Remember when being a cover girl was good thing? It was a beauty badge, earned when there was no ambiguity in the concept of "role model." Cover girls inspired dreams, fantasies and a whole line of cosmetics.
Then the tabloids came along and changed everything. Now, women on magazine covers - at least the magazines that greet you in every supermarket checkout line in the U.S. - probably would rather be anywhere else. Ditto for cover men. The covers are more like wanted posters than signs of praise.
One current cover focuses on movie stars' diet failures, illustrated with embarrassing swimsuit photos of celebulite. Practicing a more polite form of voyeurism are the slick-paper celebrity mags. (People who read People are the luckiest people in the world.)
It's a sign of our celebrity-fixated times that those who need to get a life would rather turn to movie stars to do it for them. We watch from afar, voyeuristically transfixed. But how quickly it can turn.
Maybe it's that celebrities make more on one payday than most of us will in a lifetime that produces a wreck-on-the-freeway fascination with watching them fall.
Being human is something that afflicts us all. Stars just have to do it in public. Privacy is the price they pay for those seven-figure contracts -although they probably didn't realize that's what they were signing up for.
The paparazzi brazenly upped the stakes for our celebrity fixation in recent weeks when Adam Sandler and company came to Wailea for several weeks of shooting on the new comedy "Just Go With It." Among the other things they trampled was Maui's long-standing practice of giving celebrities their space, and just leaving them alone.
Their target was the film's co-star, Jennifer Aniston. Since the tabloid universe pretty much revolves around Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Aniston's status as the first Mrs. Pitt is like a bull's-eye on her forehead, putting her in the cross hairs for the creeps with the bazooka-like lenses and attitudes to match.
Paparazzi claim that if people didn't want what they're selling, they'd have to get real jobs. And it is a little unnerving to realize what they do is just an extreme version of what actual entertainment journalists do - like distant cousins in the media world.
But that didn't prevent feelings of nausea when one of the Aniston stalkers, thinking he was submitting his invoice to his publisher, e-mailed it to The Maui News by mistake.
Invoice for Coverage / Updates of Jennifer Aniston on Maui; George Clooney on Kauai, 4/27 - 5/03/10.
Tuesday 4/27/10: Updates about Jennifer Aniston's on-set activities on "Just Go With It"; spa visits at her resort; off-resort property activities, possible real estate interest. $300
Wednesday 4/28/10: Updates about Jennifer Aniston's on-set activities; Followed up tips about possible off-resort visits to some bars and restaurants; spa visits at her resort; talked with several paps following her for additional information. Followed lead that Jen's publicist may own property on Maui. $150
Thursday 4/29/10: Updates about Jennifer Aniston's on-set activities; followed up on tip of her eating dinner at Spago and what she ate and/or drank; Mama's Fish House reservations then cancellation; talked with several paps following her. Attempted to reach Dan Patrick and Brooklyn Decker who is also in the film with Aniston. $300
Friday 4/30/10: Updates about Jennifer Aniston's on-set activities from extras and crew. More info about Nicole (co-star Nicole Kidman) and Jen. Diet on set. Pap contacts. $300
Saturday 5/01/10: Updates about Jen's weekend activities. Update on George Clooney on Kauai with girlfriend on and off set. Focused on their possible engagement. Listed all restaurants where Clooney & gf have been spotted; beach activities; overheard conversations. Primary Kauai pap contacted. $300
Sunday 5/02/10: Followed Clooney and girlfriend on Kauai focusing on engagement and Clooney's reported visit to a friend's wedding either in Los Angeles or South Africa. Called a dozen crew sources for confirmation or not. Primary Kauai pap contacted. Updates about Jennifer Aniston's weekend activities. $300
Monday 5/03/10: Updates about Jennifer Aniston's weekend activities but primary focus on George Clooney on Kauai with girlfriend. Followed engagement rumors and trip to Mainland or S.A. Confirmed that gf is still on Kauai. Talked to crew sources who are with Clooney most of day during filming. Confirmed that wedding was in California, which Clooney attended. $300
TOTAL DUE: $1,950
* Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org.