Saudis bay for scandal and their own paparazzi are delivering the goods
Paparazzi that live off celebrities’ and public figure’ scandals have become famous in the West.
They follow every celebrity hoping for a slip of the tongue, an outrageous photograph or an illegitimate affair that can take down the icon.
That’s how paparazzi build their glory. This is why you see many photographs shot from a discreet hiding place.
The West until today has remained incapable of legally separating freedom of the press and the public icons’ private sanctity which is always subject to monitoring, criticizing, judging and sometimes even mocking.
Princess Diana who was killed in a car accident due to paparazzi pursuit is the most famous of victims.
The incident has sparked a moral debate over whether this was right or not. Do you need to kill a human being and then ask whether this was moral or not?
But, the West does not claim to be a conservative and religious society, like we do. It considers these personal values. Therefore, personal photos of celebrities are not enough for anything as long as the paparazzi are not breaking the law. Despite this, the paparazzi remain at the nadir of scorn and ostracism.
In our country,[Saudi Arabia] there are no paparazzi. Media laws prevent turning personal news into media material. But, ever since cellular phones equipped with cameras appeared and became available to the masses, we are now living in a large “paparazzi” society.
Each person puts his camera in front of the others, if something appears to be news worthy or ground breaking!
I once saw a fully-veiled Saudi lady enter a hotel in Brumana in Lebanon. She used a camera to take photos of hallways, people, shops and trees. Then I knew that this was a hobby of some Saudi women.
They post these photos, in which they do not appear, in forums for females so they brag about visiting this place or another. It is not a problem if you take photos of a natural scene or building and post them on social networking websites but the problem is if these cameras reveal people who consider themselves above media coverage.
It has become common today to find a young man or woman use their cameras to take a video and post it on YouTube. The last of these was perhaps the photo of a famous athlete sitting with his wife in a mall drinking juice in the corner of a fast food restaurant.
The camera which snapped the shot appeared to have been hidden behind a glass of Pepsi. Our Arab readers who do not understand the complications of the Saudi society will say “So what?” What is the problem? A celebrity fully dressed is sitting with his wife who is wearing her abaya and veil. Her back is toward the camera and only a mysterious glimpse of her appears. Someone snapped a picture of them. What is the problem?
The problem is that users in the Twitter community circulated the photo under the headline: “scandal.” The athlete stepped up to explain, what does not require an explanation, that the woman he was with is his wife. The same happened when photos of a meeting among female and male authors during the Saudi week in Qatar were circulated as a mingling scandal that took place in a hotel lobby in Riyadh.
This society which claims conservatism and extreme jealousy over its sanctities is what encouraged a reckless young man or perhaps woman to promote a family photo and call it a “scandal.” Few saw anything wrong with the circulating the photo. The real question is: who the humiliation is really directed towards.
The idea that a gathered group of people turning into “paparazzi”, which are not out to make money but are motivated by slander, vengeance or just excitement, indicates the presence of a huge gap between declared conservatism and extreme religiosity and the hidden face. They all look like fake values covered by the lust of “scandal.” The real gossip is describing every meeting between a man and a woman in a public place as a scandal.
What do you think about the 'paparazzi culture'? Could it be a force for good? Share your thoughts with us below.
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