People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Request Privacy

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“Please, sir. May I have some….?” If you are a celebrity, you are likely to finish this phrase with the word PRIVACY. More and more celebrities issue statements in times of personal crisis requesting that their privacy be respected. I’m sorry; to what privacy are they referring? Celebrities ask us to keep up, but then, when it suits their purpose, they ask us to back off.

It irks me that public figures ask their fans/followers to give them some space. Apparently they didn’t need any space when they were pocketing our money from movie ticket sales, CD purchases, etc. The thing about being a public figure is, well, your life is PUBLIC. Of course, we all want to know at what restaurant you eat, what you look like without makeup, where you are on vacation and with whom, etc. Why is that? Because you did such a good job of selling yourself to us. If you are tweeting stuff daily about your personal life, what did you expect would happen?

Expect is the key word in this situation. As an attorney, obviously, I tend to analyze things from a legal perspective. The U.S. Supreme Court talked about privacy in the famous case of Katz v. U.S., from which opinion originated the expectation of privacy test. When analyzing Fourth Amendment issues (think search and seizure), the Katz Court stated that the Fourth Amendment prevents people from warrantless searches of places in which they have a subjective expectation of privacy deemed reasonable in public norms. In lay terms, the bottom line is one isn’t prying if there’s no expectation of privacy.privacy

So, let’s apply this test to a real life situation. How about those Kardashians? In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is the clan (Klan?) who are famous for being famous. Apparently the K’s have a subjective expectation of privacy and don’t feel that you and I should have our noses in Khloe’s ex-husband/estranged husband/possibly reunited husband Lamar’s hospital room. [Just an aside, but we wouldn’t even be in this situation if Lamar had kept his nose away from that cocaine at the brothel…] But what about reasonableness of this concern by public norms?

Reasonableness is construed based on a totality of circumstances and on a case by case basis. What’s reasonable for the Kardashians is highly unlikely to be what is reasonable for you and for me given our vastly different circumstances. Case law is clear that there is no expectation of privacy in an open field. If your actions are in plain view for the world to see, then there’s no need to get a warrant to check out what is clearly visible to anyone bothering to look.

Seems to me that the K’s are all in an open field. We see what they are wearing (or more accurately what they are NOT wearing), where they are traveling, with whom they are hobnobbing, etc. Kim’s rear end is splashed across the Internet as is news about what body hair she doesn’t have in places you and I would likely consider private. The K’s reel us in with an incessant stream of tweets, posts, TV shows, etc., but then they attempt to draw a line between their public and private life when it suits them. Um, I think they created the monster in making their whole life public. If you aren’t going to cover your privates, what pray tell is private? You wanted to be celebrities and you got what you asked for. Perhaps your loss of privacy is a cost of your self-created fame. As celebrity consultant Max Clifford noted, “If you use the media, you can’t complain too much when the media uses you.”

No, I am not just bashing the K’s. When celebrity couples break up, it is standard fare for them to issue a statement asking for privacy. Yes, I am referring to you, Gwen Stefani/Gavin Rossdale, Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert, and Jennifer Garner/Ben Affleck. Blake and Miranda should’ve composed a country song to croon that they need privacy concerning this “very personal matter.” So, I guess it is OK for us to take pictures when they walk the red carpet together and are all smiles, but when things get dicey, we should leave them alone. These celebrities want to tell the public when and how to direct their attention–yeah, those people who have given them fame and fortune. I’ll bet these celebrities will want our attention full on when the next movie or song comes out though.

So, if you are following my train of thought, we can only conclude that those who live in glass houses of their own making have some nerve to ask for privacy when THEY decide it is needed. HOWEVER, that does not mean that I am advocating that we stick our noses in anyway. There’s a question of what we can do (since celebrities don’t have any reasonable expectation of privacy) and what we should do (treat them as we’d like to be treated in similar circumstances).

In its essence, the right of privacy is the right to be let alone. Whether or not celebrities have the right to privacy isn’t the ultimate question. They should not need to ask for privacy. We non-celebrities should do the right thing just because it is the right thing–don’t intrude on situations that we would probably deem very personal if we were going through it ourselves (divorce, medical crisis, etc.) Better yet, let’s just leave some of these celebrities alone period. Come on you 48.4 million Instagram followers of Kim K. Just ignore what KK does totally; then there’s no issue of line drawing.

The End (of Kim?)

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True Colors

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One of the first things that a young child learns is the names of the colors. There are seven colors in a rainbow. Quick. How many can you name? They are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (mnemonic device ROY G. BIV). But a rainbow is just one phenomenon in our phenomenal world. Did you ever wonder the TOTAL number of colors which exist in our beautiful and colorful world?

To determine the actual number of existing colors, I consulted a color expert–Crayola. Would you believe that there are over 200 colors Crayola has produced? And we thought that the 64 pack of crayons to color with was a huge number.

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But Crayola is, let’s face it, producing colored crayons mainly for kids. How many colors are recognized/offered by companies producing color products for adults? Correct answer? Too many. I learned this answer firsthand during a remodeling project where I had to pick out paint colors from a handy Sherwin Williams color sample book. There were 50 pages each showing five different colors, i.e., 250 colors. The vast majority of these colors were ones of which I’ve never heard–Urban Putty; Toasted Pine Nut; Sea Serpent; Knitting Needles; Hinoki, etc. The ones I had heard of, I did not think were paint colors. Don’t you eat Borscht? Wear Cargo Pants? Ask for a drink On The Rocks? Pray for Patience? Run on the Jogging Path? And that’s just the sample book I was given. If you go on the Sherwin Williams website, the company boasts of over 1,500 colors–154 shades of red alone. Aren’t we taking things a bit too far on this color adventure?

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Well, apparently not. According to psychophysicists (people who study human responses), the total number of colors a human can see is TEN MILLION. Wow! I’d like to see that Sherwin-Williams color palette. It would be thicker than a New York City phone book (if such things still exist).

Assuming we could even come up with ten million color titles, would the average person be able to identify each one? If, as Cyndi Lauper croons, we show our “true colors,” how many would we need to show? And how specific do we need to be about our color? If we say we are blue, is that sufficient? Would we need to specify if we were Santorini Blue, Deep Sea Blue, Turkish Tile or Blue Crush (per Sherwin Williams)? Is the color of money just green? Perhaps is is really Green Sprout, Agate Green or Olive Grove? (Again per Sherwin Williams.) When the leaves turn colors in the fall, will all the leaves on one tree be the same shade of red? Will some be Habanero Chile while others are Antique Red? Does Sherwin Williams need to branch out (pun intended)into a fall foliage line?

The fashion world has already caused me to suffer with color confusion. Last spring marsala was the “it” color while cobalt is apparently making a splash this fall. Silly me. And I thought that you drank marsala. My bad. You clearly WEAR it. And I wouldn’t be able to pick out a cobalt piece of clothing in my closet if my life depended on it (assuming I even had one in my closet). I purchased some nail polish whose color was labeled “Invisible.” Is it even a color if you can’t see it?

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Perhaps the answer to all this color chaos is found in the lyrics of Lauper’s “True Colors.” She sings that “True colors are beautiful like a rainbow.” A rainbow has a manageable number of colors–7. I wonder if we should go back to basics and deal with only the very basic colors. Did our lives suddenly become all that more meaningful when a 64 Crayola pack was available to us over a 24 pack? A bigger selection of colors is not always better. I mean, do we really need 50 shades of gray?

Flight Of Fancy

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Look! Up in the sky! It’s me with my head in the clouds. Yes, I jumped on a big ole jet airliner this week to carry me far, far away. This trip allowed me to reap the benefits of having my head in the clouds.

The idiom to have one’s head in the clouds does not have a positive connotation. It is used pejoratively to describe an individual who is out of touch with reality and unrealistic. I had quite the opposite experience of that negative view. My time with my head literally in the clouds allowed me the opportunity to get my head on straight.

Pondering on the plane had benefits in four areas, all of which can be described using the letter “p.” First, I found that having my head in the clouds was Peaceful. Let’s face it. If you are sitting on a plane, there’s not much to do. You can basically snooze, read, and people watch. If there’s cabin service, you can have a beverage and snack. All of these are non-stressful activities. For me, it was a respite from the assault of distractions and responsibilities of everyday life. No ringing phones, no doorbells chiming, no dogs whining to go out, etc. I was allowed time to just be. How often does that happen? Correct answer? Not often enough.

Another benefit of having my head in the clouds was experiencing Pleasure. I always request a window seat because I am curious by nature and want to see what’s going on. With a window seat, you can check out what’s happening both inside and outside the plane. The pleasurable part is typically viewing what’s outside the man-made bird. First of all, there are lots of clouds. I am fascinated by clouds. Scientifically, they are visible masses of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere. To me they are eye candy–fluffy, light and tantalizing. I can see why angels are typically depicted as sitting or standing on clouds. What pleasure it would be to frolic on them! Their varying shapes intrigue me. Less heavenly, but still a pleasure to view, is the varying landscape–rivers, mountains, the coast, etc. God’s creation is astonishing.

Viewing the landscape below inevitably leads to the next benefit of having one’s head in the clouds–Perspective At cruising altitude way above the Earth, things appear differently than on the ground. And by different, I mean smaller. As big as you think your house, job, car, etc. is, in the big scheme of things, it isn’t big at all. That majestic mountain does not seem as daunting, or big, when flying over it.

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People appear as ants, if they can be seen at all. Kind of puts one in his/her place. There’s a big world out there as is obvious from the view out the plane window. We are each just a very small part of it. Hopefully, this realization will allow us to chillax about the everyday annoyances/issues that loom so large when our feet are on the ground.

And when we are back on the ground, just what will we be doing? Having your head in the clouds certainly gives one time to think about that, i.e., time to consider Purpose. People are so busy doing on the ground that they rarely take the time to think about WHY they are doing what they are doing or what their goal(s) should be. Do they even have a goal? When you are trapped in a flying machine high above the Earth and could meet your Maker should there be a mechanical malfunction, you tend to think more long-term and not one foot in front of the other. Life is flying by when you are on the ground. Flying above it should give us incentive to consider what the purpose of that life flight is.

Back on terra firma, I feel more grounded. I’ve had time to ponder my purpose, put things in perspective, be at peace, and enjoy the pleasures of the world around me. Maybe it’s time we all spent some time with our head in the clouds. I wonder what a difference that could make to how we spend our non-flying time. Let’s try it–wheels up! Take a flight of fancy in your mind.