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Foster talks media pressures facing Stewart, problem is everywhere

JodieFoster.jpgJodie Foster has been speaking out in defence of Kristen Stewart and the media attention she's been getting, oh and of course the media attention that Robert Pattinson has been getting too I'm sure. Not just them though, of all young actors and the pressures of the media that they face, and I agree with her.

Yet what she describes is a problem facing us all, not just famous people under the spotlight of the media, the problem is something that is seeping into our everyday lives and dare I say it, is aided in no small part by the faceless manner of the Internet.

First of all let's look at what Jodie Foster has been saying for she's been through the media wringer quite a bit in her life and she's struggled with all the pressures although, and she seems to acknowledge this too, these days it's much tougher.

I'm taking some relevant quotes from her entire response but I do urge you to read the entire piece she's written over at The Daily Beast found through Deadline, it's insightful and does get through to you, well if you have any sort of connection with other human beings that is.

Here are some of Jodie Foster's words:

"There's no guilt in acknowledging the human interest in public linens. It's as old as the hills. Lift up beautiful young people like gods and then pull them down to earth to gaze at their seams. See, they're just like us. But we seldom consider the childhoods we unknowingly destroy in the process...

...I have been an actress since I was 3 years old, 46 years to date. I have no memories of a childhood outside the public eye. I am told people look to me as a success story...

...The truth is, like some curious radioactive mutant, I have invented my own gothic survival tools. I have fashioned rules to control the glaring eyes. Maybe I've organized my career choices to allow myself (and the ones I truly love) maximum personal dignity. And, yes, I have neurotically adapted to the gladiator sport of celebrity culture, the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target. In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life. Sure, you'd have to lose your spontaneity in the elaborate architecture. You'd have to learn to submerge beneath the foul air and breathe through a straw. But at least you could stand up and say, I will not willfully participate in my own exploitation. Not anymore. If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost?

I've said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don't think I could survive it emotionally...Sarah Tobias would never have danced before her rapists in The Accused. Clarice would never have shared the awful screaming of the lambs to Dr. Lecter. Another actress might surely have taken my place, opened her soul to create those characters, surrendered her vulnerabilities. But would she have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?"

Damn I think she's a superb actress, a wonderful talent, she looks and sounds fantastic on screen to boot and I do believe she's a great role model, especially when she does something like this. Oh, and she's right.

The media are to blame but so are we, the media are writing about the private lives of people that really we have no business in looking into and that they have every right to reserve for themselves, for the people they really are. Oh I understand some of the argument if what the person is selling is themselves, like these reality stars, but that's not what actors and actresses are selling, it's their career, their characters, their performances.

However I think there's a bigger issue here and it's about how we treat other people, how we engage and connect with them and how we treat them as human beings, or not as the case may be. The people who are racing after celebrity culture and are buying the newspapers and magazines aren't thinking for a second about the humanity and right of these people to have private lives, they aren't considering the stress and pain the person behind the image could be feeling, instead they clamour to read about someone else's pain or trouble and revel in the act of bringing someone down without any of emotional comeback.

I'm not one to blame the Internet for everything, it's never the root cause but in this case I think there is something to it. We see this type of behaviour on the Internet all the time and I see it every day through the comments I receive on the site, through Facebook or Twitter, or on the online game I play, what some would call trolling I would just call a general lack of respect or humanity for other people.

It's caused by people not thinking of the focus of their verbal attack as being a human being, of having feelings like they do, and no thought of the morality of their comments or behaviour and so they treat others without an ounce of compassion or care. Without the emotional connection that a physical meeting has people feel free of their usual moral restrictions and can go to town. Whether it is buying a newspaper or magazine to pay to read about the personal life of a celebrity without a care and revelling in their pain or troubles true or not, or whether it is verbally abusing someone on-line through whatever medium, it's about people not considering the feelings of others.

The continued behaviour is seeping through our society and people are letting it. We heard about famous stories such as Tom Daley the diver being verbally abused on Twitter and we see it with the double standards people are applying to Kristen Stewart, people who are paying the media to provide them with stories peering into celebrities' private lives and exposing everything behind the characters they present through their day to day job.

The morality of behaviour is slipping away from people and the media is as guilty of doing it as anyone, they've done it far longer and to much greater degrees than anyone, but the public are paying for it, they're funding it and creating the demand for more. If people stopped paying for it would the media stop pushing for it?

The general tabloids both on and off the Internet will publish anything that gets them the headlines and the more personal and the more disaster filled or illegal the better, even if it doesn't happen to be true. In doing so they damage the professional image of the person and cause them to then issue public statements and behave differently to try and save their career.

That's a key point as well, all the emotional and personal side ignored celebrities have a career and a professional image to keep going in order to keep working, after all Hollywood is about image and even the slightest negative piece of press can affect the selling of a film to the public, perhaps that's why the Kristen Stewart and Snow White story came about.

Again though, no one thinks about the harm they're causing, they just leap in on the attack trying to make money out of the destruction of a celebrity they've spent time and money to build up.

Respect, understanding and perhaps a little compassion would go a long way. Treat people as you would face to face, as you would want them to treat you, and that should apply to celebrities as well. If you wouldn't want your personal life exposed in the papers or to be hit by spiteful and hateful comments then why would you do that to any other human being?




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Movable Type 3.34

Several tons of dynamite are set off in this picture, none of it under the right people.
- James Agee, critic, writing on The Tycoon