In his work on celebrity, Daniel Boorstin drew a firm line under a field that has since become the mirror of its own study, in industry within media studies. The modern celebrity, he surmised, is “well-known for their own well-knownness”.
The celebrity as criminal came later, but was nonetheless an outgrowth of the same aspect, boosted, in no small part, by curiosity and plain voyeurism. Australia’s Schapelle Corby, to take one example in this dubious pantheon of figures, found herself swept up in a heady discourse of rage and presumption once she was intercepted at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar on October 8, 2004.
She had, in her possession, 4.2 kilos of cannabis concealed in a carry bag designed for holding surfboards. In May 2005, she was found guilty of drug importation, receiving a 20 year sentence instead of the more conclusive ending of a firing squad. Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono shaved five years off her sentence, accepting grounds of mental illness. In February 2014, she was granted conditional parole and released, remaining in Indonesia till this month.
Even now, the media vultures ponder her next move on Australian soil. Will she give an exclusive? Will she defy criminal restrictions on charging for any story she might divulge? For now, the Courier Mail is keen to announce that she is being protected by that “bodyguard to the stars” John McCleod, whose credits include protecting “the…