Inquiring minds wants to know: what's Sarah Jessica Parker reading???
Here’s one of the weirder things about, for lack of a better term, celebrity culture (this is more platitudinous observation than real criticism, so thanks for bearing with me): There’s an industry that exists–and thrives–by catering to/manufacturing a popular appetite to know everything about the private lives of celebrities. We want to know what they eat, where they eat, where they shop, what they buy, who they sleep with, what their kids are like, who they’re cheating with, what kind of toilet paper they use, etc. They’re constantly stalked, thus they’re never not performing. Shakespeare’s famous adage about the world being a stage was never so true.
On the other hand, it’s hard to sympathize with celebrities when they know that this is what they’re signing up for. And mostly I don’t, except when I see paparazzi pics of celebs with their kids. I cannot fathom what it must be like for their kids to grow up in an environment where being stalked is a fact of life. As a parent, the idea of having to foster paranoia in my children—not just healthy skepticism but pure paranoia–is among the most bizarre and disturbing things to contemplate.
And yet, it’s always intriguing to me when famous people flip the scrip and use their celebrity in interesting ways. Say what you will about George Clooney‘s annoying do-goodery, he still managed to get millions of people’s attention focused on Sudan for a little while. And apres Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt was able to shine a light on poverty in New Orleans and cutting-edge sustainable architecture. And then there was Joaquin Phoenix‘s year-long performance art project that resulted in I’m Still Here.
Which leads me to this. It’s nice when celebrities—conscious that people are always watching them—use their status as camera magnets to shine a light on something good in subtle ways. So thank you, Sarah Jessica Parker, for deciding to leave your house while holding a copy of Melville House‘s Is Journalism Worth Dying For? by Anna Politkovskaya. Sure you could’ve put the book in your hand bag before you walked out your door. But instead you walked down the steps of your apartment with the book cover out and clear, giving the paparazzi–and the rest of the world–a glimpse of what’s on your reading list while drawing attention to a great journalist. Much appreciated.