Price of Publicity

In other words publicity is public notice or attention. Many people dream of being famous. They admire different celebrities whose photographs are published on almost every page of many newspapers and magazines, who appear in numerous talk shows and act in different films. The mass media have created ‘the cult of celebrity’. Some actors, singers or musicians become famous not because they are very talented but because there are a lot of articles about them in the press and they constantly appear in reality TV shows. But fame doesn’t only mean expensive cars, luxurious houses, crazy parties and everybody’s admiration. There is also the other side of the coin. Sometimes people have to pay a high price for publicity.

A celebrity is a person whose private life is discussed by journalists, TV-viewers and newspaper and magazine readers. If you are a star you can forget about privacy as everybody will interfere in your life and pry into your affairs. The deepest secrets of your family may become public property. Paparazzi follow famous people around in order to take unflattering photographs of them in their most intimate moments making it impossible for them to have a private life. Newspapers and magazines publish unreliable information and spread rumours. I don’t think it’s easy to work and rest being constantly chased by journalists and photographers.

The life of a celebrity may be spoilt by fans who want to know everything about their favourite star and to be with him or her. Fans get celebrities’ telephone numbers, wait for them after concerts, send messages and love-letters to them and follow them everywhere. There are some crazy people who threaten celebrities and sometimes they put their threats into execution. Being famous is very dangerous. For example, John Lennon, a famous British singer and song-writer and a member of the Beatles, was shot by a crazy man in New York City. That’s why famous people often have to disguise themselves and spend much money on security. But sometimes even these measures don’t help. Everybody knows the sad story of Princess Diana’s death whose car was pursued by some paparazzi through Paris before the fatal crash. The paparazzi took pictures of the wrecked car before any of them called for help. They didn’t stop taking photographs even when the emergency services were on the scene and when the bodies were removed.

The film ‘Bodyguard’ which was released in 1992 tells a story about a famous and successful pop singer Rachel (Whitney Huston) who had to hire a bodyguard Frank (Kevin Costner) after she had received threatening letters. Her life was constantly in danger. Besides, she was afraid for her little son and her life was full of fears and apprehension.

Very often celebrities get tired of their stressful lifestyle and feel depressed. They begin smoking, drinking and taking drugs. These are used as an escape or a temporary way of’switching off – but they do not solve their problems. There are many examples of famous people who died because of alcohol or drugs such as Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and many others.

So publicity doesn’t only lead to fame, success, admiration and richness. It is also the reason of envy, jealousy, stress, extreme fatigue and the impossibility to escape public attention. Many stars would like to become common people at least for one day so that not to be recognized in the streets.

1. Complete each sentence (A-H) with one of the endings (1-8): A. In other words publicity is
B. The mass media have created
С A celebrity is a person
D. Paparazzi follow famous people around in order to
E. Fans get celebrities’ telephone numbers, wait for them after concerts, send
F. Famous people often have to
G. Very often celebrities
H. Publicity is the reason of
1. whose private life is discussed by journalists, TV-viewers and newspaper and magazine readers.
2. get tired of their stressful lifestyle and feel depressed.
3. public notice or attention.
4. disguise themselves and spend much money on security.
5. ‘the cult of celebrity’.
6. take unflattering photographs of them in their most intimate moments.
7. envy, jealousy, stress, extreme fatigue and the impossibility to escape public attention.
8. messages and love-letters to them and follow them everywhere.
2. Give the definitions of the following words – publicity – mass media – cult – celebrity – paparazzi – fan
3. Answer the questions 1) What does ‘the cult of celebrity’ mean?
2) Why do many celebrities have to forget about privacy?
3) Why is being famous dangerous?
4) What other risks do celebrities run?
5) What can famous people do to avoid possible dangers?
6) How does publicity influence a person’s character?
7) What do you think about paparazzi?
8) Do you know any famous people who suffered from paparazzi or their fans/began drinking or taking drugs because of their stressful lifestyle/were deceived by their producers/were put into prison/committed suicide/sacrificed their career for their family?
9) Why do/don’t you want to be famous?
10) What can you say about the life of a typical celebrity?

4. Fill in the table
Fame and Public Attention
For

1. Famous people are allowed to take liberties, to have their own style or opinion.

2. …………

Against
1. A famous person sees the world as a battle; rivalry, envy and jealousy are his or her principal emotions.
2………….

5. Read the quotations below. Choose any statement and comment on it
– ‘In the world of the celebrity, the hierarchy of publicity has replaced the hierarchy of descent and even of great wealth.’ (C. Wright Mills)
– ‘Publicity is like poison; it doesn’t hurt unless you swallow it.’ (Joe Paterno)
– ‘Fame always brings loneliness. Success is as ice cold and lonely as the North Pole.’ (Vicki Байт)
– Fame is a very confusing thing, because you are recognized by a lot of people that you’ve never seen before, and they’re at a great advantage.’ (Scott Hamilton)
– ‘Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.’ (Erica Jong)
– ‘A celebrity is someone who works hard all his life to be known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.’ (Fred Alan)
– ‘Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.’ (Jane Russell)
Read what some stars say. What is the price of publicity for them?
Michael Jackson: ‘It’s a complete lie, why do people buy these papers? It’s not the truth I’m here to say. You know, don’t judge a person, do not pass judgement, unless you have talked to them one on one. I don’t care what the story is, do not judge them because it is a lie.
John Lennon: ‘The postman wants an autograph. The cab driver wants a picture. The waitress wants a handshake. Everyone wants a piece of you.’
Britney Spears: I like meeting all my fans and signing autographs, although it can all get a bit crazy. Yesterday, for example, a boy just came over and planted a big kiss on my face! I was like, ‘Hello?’
Julia Roberts: ‘I don’t think I realized that the cost of fame is that it’s open season on every moment of your life.’

A. What is it like to be famous to your mind? Do you think that you would have fewer problems if you were rich and popular? Comment on your answer.

B. Read the text ‘Price of Publicity’ and think if you still dream of being famous.