Privacy

Everyone is up in arms about the NSA scandal – and I get it. I really do. I understand why people feel violated.

But I have a really hard time getting upset about it. I was wondering why this was – I usually have no problem getting behind a cause and waving around a sign about it. Maybe it’s because I have a different take on privacy.

When I was 10 years old, I had my first lead role in a Canadian TV movie called Trick Or Treasure. I had done lots of commercials and guest starring roles but this was the first time a show was based around my character. It was a kid’s movie about ghost pirates that all took place on Halloween night. It was a little cheesy but I learned how to sword fight and got to stay up until 5 AM, so I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

When the movie aired, there was a lot of press about it. Opening up the TV Guide one day, I found a two-page article about the TV show. That was when I realized that they had talked to my castmates about me. There, in print, were stories of my behavior on set. Tidbits about what I was like and how I was to work with. They were all positive, complimentary things, but it was the first time that I realized I was being watched all the time. It was unnerving, but I quickly realized that was what I had signed up for. That was what it meant to be an actor.

Here we are, more than 20 years later and I still get stared at in restaurants sometimes. I can tell that people are listening in on my conversations, as if I might suddenly say to my husband, “You know, honey, when I played the oldest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, the funniest thing happened….”

So, I never feel any sense of  privacy out in public.

And for my internet usage? Cell phones? I guess I always assume that someone has access to that stuff. Isn’t that just a side effect of our high-tech world? Everything is traceable? Besides, I pretty much don’t do anything interesting that anyone would care about. (“Oh, look, she is reading DogShaming again.”)

I understand that I am in the minority here, with my lack of concern. But just when I was thinking that I might be the only person who felt this way, I saw Seth Rogen on The Daily Show. When John Oliver asked him if the privacy scandal unnerved him, he said, “not really, I assume they read all that shit.” (Around time marker 4:15 if you want to play along at home.)

Exactly. I guess I just assume they read all that shit, too.

Maybe this is just how it works for actors – or former actors. By doing our jobs, we willingly gave up our right to keep things to ourselves, so we tend to be surprised that anyone expects privacy at all. Suddenly, privacy seems overrated.

Or maybe that’s just what we tell ourselves.

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