“but now everyone’s got a camera… so you can’t live a normal life anymore”: celebrity, cameras, hot harry, li.lo, and james bond

hey, ya’ll, let’s chat about NAKED PICTURES. by which i mean naked pictures specifically of hot harry.

btw, that cover = WOW.

but back to the naked pictures. you’ve seen them, yeah? or you’ve heard about them, right? it’s kind of hard not to. (at least if you live in america.)

i’d like to establish that no two sets of naked pictures are the same. the naked pictures of the duchess of cambridge that appeared a few weeks later were taken by paparazzi. the harry pics were taken by someone whom he had invited to his hotel room.

the difference being outside a home versus in it.

it’s not that i’ve no sympathy for the DOC, it just that difference is pretty big.

harry invited someone to his hotel for strip billiards (god love him for teaching us that game) and that person took his picture whilst there and later sold it for, presumably, lots ‘o dough.

in one sense, this is nothing new. it’s the stuff of gossip girl. 

in the last 10 years, ordinary people “just like us” have acquired a whole host of technologies with which we can violate the privacy of our famous, our friends and ourselves. huzzah! and uh oh.

when a person becomes famous, it’s a given that he/she cedes a certain zone of privacy to the press and, usually he/she has some degree of control over how large a zone that is and how much information he/she gives away.

a good motto to live by is this: smart people share very little, silly people reveal all.

but if everyone around you has a phone and can take photos and videos and sell them to tabloids, do you see what that would mean if you’re prince harry? that you would get to have fun maybe NEVER.

which is sad.

it has real life applications too. check it:

There is the life we are leading and the life that’s being lead through our phones. I’ve noticed a difference in how people are getting their real life out to their cyber life. It used to be that when you were out in a group people were taking obvious, posed pics, which you knew would be uploaded to Facebook and tagged the moment they got home. Now, I’ll be out with people and at some point I’ll go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, I’ll pull out you know who to check on any new alert action and then I’ll see that the people I’m out with have already chronicled our night.

so, if everyone around you has a phone and can take photos and videos and post them anywhere, do you see what that would mean if you’re you? that you would have no control over your image. your privacy is, essentially, that of a celeb, albeit on the smallest possible scale and before an audience of “friends.”

or maybe not.

here in chicago, there’s a whole facebook page devoted to people being illicitly photographed on the CTA. which is a horrible privacy violation, but because it’s happening to normal people (ie. minorities, the obese, the homeless, the poor), it’s funny, even benign. it’s when the privacy of a famous person is violated that we see how this plays out on a grander scale.

from the vantage of celebrity scandals, it doesn’t matter much what harry did in vegas. when the heir to the throne was overheard telling his mistress he wanted to be her tampon, pretty much everything that follows is tame. but what has surprised me is the lack of discussion about how our phones are reducing the celebrity’s zone of privacy and, by extension, our own.

that’s a discussion that needs to be happening.

it’s a discussion maybe not helped by the fact that my girl li.lo is the one having it…


lindsay lohan recently had a smackdown with a congressional aide in her NY hotel room. (did you hear about this? ridic.) the guy took pictures and videos of her with his cell. she tried to take his phone away. he may or may not have tried to strangle her when she did.

this story is bizarre and, consequently, merely refocused attention on the ongoing plotline of the lifetime movie li.lo is a crackhead loon. but the issue at hand here truly is a big effing deal. li.lo’s PR flack’s take: “We’re living in a time where everyone walks around with a camera and that creates issues for people who are famous.”

no, dude. it actually creates issues for everyone. and the nature of what fame looks like, what it feels like to be famous and how we as normal people present ourselves is changing because of it.

in this month’s vanity fair, daniel james bond craig says pretty much the same thing as li.lo, but way more eloquently:

You talk to people in the movie business who have been doing this 40 years and they all say the difference is that, back in the day, you could go and have a drink in the bar, get drunk, fall over, have a good time, relax, whatever, and no one would know about it. But now everyone’s got a camera… So you can’t live a normal life anymore.

an interesting perspective that overlooks the fact that this maybe is the new normal. for us all.

(photographs via tatler;  unknown; CW; unknown; Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle / SF; twitter; liverpool echo

4 thoughts on ““but now everyone’s got a camera… so you can’t live a normal life anymore”: celebrity, cameras, hot harry, li.lo, and james bond

  1. One does wonder how much Charles’s own escapades have affected Harry’s and William’s senses of privacy or resignation to lack thereof. The sons seem to have taken opposite responses, Harry resigned and William indignant, on his wife’s behalf. I don’t think the DOC was very smart to go out topless, but I don’t agree that on a private 600-acre-odd estate, she can’t have expected some degree of privacy around the pool just outside the house. It’s a sad state of affairs, for all of us. What more edifying topics could we be discussing than Kate’s decision to go topless? Yet here we are.

  2. And further…I disagree with your “in your home” versus “outside your home” distinction. There’s much more to it than indoors vs. outdoors. I think Harry was considerably more foolish for baring all in a hotel roomful of strangers (or nearly strangers, as I doubt he imported them all from the UK, vetted by Scotland Yard/the Palace) in Vegas, of all places, than was Kate on holiday in a very private setting with her husband. Harry didn’t even have the good sense (or care, to refer to my prior comment) to insist that everyone check their phones at the door.

    I enjoy your blog and find your writing interesting; thank you.

    • thank you for the comment! and you make a really interesting point about their different reactions. i hadn’t considered that and i’m now curious as to whether that points to differences in temperament (which they obviously seem to have) or the fact that it happened to harry (thus, he was contrite) and it happened to william’s wife (thus, he was furious). maybe a little of both?

      i think the atlantic actually did a way better job than i did of expressing why i didn’t see the DOC pictures as that scandalous: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/pointless-shame-the-english-speaking-worlds-issue-with-womens-breasts/263585/. the crux: ‘what does it say about our culture that it’s plausibly a “nightmare” for a physically attractive 30-year-old woman to be seen topless at a private home with her husband?’ boobs shouldn’t be a ‘nightmare’. it’s kinda ridiculous that they are. so maybe this is less a privacy issue and more a cultural ridiculousness issue… i can’t help but wonder whether paparazzi pictures of naked prince william on that estate would have made the same splash. or if the DOC pictures would have received quite so much attention had the naked harry pics not broken first (gosh, we’ve really been privy to a summer of naked royals, haven’t we?!)

      and yet somehow the harry photographs, from the get-go, struck me as far more intrusive, which might just be a result of the fact that there have been prior scandals involving topless royal women, while there’s never been a vegas full front royal man scandal to my knowledge. so maybe it’s just by own prudery kicking in 🙂

      but i do think the zones of privacy are shifting and i’m intrigued to see what that means, for the celebrities who are starting to complain about it, and for us normal people.

      gosh, that was probably entirely too long an answer, but i’m still wrestling with this, so there you go! thanks for the food for thought and for reading.

      • Agree that breasts are far too fetishized (side topic: furor over public breastfeeding, the world’s second-oldest activity). I thought I read somewhere, will post if I can find it again, that Prince Charles had been caught on a balcony fully nude at some point years ago (in the 1970s, IIRC).

        I think the differences in reaction between Harry and William are a combination of their own temperaments and William’s desire to protect his wife. From what he know, he was his mother’s confidante at a young age (inappropriate IMO as a mother), couldn’t protect her, so is probably determined to protect his wife. Plus he is just a more serious person, it seems, well aware of the weight of his position. Harry knows he’s the “spare”, and like uncle “randy” Andy, is enjoying life. He works hard and he plays hard. The fact that he is highly visible, well, c’est la vie. It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, as they say.

        Interesting conversation; thank you.

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