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Need To Know? We Don't

By LC Van Savage

Is it just Americans or do all humans everywhere think they are entitled to know intensely personal things about people, and famous people in particular?

I don't especially champion the rich and famous although I personally believe they have as much right to their privacy as anyone does and that all they really owe us, if "owe" is the proper word, is a decent performance for the money we shell out to watch them do their thing.

I was disturbed the other evening as I scrolled through the TV channels hoping to find a great movie, preferably made in the 1940s, and up popped the face of one Clay Aiken, a young singer I think who became famous by appearing on a show called, "American Idol" where people either win in their performing categories, or their lives are shattered forever in wildly insulting international humiliations.

Anyway, this guy Clay Aiken was being asked by some obnoxious interviewer if he was gay and Clay answered, "Why are you even asking that?" And Clay is right. Please someone tell me, why did that interviewer ask that crackbrained question? What does his sexuality have to do with his singing? His performing? Does his sexual preference define his performances for the public? Does it define him? Does he sing a lot better if he is gay? Does he sing a lot worse if he is not? I don't get it. Where do these TV people figure that they're entitled to know such a thing? Should Clay Aiken ask them in future if they're gay? Will they be better interviewers if they are? Worse if they're not? When people are suspected of being heterosexual, are they asked if they are? Where's the balance? And where's the outrage? Why do people give themselves permission to ask intrusive and personal questions, not only of the famous, but of anyone?

Some famous people are also asked outright if they've had plastic surgery, or it "gets reported" that so-and-so has "had a little work done." Like so what? This is a scandal? There's something sinful about having a little nip and tuck so we can feel better about ourselves or look better? After all, when someone makes his or her living by appearing in films, good looks are their livelihood, so why are we all so horrified if they lift or remove a few things? Hey, I have a little TV show called LC&CO. and on screen, my neck wattles look like an aggregation of elephant trunks. Ancient, mummified elephant trunks. I wish I had the cash to pay some nice doctor with a nice sharp knife and a lot of experience to slice them away and tighten what's left. Would that be such a bad thing to do? Would people then stop me in the street and ask, "Say LC, I notice that your 68 year old neck suddenly looks like Pavlova's. Bet you've had a little plastic surgery done, right?" And I guess I'd stare hard at them and ask if they really had a need to know and furthermore I'd continue, while we're on the subject of rude questions, have you ever considered having that whopping big bulging grey wen hacked off your great, fat cheek?

Look. I know I'm not saying anything too terribly profound here and no one's going to have this huge, great awakening, nor will anyone see the light or the error of his or her ways. I guess I'm just curious as to why we ask these awful questions that have nothing to do with anything. Is it just Americans who do this? Is it "human nature?" Surely you know what "human nature" means; it's code for that big excuse blanket we use to hide under so we can say and do inappropriate things to one another. Do only Americans do this to other Americans?

I was just wondering.

Email lc at
See her on LC&CO. on Cable Channel 3
and on many other stations.

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Reader Comments

Name: John I. Blair Email:
Comment: LC, This has needed saying for a long time, and you have said it so effectively (and humorously). Thanks! BTW, Clara and I both voted (many times) for Clay Aiken the year he competed in American Idol. He is a great singer and an impressive person, whose first career (which he has not abandoned) is working with children with learning disabilities.



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