Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You say "potato" I say "loathsome starchy glob thing."

An AP story reports that Keanu Reeves allegedly conducted his Porsche into contact with a man on Monday evening. The story opens thus:

Keanu Reeves was behind the wheel of a Porsche that allegedly grazed a celebrity photographer standing in the path of the sports car, investigators said Tuesday. The photographer fell to the ground and paramedics were called after Reeves' car allegedly struck the man at 7:30 p.m. Monday, said Deputy Ed Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

I had a hard time starting this post because my point was to highlight the writer's chosen wording especially in reference to the pedestrian. I know my first sentence sounds tethered and evasive. I was trying to be so.

The headline reads Reeves' car allegedly hits photographer and the story twice refers to the pedestrian as a "photographer" and once as a "celebrity photographer" before a quote from LA Sheriff's Deputy Ed Hernandez refers to him as a "paparazzi."

Before we roll our eyes too dismissively regarding the writer's obvious agenda of impartiality (can an agenda be impartial?) by using the neutral term in place of the loaded paparrazzi or paparrazzo we should note that Mr Reeves' lawyer Jay Lavely is given ample attention with an uninterrupted and conspicuously long quote. In the generous spotlight Lavely uses "paparazzo" 4 times. He also says the hit was "brought on more by the actions of the [cameraman] than by the actions of Mr Reeves." Laver attempts not only to deflect culpability, but tries to lessen the incident by saying that Reeves "slowly inch[ed] the car away from the curb." Notice that he has drawn attention away from the claim that Reeves was driving, calling attention to the curb: where cars tend to be stationary.

Regarding the hit (a noun which the headline implies by using the related verb) or graze (which the Deputy Sheriff implies by his use of the related verb (thus prompting the writer to report the allegation with the same verb)) Lavely starts with "If" and refers to "contact with the paparazzo."

He then says "It appeared as if the paparazzo was trying to
cause this type of encounter."

Did the filthy paparazzo take a dive? Was the celebrity profile artist assaulted? Is this a case of a visual promotions specialist being crushed under a wheel or was an exploitative private-life profiteer lightly brushed by a door handle?

Only the box office gross of Keanus Reeves' next movie will tell.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen Fellini's La Dolce Vita, but my outrage is with the lack of a capital "p" for Signor Paparazzo'z eponymous designator.


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