerns are so obvious
they may be left without saying. They would be wrong in that (or else incidents like this one would not happen), but it would be a laudable sentiment.

I fear that what I would like is not, in fact, the case.


pax / Ctein

Ctein,

Let me continue to use the word "civilization" to describe that collection of behaviours that you write about. It does not surprise me (nor you, is my guess) that people forget what civilized behaviour is when it comes to getting what they want. As a sometime cynic, I would say that our culture (roughly North American but not stricly so) encourages this.

I think that the fundamental reason for this is that, for some reason, we thought that this "civilized" behaviour would just filter on down to the next generations, by some magical intellectual osmosis. I am pretty sure it doesn't work that way.

Those concepts have to be taught, and re-taught, to each new generation as it grows up. We need to do so in homes, in primary schools, in upper grades, and have to continue to do so throughout our adult lives. It is a constant struggle, not a commodity that we bought ourselves in 1968 that we can enjoy the benefits of forever after.

I believe that we (we meaning our culture generally) have simply stopped doing that teaching. It's hard work with no immediate feedback in money or fame, so it gets shoved aside. I don't think that there are many people left who believe that an educated citizenry is a common public good. I doubt that there are many people left who even worry about the common public good.

I think that we are collectively forgetting why we formed socities for ourselves.

Ctein, Robert R. , very to the point commentary. There used to be a thing called "common courtesy"; sadly not that common any more.

Bron

"I drink beer and party all the time."

The future of America ladies and gentlemen.

Ctein,

"Civilized human beings do not organize nor approve of mobs enforcing their will and sensibilities on others. Whether by fist, gun, torch or lynch rope, they do not substitute mob rule for the law.

A small number of people were assaulted by a large number. The small number were most likely not breaking any law, and even if they were there are established instrumentalities for that (we call them "police")."

And the smaller number of people were interfering with an individual and the larger mob came to the aid of that individual. Who were the "bullies". In fact probably both. While I firmly disagree with the amount of force used I am more replused by the notion that anyone would sit idly by because "it's not our problem". Additionally just because something is law does not make it right. Some of the great injustices of the world were done under the disguise of legality. What about MM's rights. When do those get respected? Regardless of the amount of moey that the pap industry generates maybe there is a need for change so that MM and others have the right to not be interfered with in public without their concent. What if it were you. What if you found your phones were being tapped? If MM has no reasonable right to privacy why should you, or I?

Gordon

Dear Gordon,

Not one word of what you said excuses violent mob behavior. That's barbarism, not nobility.

You've presented no evidence that MM's rights were being violated, that he was being 'interfered with' or that he was assaulted in any way. Even if you had, it does not condone the mob.

Regarding a 'reasonable' right to privacy, a private figure in a public space has a very limited right to privacy. A public figure has almost none. Movie stars, even Grade B ones, are considered public figures.

No one suggested 'sitting by because it's not our problem.' If you think the only two alternatives in the world are 'sitting by because it's not our problem' and 'taking the law into our own hands by force' you have not considered all the options, not even the obvious ones.

Your personal outrage does not excuse their bestial behavior.

Finally, do not bring me into it. You do not know what experiences I've had and how I've reacted to them. Do not presume to guess. You will only make yourself look unnecessarily foolish.

pax / Ctein


(P.S. Once I was debating someone about the death penalty (to which I am absolutely opposed). They were inconsiderate and ill-advised enough to trot out the classic, "You'd feel differently if you'd had a loved one of yours murdered!" I smiled as I informed them that (a) I had and (b) I didn't. Their considerable discomfort brought me considerable pleasure. I trust you appreciate the moral of the story.

For the record, I have had my phone tapped. How I dealt with it is none of your concern, beyond knowing that I did not descend into violent assault nor intimidation.)

Ctein:

"I don't think I have read a less civilized and more shameful collective "vox" in the year plus I've been here.

Civilized human beings do not organize nor approve of mobs enforcing their will and sensibilities on others. Whether by fist, gun, torch or lynch rope, they do not substitute mob rule for the law."

Oh, [expletive deleted]. Mobs have always enforced their will on others in civilized countries -- it's called culture, and what's being enforced is called manners.

One of the ugly breaks that took place in the US in the Sixties was the effort to replace all manners (some of which involved serious problems of racism or sexism and other forms of discrimination) with laws. Unfortunately, you can't legislate all behavior -- you can try, but what you eventually get is either laws that are so generally ignored that all respect for the law and the judiciary breaks down (Mexico or Colombia) or, if somebody actually tries to enforce the laws, fascism.

The perpetrators of the this surf-and-shoot event were the paps, who interfered with a guy who was just trying to catch a wave. The "mob," which didn't kill anybody or torch anything, was simply trying to enforce what some would call manners. This is the equivalent to the punch in the nose if somebody calls your wife a ****. (If somebody calls your wife a ****, try calling a cop and see what happens. They'll probably call you an ******* for bothering them. Besides, it's probably not illegal to call your wife a ****. Freedom of speech and all that. You can't even get them for inciting to riot, unless somebody riots; and as a judge once told me, having been incited to riot is no excuse for rioting. Therefore, if somebody calls your wife a ****, and you riot, guess who goes to jail? Nevertheless, IMHO, riots are occasionally necessary.)

My view is that there are both laws and manners, and we need both. Some manners must be overthrown by laws -- manners involving racism and other forms of discrimination. But other manners, which regulate common behaviors between humans, and make a reasonable life possible, and are not amenable to legislation, and need to be enforced by the culture. I might have thrown the camera in the ocean myself, and if it was a Canon, I might have tried to put a nice little Brett Favre spiral on it.

JC

Mike
May I then suggest that you create a photographic work around the topic
"apocryphal nationalistic legends".

and lets get back to photography

peter

JC,
Let me get this straight. A gang of young men confront, attack, and begin to beat a couple of strangers who have given them utterly no provocation whatsoever, and what you're suggesting is that what they're doing is enforcing GOOD MANNERS?!?

Are you aware that those actions are illegal and would result in the arrest of at least one or two of them if there were any policemen around? (And might anyway, just from the videotape?)

Are you suggesting that the gang of kids who spontaneously chased and beat an adult man to death with sticks in Milwaukee a few years ago were defending CULTURE?

I hope you're trying to be deliberately provocative. Your argument here is...um...EXTREMELY weak.

Mike J.

"and lets get back to photography"

Peter,
There's no need to "get back" to anything. When photographers are attacked in a public place for taking pictures, that story is pertinent to the mission of this website. Period.

Mike J.

Ctein,

With respect, at what point have I tried to excuse the mob's behavior? I stated that I thought that the level of reaction was unjustified.

Now this is changing the tone of the thread but.. Who is the one to make the decision that any person should have a lesser right to privacy than another, celebrity or not. MM has made the decision to be an actor. He may or may not also wish to be a "celebrity" and he may change that wish from time to time. It is not the choice of MM to be a target 24/7 (or maybe it is,,, who knows?) but somehow we are allowed to decide that because any person chooses a profession that exposes their face to many that all of a sudden they are public property, a lesser standard of human with less rights to privacy. Yes it's legal. Yes it's been going on for decades. Still doesn't make it right. How are we to know what effect it has on any other individual.

Now you may not want to get involved, but I thought about how MM may have felt. How I would feel if I were being hounded week after week. What if it were a friend of mine would I do something about it. Would I get involved. Absolutely! I wouldn't be throwing punches but I'd be involved.

A large part of humanity and how we treat each other has been based on empathy. Imagining ourselves in the shoes of another. I agree with you. The treatment of the photographers was unnaceptable. I, however beleive, that so is their behaviour.

As for looking foolish, my wife says I do it regularly, and with no help from any one else. But thanks for the offer.

Gordon

Mike J:

Of course I'm not defending kids who beat a guy to death with sticks; nor am I defending lynch mobs who hanged black men for speaking to white women, or judges who burned women for witchcraft. And I did put a little extra edge on my post.

But this wasn't a lynch mob, it was a hassle between some paps and some surfers, provoked by the paps. (Your "utterly no provocation" is somewhat off the mark -- this whole argument has revolved around the provocation by the paps.)

Generally, the behavior of the paps involve increasingly disruptive and sometimes frightening activities. I thought Princess Di was little more than a party girl, but I certainly didn't want her dead, and she is...I wasn't much interested in Mrs. Onassis, but I felt a little bad that she actually had to have a restraining order taken out against a photographer, to keep him from physically harassing her.

Face it, man. Paps are (some of) us, and a growing number of them are Bad People who usually stay within the far limits of the law, but certainly provoke violence, anger, and resentment -- who often *try* to provoke those reactions, for better pictures. Eventually, if this continues, it'll bring about the creation of laws that will make it even harder than it is now to shoot in public. And the surfers, who may be no philosophical or ethical gems themselves, were actually trying to protect one of their own from this other mob...

I'd rather have a once-a-year hassle between some paps and some surfers, which results in a camera thrown in the surf, than a California law that says you have to have a release from every person in the photo who is recognizable, some of which laws already exist in Western Europe...

I'll pretty much stick by my post.

JC

Dear Gordon,

Remarks like "Who were the "bullies". In fact probably both." indeed do excuse the behavior of the mob. They invent a moral equivalency where none ought to be imagined.

The photographers, at the very worst, (and no one has presented evidence even for this) committed legal but ill-mannered harassment. The surfers committed criminal assault when they tried to intimidate, en masse. The moment the first surfer hit the videographer, it became criminal battery. This is not remotely an even field of misbehavior. Your remarks argue otherwise, and that, by any plausible reading, constitutes excuse.

Similarly mob intimidation, assault and battery are NOT the same as "getting involved;" they aren't even on the same continuum. Another false equality.

Truly, I don't care how much anyone empathizes with MM. The difference between brutishness and civilization is being able to distinguish how you feel from how you act.


pax / Ctein

Ctein,

It's clear you have your opinion and I have mine. That's a good thing as I enjoy hearing and learning from those with a different voice. This is my last post on this topic. zNot because I don't enjoy debate, and not because I can't hold my own but because I've made my view clear, you don't agree and I'm happy with that. I would like to finish with a couple of comments.

1. I have said nothing as to whether the paps and surfers have the same level of moral fault just that they both some responsibility for the events that took place. If the paps were so confident as to their moral legitemacy why hide behind trees, in cars and under towels. Stand in the open and take the shot like real journalists do. The actions of the surfers were far more extreme than the paps and I too beleive criminal charges may be in order but that does not in itself justify the actions of the paps in the first place.

2. I do not believe that just because something is law means it is moral or necessarily right.

3. If the paps had not been harassing MM there would never have been this outcome. So the paps do have some responsibility for the outcome. No they don't deserve too be beaten.

4. I'm tired, I'm hungry. I'm off to make dinner.

Gordon

"If the paps were so confident as to their moral legitemacy why hide behind trees, in cars and under towels. Stand in the open and take the shot like real journalists do.

Spend five minutes watching TMZ- they are quite out in the open feet away from celebs. Climbing the tree helps them see over walls and peer into private homes, yards, parties, etc.

I think it's completely unfair that they are able to harrass, stalk and hound people just because they are "famous." There has got to be a way to find a better balance between their freedom of speech and the celebs right to privacy.

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