Weekend Humor: The Paparazzo-Celebrity Rift Goes All the Way Back to a Food Fight in the 1940s

That's a famous person.

That’s a famous person.

Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

The paparazzo is an often reviled figure in A-list circles. Once Alec Baldwin finds himself staring at the business end of a telephoto lens, a white hot rage forms in the core of his being and surges out into his hands. “Fear the Baldwin” has become an oft-repeated phrase in celebrity headhunter circles, but given the need to put food on the table, most resign themselves going out yet again to sit in a café for eight hours at a time. The divide between the person behind the camera and the one in front of it wasn’t always there. A food fight between Felice Quinto, the grandpapa of all paparazzi, and some kid in the 1940s led to the great schism.

Quinto was just a boy when he shared a class with Marco Verdi. They were fast friends and spent nearly every afternoon playing at each other’s house. They were inseparable. They sat next to each other at lunch, and defended each other when the older kids decided to flex their muscle. They almost always lost but it was the enduring kinship that mattered.

One day in in the spring of 1938, their class was having lunch outside. Still hungry, Verdi went back to get some more spaghetti when he felt a lump hit his back. He looked at the ground and saw a half-chewed wad of spaghetti lying at his feet. Anger coursed through Verdi’s veins, and before he could discern who it was that threw the pasta, he shouted, “Lotta cibo!” For the uninitiated, that’s food fight according to Google’s babel fish.

Verdi dug his hand into the pot of pasta and threw it with every ounce of energy he could muster. The flying spaghetti monster hit Quinto who was nibbling on the last of his gnocchi. He looked up and saw Verdi wasted from the effort, panting as he clutched his chest. Without the proper edible ammunition, Quinto requisitioned some pebbles near his feet to function as food. He threw the rocks at Verdi who then threw rocks back at Quinto.

Verdi went on to be a stage actor for a time, and Quinto became a photographer who used a variety of techniques to get the shot. Verdi made sure all of his fellow actors reviled men of Quinto’s ilk, and he told them that they should throw rocks if they ever encounter him.

From A-listers to D-listers, hatred is widespread and bullets have started to replace rocks. Just ask that guy who had eight kids.

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