MUG SHOTS

Celebrity mug shots are cheap if not free to obtain, legal to publish, and often highly consumable, thus befitting frequent publication.  But why is America so smitten by celebrity mug shots?  John Watson of American University in Washington notes, “We like being frightened without being in actual peril… they feed off human schadenfreude; they allow us to say, ‘well, this starlet isn’t so rich and glamorous now, is she?’”   Perhaps for some there is even dissonance between reality and our belief that celebrities exist outside of common law.   Celebrity mug shots have come to represent a right of passage more than a fall from grace.  Says Ken Deffenbacher of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, “I just really don’t know why people find [mug shots] fascinating.  If the main reason is voyeurism, it’s as American as apple pie, I guess.”