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  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

Paparazzi

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
Britney Spears' troubles with the paparazzi are nothing but pap on pap. What's the charge if a bodyguard shoots a photog in the leg with a BB gun? Assault with a puny weapon? Photographer Brad Diaz was taken to the hospital and released a few hours later. He was probably driven there by a smirky lawyer who seeks an early retirement, at Britney's expense.

Then there's Reese Witherspoon who was chased by the paparazzi from her gym to her house. She claimed to be "terrified" by a swarm of paps and photogs who surrounded her. No charges were filed.

On top of all that, there's the recent flap over Scarlett Johansson who "remained calm after a minor car accident while trying to duck paparazzi near Disneyland last week, according to a tape of the 911 call she made," as reported by the Ottawa Citizen. The tape was released by the California Highway Patrol after Johansson's publicist said the actress had hit a car while trying to elude four sport utility vehicles full of celebrity photographers who had followed her from her Hollywood home.

No one was hurt in the Aug. 18 accident. Johansson clipped the right side of a car carrying a woman and her two daughters.

"Hi, we've just gotten into an accident," the 20-year-old "Lost in Translation" star told the dispatcher. "... we have a bunch of paparazzi following us." Sure, blame it on them, ditzo.

Unlike Britney, Reese and Scarlett, however, paparazzi does not follow me about causing me to hit a car with a mother and her two daughters, get shot in the leg by one of my bodyguards, or chase me from the gym to my home. Perhaps that's because I am not a blonde. Perhaps it's because I've suffered something much more frightening than paparazzi.

I had mamarazzi.


Mamarazzi is having a mom who stoops so low as to read your diary, ask your boyfriends why they are calling, learn IM lingo so they can intercept your Ms, and follow you around ravaging your psyche with criticism, sucking the freedom section right out of your internal Self Respect, and do dry runs past your boyfriend's apartment to see if your car is there.

Of course I didn't call her mamarazzi to her face. What'm I, a masochist?

It may come as a surprise to readers, but there are worse things than being followed about by a bunch of rabid news hounds hoping to get pix of me standing there nekkid with Bill Clinton or, in my case, Abe Lincoln.

Mom would make a fortune in today's culture by selling my secrets to the National Enquirer, should the public's taste drop to an all time low and readers fervently lust for news about a neurotic writer.

These days, kids can report their parents for abuse, sue the pants off McDonald's on a your-coffee-scalded-my-crotch charge, and call the cops to report paparazzi, so why can't they do something to stop the mamarazzi?

Why not put the mamarazzi in a public zoo, like they just did in London. "Caged and barely clothed within a rocky enclosure, eight British men and women (three male and five female) monkeyed around Friday for an amused, bemused crowd behind a sign reading 'Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment'," reported the Chicago Tribune.

"The captives in the Human Zoo exhibit sunned themselves on a rock ledge, clad in bathing suits and pinned-on fig leaves. Some played with hula hoops, some waved a signboard informing visitors about the species' diet, habitat, worldwide distribution and threats," the Tribune continued.

Visitors stopped to point and laugh, and several children could be heard asking "why are there people in there?"

The London Zoo spokeswoman, Polly Wills, said, ""Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate." It also lets them "have a gawk at people."

Too bad the London Zoo doesn't push the envelope even further.

I'd be glad to donate mom.


Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand

"A Balloon In Cactus"
August 29, 2005 column
Email:
maggie@maggievanostrand.com
 
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