Fake celebrity

In July a New Yorker named Brett Cohen hoaxed a bunch of people in Times Square into believing that he was a celebrity simply by adopting the trappings of celebrity — body guards, Paparazzi, and hanger’s on. It was apparently a grand success, and tourists interviewed by supposed television reporters praised his acting ability, his music, and his great future in the movie business:

Trivia item: Paparazzo was the name of a character played by Walter Santesso in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita. He was a photographer who was a friend and colleague of the protagonist (Marcello Mastroianni). Director and cowriter Federico Fellini said he took the name from someone he’d met in southern Italy. Later “Paparazzo” came to be used to refer to celebrity photographers generally. In Italian the plural is Paparazzi.

It occurs to me that you could argue that Cohen actually was a celebrity, at least during that stroll. There are plenty of other people famous for being famous, the standard example being Paris Hilton.

(I possibly shouldn’t admit this, but I think Hilton deserves a little more credit than she usually gets. I’m not exactly a fan, and I was for example happy to read that a pet store had refused to sell her a dog when she told them she wanted it as a prop for a photo shoot, and I thought it was pretty funny when a reviewer suggested that when her character in a horror film was killed by a metal pole that shot through her head, this was the first something had crossed her mind. On the other hand, she brings in a lot of money from product endorsements, modeling work, and so on, and that keeps a lot of other people employed. She also did a funny bit years ago on SNL, and even if her only notable talents are being reasonably attractive and notoriously famous for being famous, there are a lot worse things to be. So leave Paris alone.)

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what it would cost me to go to New York and hire a temporary entourage. And don’t tell me you’re not thinking the same thing.

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