Monday, February 25, 2013

Is It Creepy?

Just reading the title/prompt for this one back to myself makes me chuckle. As much at myself than anything.
Yes, I am going to "go there," because it has crossed my mind more than a few times now.
Original images by J.
 Is being an "uber fan," "nut," "devotee" of something a source of shame or pride? Generally I feel pride for it, like I somehow don a seal that sets me amongst a cohort or community. That part of it is really cool-the sense of belonging to something, the identity. But there's another angle for me; the sense that I wonder if I am straddling some ethical or moral fissure and could slip and fall into it at any moment.

Where do we get the sense of privilege or entitlement to intrude upon someone else's life? What makes it socially sanctioned to view the goings-on of a 'celebrity' as public domain? Would I want people finding photos of me as a child were I to suddenly become a public figure?Is it just the social contract that celebrity entails? Have I gassed-on about this before? Damn. Reset.

Oh wait....we no longer live in a world of privacy and boundaries.......shit. Go ahead, Google "baby pictures of Mum Nut" and see what terrifying results drop in the queue. Don't blame me for the ensuing horror. I bet there's that one of me in a dotted cowgirl dress and a plastic pistol floating about the ether somewhere. Bet there's a solid feminist/gun control meme that could result from that little nugget of my personal history....or not because I'm not famous. What a relief...?

Please to not misconstrue my tone-yes I am in an especially flippant mood today. It helps that a recent fellow music blogger Stephen Scott () brought the laughs (and the requisite cojones) to briefly banter about stumbling across tutorials on...shall we say 'creative and circuitous erotic practices' whilst searching for The Basics on itunes. Please to refer to said comedy as I am quite fond of the fellow:

Where the hell was I? Oh yes.......creepy.

Sometimes I see the way an image of a person or their history becomes fair game for 're-interpretation' or straight-out conjecture. Believe me, I am probably guilty of this in soooo many ways that clearly I can't even recall a particular offence. Oh wait I took the pics above and made a Wall-triplicate montage. There's one. Lock me up.
But I also feel it's's crucial to check oneself in that action/behavior/belief. Where do I get the sense that it is permissible for me to plumb the web for some juicy tidbit to slake my lust for...whatever? Where does that privilege generate, and what perpetuates it?

I suppose I ought to place a caveat into this particular cogitation: I am not seeking to confront any of my fellow fans/bloggers/thinkers/talkers on why we do what we do (because we all do it.) I am merely sharing how I consider it for myself. I adore the climate of open information and discourse...this is merely a small, singular aspect of it.

But what purpose does an image of an artist as an innocent, everyman youth do for us? Does it merely bring a smile and some brief wondering about the lived experience of the person? Is it insidiously voyeuristic? Is it harmlessly curious and playful? I'm just not sure. All I know is I have the same human reaction of possible irrational joy at witnessing it as anyone. What does that mean for me?

 I still don't know yet, but I am thinking about it. That's something, right?

To be continued.......I'm busy nerding-out about synthesizers with a musician now.....I never miss out on that.

C. Paige 2013


  1. Once again, Paige, a thoroughly thoughtful entry that touches upon my own conscious musings.

    Let’s focus upon the idea about a childhood photo—seemingly benign, pedestrian, perhaps even downright boring (even if cute) to anyone who isn’t the parent of the subject featured in the image (or grainy home-video).

    Yet, when “celebrity” lands upon the aforementioned child—now an adult, perhaps one who’s even forgotten about some silly photograph of her squatting on gravel while religiously tending to her father’s hubcaps with a soapy sponge (I confess—it’s me at age four!) or grinning shyly at a birthday cake while wearing a hand-me-down ThunderCats “muscle tee” (another confession—me at age seven!)—that tiny bit of nostalgia suddenly becomes fodder for public forums.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily the image itself or what is going on within the frame of the camera’s shot that entraps attentions so much. It’s more of a curiosity about the person that “child” turned out to be. Could there have been a window of opportunity for the fan to have known that person in the photograph before fame? For fans, admirers, aficionados—whoever and however you want to call them—of a particular person, there will always be this wistful longing to know that person. To touch-base. To make contact. To befriend. I don’t mean this in a stalkerish way, either, but, rather, in a very naturally-human way. The need to connect and to feel understood and to understand others is a compelling force, and we don’t always control it.

    In other words, a photograph from “bygone days” is a portal into pre-celebrity moments, a time when, perhaps, the fan may have had a chance to befriend this up-and-comer. A toothy-grinned child with disheveled hair and sans-haute couture or make-up is significantly more approachable than the alternative: the well-dressed, nicely-coifed adult with a hefty following and wallet. What is more, while a childhood snapshot may induce sounds of “awww,” or words of “how cute,” internally, the viewer marvels at the person that child turned into now and perhaps even wonders if it’s possible to already see genius, artistry, or madness (depending on the person in question) painted upon that individual even early in his or her life.

    Am I comfortable with personal photos floating through the internet and getting caught all-too-often in its sticky web? Instead of being quickly sucked dry, it seems regurgitated and spread around consistently, from greedy “spider to spider” (if we may be so bold as to dub the users of the World Wide Web). Not always. It really depends on the source rather than the photograph itself. As someone against invasion of privacy as a rule, I don’t believe anyone’s personal property should be released for free consumption for any reason, unless okayed by the owner and subject of the material.

    And yet, to be honest, most good-natured people (anyone worth admiring) wouldn’t really waste too much time dwelling upon a leaked photograph of him or her at age five the first day of kindergarten. Or even the horrendous high school yearbook photo. You know what? It’s a gift to fans, because it reminds these supporters that it’s not the image or the origin that necessarily makes someone “Famous.” Instead, everyone comes from the same sorts of humble beginnings—infancy and vulnerability—and must climb his or her way towards some goal, lofty or otherwise. One of the greatest gifts a “famous person” can share with admirers is his humility and humanness. Such a gift reminds others to continue pursuing their own dreams, to disregard their past or looks, and to focus on their future and internal strengths within.

  2. Thanks for grounding me! I appreciate your willingness to consider this with me, as someone with similar roles and perspectives. I love that you bring it back to a centered and healthy space. I agree with your ultimate sensation on it!

  3. Of course, I could just be trying to rationalize my own tendency to be interested in any snippet of information about someone. Maybe I'm a hoarder--of information! I do it with historical data, with authors' biographies, with quotations I love, with anything that snags my attention and makes me feel something within, motivating me to write or create. I suspect that most people express their "fandom" in healthy, respectful ways that may not always be regarded in such a way by those who don't "get" it.

    That being said, I'm happy to have company as we continue trying to sort the mindfulness from the madness!

  4. I have no idea what you are talking about. I only see him as a talented musician and nothing else. ;)