Last night, Jodie Foster, a famous actress who has been a famous actress for many decades, stood on stage at a glittery Hollywood awards show being broadcast around the world, and, in a lengthy, self-glorifying speech, in front of a crowd of the world's most famous people, asked for.... privacy. Is Jodie Foster clinically insane?
Jodie Foster, a famous actress, a woman who has made untold millions of dollars in the Hollywood movie industry, took the stage last night in a custom-made Giorgio Armani gown, and turned to face the room full of tuxedo-clad Hollywood power players sipping Moet, and the cameras, broadcasting to millions of people around the world, and delivered a seven-minute-long speech which has brought her great and fawning praise. It is a monument to the delusion that goes with a life lived totally inside the entertainment industrial complex. In it, she said: "Now, apparently, I'm told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime time reality show. And you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child... If you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler; if you'd had to fight for a life that felt real, and honest, and normal, against all odds; maybe then you too would value privacy above all else. Privacy." Cue applause.
We hate to be the ones to interrupt this Jodie Foster for Nobel Peace Prize nomination ceremony, but: asking for privacy on stage at the Golden Globe Awards is intrinsically insane.
As trivial as most everything to come out a celebrity awards show is, this particular piece of boldly stated delusion has value, in that it so perfectly illustrates the extent to which America's celebrity worship will always leave us unfulfilled. Celebrities that have been as thoroughly indoctrinated into Hollywood culture as Jodie Foster are incapable of conceiving the normal world in which normal people live. (Note Foster's maudlin tribute to her bond with "the crew"—the closest thing to working class humans she ever encounters.) Jodie Foster, millionaire actress, truly believes that she has succeeded in having a "normal" life, "against all odds." Her world is so far removed from yours, and mine, and everyone's outside of a tiny sliver of Hollywood that she considers herself to be a hard-luck tale. A survivor. A triumphant role model. A hardworking mother deserving of privacy.
Here is how you can have privacy, Jodie Foster: do not attend the Golden Globe Awards. Do not walk down a red carpet in a Giorgio Armani gown. Do not give seven-minute tributes to yourself on national prime time television. Do not attend several similar high profile events every single year. And while you're at it, do not spend decades in the movie industry pursuing the conscious goal of fame and celebrity, before taking the stage to beg for your privacy. (We can, of course, see how the whole John Hinckley obsession might have made her desire a private life; but if it did, her actions have certainly not been oriented in that direction.)
Pardon us for resorting to cliche, but there is no better example of the "have your cake and eat it too" phenomenon than a famous Hollywood actress self-righteously asking for privacy on stage at an awards ceremony. One would think that celebrities would not need their own circumstances explained to them by outsiders. But they clearly do, as demonstrated by Jodie Foster and her legions of celebrity (and celebrity-worshipping) supporters. So here it is: you can be a celebrity, and have fame, and vast riches, and lots of public and media attention paid to you; OR, you can be a non-celebrity, and have no fame, and no riches, and be ignored by the media and the public. Jodie Foster falls into the first category; you, and me, and 50 year-old women who are not wealthy, famous Hollywood actresses fall into the second category. Foster's mawkish plea for privacy neatly leaves out the fact that she and her agents and managers and publicists have spent decades painstakingly cultivating the very fame she now bemoans, in order to benefit her career. What Jodie Foster and her fellow persecuted celebrities are really saying is, "We want to enjoy the vast riches that come with commanding the attention of the public, but we want to tell the public exactly when and where and how to direct that attention." You, the public, must work on behalf of the celebrities. Not vice versa. Celebrities have it hard enough already. Everyone, once you hand over your money to Hollywood, please stop paying attention to them, until the next movie comes out.
The quickest way to privacy is silence. And that is the one thing no Golden Globes acceptance speech has ever achieved.