Boycotting The Babies’ Pictures

The news is that People magazine in conjunction with the British Hello! will pay $14 million (yes fourteen millions) for the right to print the first pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s new twins. Previously the source said, the highest sum had been paid for Jennifer Lopez’s twins, $6 million. The magazines are willing to pay such phenomenal sums on the basis that the interest and extra news stands sales the pictures generate will at the very least cover the cost. And of course the pro argument continues. Pitt and Jolie are donating the millions to a foundation they created to help children. Presumably that redeems the excess, the money will therefore serve a good purpose and all should be all right. As I recall $25,000 in Africa can build a nice school. Fourteen million ought to build a long string of them.
But it’s more complex than that. It’s first that it makes us accomplices to this exorbitant sum, because without us, the consumer, to look, scrutinize, peek, comment, coo or criticize, the pictures are worthless. And second is what it says about us, about us as a society and about us as individuals. Many, I would surmise, will feel as I do and yet will go right ahead and look at the pictures, feeling that once the sale is made, there’s nothing we can do. I would venture to say, yes there is, boycott the picture, do not look at them or read the magazine. If we do not bite, then they’ll think twice about paying such sums for pictures of innocent babies whose sole claim on fame is that their parents are movie stars. What’s even more disquieting is what it says about us as a society. More than the majority of us believe the country is on the wrong track. Surely how we use money is related to what’s ailing us, and I don’t think I even need statistics to say that of those who feel that way, more than the majority will agree that the value we place on money is part of the problem. To me that’s another good reason to boycott the picture, to make a point we want better and we deserve better than a society where the price of a baby picture is more than the lifetime earnings of our less fortunate millions.