Back in July, you might remember that entire tabloid phone-hacking thing, which personally I found horrifying but considering the state of what's considered news, did not expect would actually be a thing.
Then whoa boy was I wrong. And in the way that has been building pretty much since de facto open season was declared on any and all parts of a public person's life--and the definition of that is subject to the question 'will it sell'.
On a certain level, I get why people aren't terribly sympathetic to celebrities being grumpy about having their pictures taken. When your yearly income is more than most people make in their lives, it's almost like an even trade; you get lots of money, but I get to humiliate you publicly if at all possible, but by proxy, so I don't feel guilty about it.
Which lets face it, the majority of the stuff that sells well is really, the equivalent of a lot of people getting together to pay someone to stalk someone else until something personally humiliating occurs so everyone can laugh at them with society's blessing. If you are not thinking of Britney Spears right now, please do so.
In other words the public's right to know does and should extend to whether or not Chris Brown's beating the shit out of women since, and I could be wrong, that's kinda dangerous for women who may or may not date Chris Brown and also for women who, say, exist on this planet. It's dangerous because domestic violence is a massive problem that gets women killed. Strangely enough, I do not see Hugh Grant's girlfriend's baby such a public concern that she needs to be stalked about it. I see that stalking as a serious concern, but if you stalk while carrying a camera, it seems to be okay.
In general, in countries with free press, the overall feeling is--and I know there are exceptions to this by county, by area, by city, by person, and a lot of variations in between depending on national history--to err on the side of too much rather than not enough. To have a free press, the price we pay is to live with it in all its excesses for the sake of its necessity. This is very popular if you are in absolutely no danger of being a target and really like gossip, because sure, they have money, but you can call them a whore and I don't know if you noticed the examples I used are women because overall they tend to bring all the readers to the yard.
It's not that men don't get hit in just as nasty ways, but there seems to be a more varied range that rarely includes their whoredom, their slutdom, their trampdom, their bitchdom, their inability to keep their legs closed, their babymamaness, their weight (because of a man), their weight loss (because of a man), their bad hair days (not hot enough), their nights clubbing (slutty), their bodies (not good enough), their plastic surgery (fake), their drinking and drugs and partying too much or not enough, too dowdy, too revealing (too slutty), too artificial, but sweatpants and no eyeliner are just pathetic while picking up some squash at the local market (secret lesbian??????).
I am perfectly willing to admit that some people love the attention, and for them, it's a conscious choice made because, well, it pays well. That's not a defacto yes to run anyone off the road in a tragic event because they were out with their boyfriend, though I'm probably overstating it, no one's actually died yet because the paparazzi chased them--oh wait.
I keep coming back to the thing about the phone hacking, because seriously, I never thought that would be an actual problem beyond some firings and a slap on the wrist. And neither did they. When the state of the media at any point leads the public to be surprised that blatant, disgusting breaches of privacy are not only being acknowledged, but like, treated as crimes, the media should reconsider its positioning.
And the public shouldn't be so surprised, so shocked, that someone thought they deserved to be protected. The public should also consider admitting that it's really fun to watch someone be bullied, chased, and harassed; it's not a crime, after all, and everyone loves this shit. Sorry, I mean, they like keeping up on the news. It sounds better that way.
This may be happening in the UK, but international news is global, incestuous, and three degrees of Murdoch in blood, money, or pun. In a really horrifying way, the media--and I say this with loathing--is most to blame for being opportunistic, money-hungry, and amoral, but to be fair, they've worked very hard to define themselves that way, so no surprise. But in all this time of what the media and tabloids can and can't do, it's helpful to note that--in a surprise twist--questions are being asked about the people who give them their information. You know, police officers, hospitals, public service institutions, government officials, because hello, the tabloids aren't leading these frail innocents into temptation and if only the wicked media stopped, the poor naive babies wouldn't dream of selling out their patients, their clients, or the public trust. Sure, reporters are there to buy it, but that doesn't follow anyone was obligated to name a price.
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