Paparazzi eradication, and other resolutions
It is resolution time, or at least it was a few days ago, and my most serious resolution for this new year is to do what I can to aid Aspen in solving some of its problems. For some inexplicable reason, Aspenites seem far better at creating problems than solving them, which is why I am willing to step in to help.
After all, Aspen is a neighbor and I believe in being a good neighbor. Granted, I avoid going into Aspen with bulldog tenacity because over the years I have become very uncomfortable with the place, but I am still willing to do what I can to help.
So, I believe I have a solution for Aspen’s paparazzi problem, if only a temporary one. My suggestion is for Aspenites to begin spreading the word that Heidi Klum, the supermodel, or whoever the celebrity du jour happens to be, is going snowmobiling in Lenado.
Now we don’t want giant crowds in Lenado, but we are willing to sacrifice our tranquility if it means that the excessively rich in Aspen can shop for their baubles and other expensive trinkets without interruption or inconvenience. And it is likely that some of the paparazzi who followed some celebrity into the woods would not return. In fact a few of those freelance photographers might not be found until spring, owing to the cruel nature of winter in the mountains. Of course we might also lose a celebrity or two, but we seem to have an excess of celebs anyway, so life would probably go on without much disruption.
In 1969 or 1970 I stumbled into The Red Onion one evening and discovered John Wayne sitting at the bar. Most of my memories from that period are rather blurred but I believe he was arguing with some hippie about the war in Vietnam. The point is that John Wayne was a giant among movie stars, yet most of the customers in the Onion simply let him be. That is the way most celebrities were treated in Aspen in those days. They weren’t ignored but they were not fawned over either. And there were not hordes of paparazzi chasing after them.
If a comparable John Wayne personality should walk into the Onion today (assuming the Onion still existed), it would be impossible to get inside the joint because of adoring fans and the paparazzi. What in the hell has happened to this society?
And this is from the unnecessary information department: Paparazzi is plural and paparazzo is the singular usage, so if you run into a lone freelance photographer dogging some celebrity, he is not paparazzi but a paparazzo. If you decide to confront him, we want you to be correct. The name, by the way, was the surname of a photographer in Federico Fellini’s famous film, “La Dolce Vita,” which came out in 1960. In turn, Fellini apparently took the name from a novel by George Gissing, “By the Ionian Sea,” published in 1901. This is pure trivia but it fits in with the fact that the paparazzi are engaged in trivial pursuits.
OK, so much for my resolution for the new year, now it is time to get on with 2008.
The most positive feature of 2008, in my mind at least, is the fact that we will have only one more year of George W., our compassionate-warrior president. The most negative feature of 2008 is the fact that we will have one more year of George W. I’m not particularly looking forward to that, nor am I looking forward to the intense campaigning that both major parties are going to force on us in the months to come.
Feel fortunate that we don’t live in Iowa or New Hampshire, where voters already have endured months of television advertising from all of the presidential candidates salivating for attention and votes.
The Democrats have three front-runners: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. The Republican race is a bit tighter with five candidates still in the running for the nomination: Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.
I must confess that I didn’t watch all of the television debates as studiously as I should have, but I watched enough to know that I didn’t see any bright new stars or much in the way of bright new thinking. The odds of my voting for a Republican for president are about the same of my winning the Power Ball Lottery.
But I have no clear choice among the Democrats either. It is as if my cynicism has reached the meltdown stage and I view all candidates in both parties as nothing more than pawns for more powerful forces in America, individuals who will do the bidding for those with the most money and the biggest lobbies. That is a rotten state of mind, one that makes me uncomfortable, but it is something I know is a part of me right now.
We have months to go before we scamper into the polls in November, and by then I hope my cynical state of mind will have shifted into an unequivocal and positive mode. Stranger things have happened!
In the meantime, I will continue to work on attempts to relieve Aspen of some of its many problems. It is the least I can do for my country!
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