Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reporters Given Borders

Ah, celebrity. That special level of notoriety within a given culture that, apparently, allows you to change the rules at your slightest whim, so long as they serve what you believe to be the greater good. It's kind of like being President, without having to worry about all the little details like elections and a system of checks and balances. And, while some celebrities use their power for evil, some set out to do good in the world. When it comes to celebrities acting favorably, none springs more readily to mind than Angelina Jolie.

Of course, we're talking current with-Brad-Pitt Angelina, not former with-Billy-Bob-Thornton-or-Jonny-Lee-Miller Angelina. That Angelina was a bit frightening. But the present one seems to be trying to set things right, and has made her altruism part of the public record. She's turned her image around so far that she was selected to play the wife of a slain journalist in the based-on-true-events A Mighty Heart.

Nevermind that the woman Angelina is playing is of a completely different racial make-up than Jolie herself. Nevermind that there are other actress of similar ancestral backgrounds to Marianne Pearl that could have played the role, and probably done quite well. Angelina was selected, and put into a modern form of "black face", and we can't be certain that her globally focused image didn't help in that aspect. And, well, we certainly can't argue too much about a film that will benefit the Reporters Without Borders organization, trying to help news media expand their ability to cover events, no matter where they happen.

And yet, Ms. Jolie doesn't really seem to get the message. We're not talking about her lockouts of grocery store periodicals until she gets exclusive coverage in her personal favorites. We're talking about the contract she asked reporters to sign before even considering an interview for the upcoming film. And her attempt to ban an entire news organization from the red carpet premiere. While the term "news organization" tends to be a little loose when referring to FOXNews, they still carry that designation, and, consequently, would be amongst those who would benefit from Reporters Without Borders.

Who knew that, while trying to tear down the borders in other places around the world, Angelina Jolie would quickly be erecting them around her own whims and pet projects.

Here's a better idea, Angie. Next time you don't want FOXNews to appear at one of your events, just schedule it around something stupid that either Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, or Lindsey Lohan do. Shouldn't be hard to sneak a peak at their calendars, and, if you can happen to hit all three, you've ensured yourself of the trifecta. It's a lot easier, and less damaging, than trying to establish freedom of the press as you see fit.

After all, you aren't President.

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