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The Hollywood Gossip

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Last Updated: 05 October 2020

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The Hollywood Gossip


Back in the winter of 2011, I was sitting in my tiny apartment in Austin, Texas, finishing my dissertation on the history of Celebrity Gossip. Starting all way back at the beginning of what we now know as Hollywood, I trace the evolution of how stars create, package, sell, and consume, from Mary Pickford through Britney Spears. But writing dissertation is dull, solitary, deeply unglamorous work, and when a producer email me to ask if I would be in a documentary about the business of Celebrity, I jump at the chance. They fly me to New York, film me at Sarah Lawrence to give me the aura of academic, and ask me questions about the past and present Celebrity. If youve never been part of a documentary, you likely dont realize just how many times talking heads get asked questions before landing on the answer the producer likes. Can you answer that again, but much more condensed? Can you say same thing, but with one word? I was deep in academia at the time, where answering one word, about anything, felt like blasphemy. But they keep asking me leading questions about the effect of Perez Hilton, and paparazzi, and TMZ: How have they made life hell for celebrities? Can you talk about how theyve ruined celebrities? My responses were just too long, they were too unemotional. I view the rise of digital paparazzi, and gossip blogs built alongside them, in less moralizing terms. This was simply the latest pendulum swing in century of oscillations in Celebrity power. At the end of the 2000s, celebrities had found themselves largely beholden to seemingly ever - growing swarms of paparazzi, forced to remain vigilant about how and when they appear in public, terrified that snippet of unflattering, unbecoming, or straight - up scandalous footage would make its way to TMZ. Which is why the producers of the documentary kept asking me the same questions. They want something closer to the thesis of their film: that Perez, and amateur paparazzi, and TMZ, and their voracious appetites for content they both spark and satiate, were ruining Celebrity. It wasnt until the film came out, year later, that I realized the reasoning for the thesis: film executive producer and director was Kevin Mazur, who spent decades photographing celebrities for Rolling Stone. Mazur considers himself a good guy in the industry: sort of guy celebrities trust, who they invite into their home, who never publishes photos that are unflattering or unsanctioned. Which is how he convinced Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and then - husband Marc Anthony, Elton John, Kid Rock, and Salma Hayek to participate in the film as well, describing paparazzi tactics, from general hounding on street to the use of helicopters to catch footage of Lopez and Anthony's backyard wedding ceremony.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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