Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bosh's return to Toronto, and who the fans were really booing

As Chris Bosh was set to leave the floor after a victory over his former team, he made his way to centre court, and the booes that started in the first quarter began to surface again. He faced the Union Station side of the Air Canada Centre, and thanked the fans by waving his hands and blowing kisses. Most of the booes turned to cheers as he continued to thank the crowd.

“One bad move doesn’t erase seven years” proclaimed Bosh in his post-game interview.

Drafted in 2003, Bosh soon absorbed the team that the once beloved Vince Carter had abandoned, with nothing but positive energy. After three years of a losing record and not making the post-season, Bosh committed to the future of the franchise by re-signing with the Raptors for a three year deal (with a fourth year option). During that season, Bosh led the team to the third best record in the eastern conference, and gave the Raptors fans a playoff berth for the first time in five years – restoring pride into the Toronto sports community. It was an exciting time for Toronto fans as the sea of red had their chance to watch the team that Bosh had given them, battle against no other than Vince Carter. The Raptors lost a heart-breaking game six by one point to end their playoff run. After losing the series 4-1 the following year to the Orlando Magic, the Raptors were never the same again. The team tried to scramble by bringing in former stars, including Jermaine O’Neal and Shawn Marion, and tried different coaches in Sam Mitchell and Jay Triano, but there were no solid pieces to surround the star player that Bosh had developed into. During Bosh’s time in Toronto, he made sure to give back to the community as he developed the Chris Bosh Foundation, donated $1 million dollars to a Toronto charity, known as Community Legacy Programs, and pledged $75,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Canada.

Chris Bosh, like Roy Halladay, left at the end of his contract to begin a new career on a contending team. Despite all that he gave to the franchise, the franchise didn’t give much back in return. Perhaps Bosh's interviews and choice of words weren't always the best, but does that really change what he did for the franchise and for the city?

Seven years of unproductivity by a team overall, he deserved to move on – just like Roy Halladay.

It’s safe to say that the fans were booing because they were frustrated, and Bosh was the perfect outlet. Frustrated by the fact that in Bosh’s tenure as a Raptor, the team had a losing record of 254-320 and made the playoffs in only two of his seven years, frustrated that he departed for a team that the Raptors could have been, and most of all, they were frustrated that the only player on the team in the past seven years that actually made a difference, had left them with a team that now has no direction. In the end, it wasn’t Chris Bosh that the fans were really booing. It was Bryan Colangelo.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A look into the life of paparazzi

Film review: Teenage Paparazzo [Documentary, 2010] by Adrian Grenier

It's everywhere. You turn on the television set after work, and you have at least three different celebrity-type shows airing. You lineup at the express lane at the grocery store (waiting for the person in front who clearly doesn't understand "1-8 items") and it's there. There's even an entire show that shows behind the scenes of TMZ. Although I have never had a real interest in celebrity gossip and news, I can't say that I've never payed attention to it. Angelina, Brangelina, Natalie Portman is pregnant, Mila Kunis just broke up, "Britney's Back, Bitch!", Mel Gibson was arrested, and it goes on. No matter how much some of us hate to acknowledge it (while it's a daily conversation for others), we all have some interest in celebrity gossip at some level.

One of the most interesting insights of Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo was when he sat down with MIT Comparative Media Studies Professor - Dr. Henry Jenkins, to dissect why ("normal") people love to gossip about celebrity. "In the era of the internet, who do we choose to talk about? We can't talk about our aunt and our uncle or the guy down the street, because we don't share that in common. But we share you (Adrian Grenier, other celebrities) in common... I would say that one of your jobs as a celebrity is to be the subject of gossip." Dr. Jenkins goes on to say, "When we gossip, the person we gossip about is actually less important than the exchange that takes place between us... We're using that other person - the celebrity as a vehicle for us to sort of share values with each other."

Photo from Mongrel Media

The next question: is paparazzi fair to celebrities? They're just human beings with basic rights, right? If you're walking down the street and someone starts snapping photos of you, you'd feel the right to say "stop taking pictures of me". On the other hand, how many of these celebrities relied on a PR agency to get their name out in the first place? The fans and the mass are what drives people to be famous, and to turn your back on all of this once you've reached fame - is that fair to the fans?

Red carpet pictures, studio photo shoots - they have their purposes but most fans would consider them boring. In fact, it's the paparazzi type photos - the grocery shopping, the sun bathing, the on the way to the gym photos, the night out on the town photos, those are the ones that stimulate the interest of fans and really dance to the beat that they've been playing all along - celebrities are "just like us". The issue of paparazzi from a photographer's standpoint and from the subject's standpoint isn't black and white, and it's hard to draw a line that's "fair" for both sides.

Grenier's documentary of then thirteen year old, Austin
Visschedyk, really gave insight on to why photographers choose being a paparazzo/paparazza as a career. The rush, the excitement, and the money. Competition is fierce amongst photographers, and the scene isn't too civil, but the satisfaction of snapping that thousand-dollar photo, makes them long for the rush even more. In fact, a lot of the times, photographers have to have their laptops out on the spot to submit pictures to magazine agencies - by the time celebrities get home from an event, the photos are already up. In terms of income, according to Austin Visschedyk's experience, paparazzi photos can make anywhere between $500-2000 on average per photo. Crazy, eh?

Adrian Grenier really does a great job on exploring the world of paparazzi by turning the cameras on them. One of my favorite parts of the film, was when Grenier himself went out to buy a Canon (5D Mark II I believe), and started joining the paparazzi frenzy around Brooke Shields - however, it wasn't long before everyone identified him, "Hey Brooke, you have a fellow star mate out here today!".

It turns out we all have paparazzi in us. It's only human.

Rating: 7.7/10