Friday, June 20, 2014

Millennial News: two birds killed with one Stone and one Garfield

by Melissa Scott, Writing Intern

Judging by the various levels of arguably aggressive celebrity reactions, paparazzi must be beyond bearable at times. For Brad Garrett, smacking cameras out of a photographer’s hands was effective.  Back in 2004, Cameron Diaz decided to grab a camera and run away with it. Jennifer Lawrence would rather flip the camera off when goaded past endurance. And Britney Spears attacked a paparazzo's unoccupied truck with an umbrella during the infamous bald rampage of 2007. Celebrities often lose their temper when dealing with the ever-present picture-taking, but a new philanthropic response may work wonders.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/evarinaldiphotography/13279100125/ 
After lunch, early Tuesday afternoon, June 17, at CafĂ© Cluney in New York City, avid photographers ambushed the “super” power-couple Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. Fortunately, they were ready to make a statement. The deliciously adorable couple sent a message loud and clear to the paparazzi. The message promoted the service and generosity one might expect from the Amazing Spider-Man himself.

The two have used this paparazzi-repelling method once before, back in September 2012.  They call it their “tried-and-true” strategy. Then, Emma and Andrew held up signs to raise awareness for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and Gilda’s Club of New York City. They wrote their messages on flimsy brown paper bags, but used brazen black permanent marker to spread the message. Emma’s bag read, “We just found out that there are paparazzi outside the restaurant we were eating in. So why not take this…” She drew an arrow pointing over to Andrew’s bag, which declared, “…opportunity to bring attention to organizations that need and deserve it? www.wwo.org, www.gildasclubnyc.org. Have a great day!”

Emma and Andrew adopted the idea again Tuesday. They left the restaurant silently, but holding signs over their faces, handwritten themselves, to raise awareness for two of their old-favorite charities, and two additional ones. This time, the signs were on smaller notecards, with unassuming, "quieter" handwriting. Instead, the co-starring couple took an air of pride, superiority, and a sardonic tone, rather than aggression.

Emma’s note, sweet with a hint of sarcasm, read: “Good Morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let's try this again. We don't need the attention, but these wonderful organizations do.” Again, she placed her strategic arrow pointing across to Andrew walking alongside her. His note correspondingly listed the additional charities, www.youthmentoring.org, www.autismspeaks.org, (and don’t forget) www.wwo.org, www.gildasclubnyc.org . Here’s to the stuff that matters.” Andrew once again ended their message by bidding the paparazzi, “Have a great day!”

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images
The couple's signs included links to the Youth Mentoring Connection, a nonprofit that provides work-site and community mentoring for teens, and Autism Speaks (editor’s note: an agency steeped in controversy), an advocacy organization that sponsors autism research, awareness and outreach. Gilda’s Club and Worldwide Orphans Foundation support those living with cancer, and provide healthcare and education to orphaned children, respectively. Both Spider-man stars are actively involved in these social causes themselves. Emma is an ambassador for Gilda’s Club, and Andrew is the same for Worldwide Orphans Foundation.

Both Emma and Andrew understand that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” But while Emma and Andrew’s statement was unquestionably altruistic and noble, the light shined brightly on them.

Ironically, it’s not the charitable messages trending right now, but instead the adorable and open-handed nature of their relationship. The precious pictures of the two walking side-by-side, while defiantly holding their signs is a tender scene, to be sure. But I found myself enviously checking out Emma’s dainty spring outfit of a black blazer, shorts, and sunbonnet, alongside Andrew’s chic beret and color-coordinating gray shirt. I focused instead on the two as celebrities, dressed in style and making a scene, rather than actually reading the signs promoting the charities held in front of them.

As the signs assert, Emma and Andrew “don’t need the attention.” But attention is undoubtedly what they got. Even when the message couldn’t be clearer, it was easy for me to overlook the “stuff that matters.”
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