Scarlett Johansson in the buff. Meh, yawn…
There is a legend, whispered among only the maddest of souls, that under the glamorous, perfectly-tailored clothes of famous people are actual human bodies.
“You fools,” they screech. “Why can’t you see that beneath the flowing gowns, industrial-strength hairspray and vodka stains there is flesh and blood and bone?”
And the rest of us laugh because we all know celebrities are simply floating heads atop designer outfits that are inflated with the taunts of seven-foot stage mothers.
Then, every so often, a nude photo leaks. Sometimes, it’s a bitter ex. Others, it’s some faceless, mischievous hacker. Then, of course, there are times when the subject of the photo is also the one launching it into the howling depths of the Internet like some sort of attention-seeking missile. And as the pictures bounce from site to site, followed closely by the stern warnings of legal reps, they are analysed and mocked and posted and re-posted.
Then, everyone gets bored. The flurry of pithy tweets stop, the snide remarks in comment sections and forums cease and the “celebrity” in question goes back to their regular, fully-clothed existence. We realise that just like most of us, they are firmer in places that are typically squishy and squishier in others that are usually firmer.
Late last week, walking nightclub decoration Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi - of Jersey Shore “fame” - became the latest to see her rude bits leap onto strangers’ laptop screens in a series of raunchy photos.
Her rep, whose job mainly consists of pretending her client isn’t a liquor-filled wrecking ball intent on reducing every social interaction to a mixture of tears, yelling and bizarre, grinding dance moves, has since confirmed the pictures were indeed of the pint-sized “celebrity”.
She was likely anticipating some sort of controversy or media frenzy. But Snooki was probably surprised to find, as others have noted, that hardly anyone seemed to care, with the most common reaction being a semi-muted yawn and a quick eye-roll.
Even the chatter and schoolyard giggling that accompanied the release of Blake Lively and Scarlett Johansson’s nude photos last year died down relatively quickly. Aside from the odd joke, the incidents have largely been forgotten by most.
Celebrity nudes are leaked so frequently, it seems, that they fail to garner attention anymore. In an age where anyone of any status is incessantly watched and streamed and captured, it’s almost accepted as an inevitability. And where once the icons who graced our screens and smiled from billboards were remote, mystical creatures - today, they are so relentlessly shoved toward us that it’s difficult to see them as anything but ordinary.
Unique, perhaps - talented, even - but ordinary, nonetheless. We see them shopping, tripping over furniture, nursing hangovers, feeding their children and crying in the aftermath of vicious break-ups. It’s not surprising, then, that we would eventually see them naked, too.
So, when we do see celebrities awkwardly posing in front of a mirror while clutching their phone or grinning suggestively at some unseen lover, it’s neither titillating nor scandalous. It’s mundane - almost comforting.
When the endless preening ceases and the glamour is stripped away, they become so very much like us - foolish, vulnerable, proud, self-conscious, embarrassed, exhilarated. Perhaps that’s why we seem to have lost our appetite for this particular brand of voyeurism.
There is, after all, nothing so boring as ourselves.
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