Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Private Life of Celebrities

Maxim is not a magazine I frequently read, but I was given a copy recently and I opened it up today. Inside is an interview with Vannessa Minnillo who apparently is someone I’m supposed to know. What caught my attention in the interview was a question about privacy. Maxim asked Minnillo, “Do you miss your privacy?” To which she responded:

I don’t have a private life. People don’t realize how powerful the media is. It’s a beast. It’s there to build you up and take you down. It’s kind of bittersweet, you know. Like right now we’re doing an interview for a magazine that I love. You need to do press, but you don’t ask for it to take over your life. I understand that when I go to work, the paparazzi will be there. But I don’t understand why they need to be down my back when I go out of my apartment at midnight to get some ice cream. She went to Baskin Robbins and got two scoops of mint chocolate chip! Dunt dun duh!

That got me thinking, why not just hire your own press person and photographer to follow you around and document your entire life? You can then either post it all for free online for the newspapers and magazines to use or you might even be able to charge usage rights. By giving away all your privacy you get it back.

If all the information was out there for the public it would be hard for untrue stories to emerge. Anyone would be able to just log on and fact check. In theory, this would lead to fewer if any paparazzi following celebrities around because there would be no money to be made off the photos (remember, they’re all available for public and media use online).

Now the side effect of this might be that celebrities would get less coverage, which they claim they want. Problem is, attention is central to a celebrity’s success: The more of it they receive, the more of they are worth.

The flip side is that this information could be made available to the general public, allowing anyone to come along for the ride. Problem is, part of what makes celebrities such a hot topic is the exoticism. If everything was out there and easy to get to, it might make their life a lot less interesting. All of a sudden we’d realize that they have to go to the grocery store and wipe their kids ass instead of sitting around all day drinking Cristal.

So we’re back to square one.

Thanks to Noah for some thoughts.

October 15, 2006