How we treat celebrities
Being a celebrity can have its drawbacks. Take “The Price is Right” television game show host Drew Carey, who found himself on the floor of the stage a couple of weeks ago, when an over-exuberant contestant came up on stage, jumped on him, wrapped her legs and arms around him, and sent him toppling to the floor. He picked himself up, smiling, and continued on with the show. We’ve watched him come close to being bowled over a number of times by excited contestants.
Carey seems to take it all in stride, as do a number of other popular celebrities including TV personalities, actors, recording artists, sports standouts, certain political leaders and others. Frankly we’ve never understood how they stand some of the abuse they routinely endure. Can you imagine having people grab at your hair, literally shove a camera in your face, tug at your clothing and never give you any privacy? These folks have a job to do, and while it’s fine to admire them, we also need to give them some space. We’re never surprised when we read that a celebrity is being accused of smashing a camera or hitting someone who just wouldn’t leave them alone. No wonder so many of them find it annoying they can’t enjoy doing “normal’’ things like going to a shopping mall or visiting the zoo for fear they’ll be recognized.
Some gung-ho news photographers believe that nothing celebrities do is off limits and even use zoom lenses on occasion to snap shots of well-known figures in their own back yards.
Folks in our own area get just as excited when we have a visit from someone they consider to be very special. When Jimmy Dean used to cruise into the harbor aboard his yacht Big Bad John, the newspaper was alerted by someone within a couple of minutes. He was a frequent visitor and the local press routinely left him alone but did have a wonderful scheduled interview on one of his trips here. We were embarrassed as a community to learn, on one of his visits, that a local resident actually went aboard his yacht uninvited and wandered around hoping to meet him. It takes all kinds.
One bright summer’s day we were told to send someone to downtown Boothbay Harbor fast because Senator Edmund Muskie was shopping in a particular store. Being a bad reporter, we opted to leave him alone and give him some peace and quiet. The Midcoast has had more than its share of noteworthy visitors over the years, some identified and others who were rumored to be here. If they didn’t schedule a public appearance, to us it meant just one thing: They were here to enjoy themselves and have a little privacy. If they wanted the public to be aware of their presence, they knew what to do. When President Kennedy came to the area, his itinerary was well known and his visit to Our Lady Queen of Peace church was an event many local folks will long remember.
The coast of Maine is as popular with celebrities as it is with those of us who consider ourselves ordinary folks. In fact, we have a lot of very successful men and women who actually live right here, either year-round or in the summer, and for the most part we’ve come to respect their privacy, which is as it should be.