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<   No. 971   2005-09-23   >

Comic #971

1 Captain Spatula: To the crime scene!
2 {The Worm Mobile racing through traffic. As usual, mayhem follows in their wake: a citizen's car has swerved and destroyed a fire hydrant.}
3 Policeman: {at the crime scene, where dead fish lie scattered around a broken armoured car} Well it's about time you guys showed up.
3 Refractive Man: Give us a break. We're superheroes, not paparazzi.

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2014-12-05 Rerun commentary: Paparazzi are photographers who follow (or stalk) celebrities in order to get candid photos, usually of activities that normal people would consider mundane and possibly personal, rather than matters of public record.

The word comes from, as you might expect from the sound, Italian. Specifically, it comes from Federico Fellini's seminal 1960 film La Dolce Vita ("The Sweet Life"), which follows the exploits of gossip journalist Marcello Rubini through a week of pursuing celebrities in Rome. His photographer is one Paparazzo (no first name given), a surname invented by Fellini to conjure an image of "a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging," - possibly from the Sicilian dialect word papataceo, meaning "giant mosquito".


A reader from Italy writes:
There are too many version of that story about the orign of the word paparazzo. Surely it came from Paparazzo, a minor character from Fellini's La dolce Vita but Fellini was a joker, he told a differnt story every time someone asked about Paparazzo.

Moreover Ennio Flaiano, not Federico Fellini, gives the name Paparazzo to Walter Santesso's character in the movie.

Ennio Flaiano was a humorist, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, journalist. He was a screenwriter for many Fellini's movies. He read in George Gissing's "Sulle rive dello Jonio" of a real person, Coriolano Paparazzo, owner of a hotel in Catanzaro where Gissins stayed in 1897 and eureka he christened the photographer and his collegues.

But the late '40 there was a cartoon by Giovanni Guareschi titled "Papà-Razzo", translated "Rocket-Dad" representing a new dad who take a fly when phoned about the birth of three twins

There are too many other rotten stories about "Paparazzo".

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