Monday, 23 May 2011


Impossible to avoid the footballer and model story - my favourite footballer as it happens. It's a bit like the bishop and the actress in terms of punchline. But the territory itself is interesting, if only because of the long discussed distinction - if there is any - between matters of public interest and matters of interest to the public.

There are 100% libertarians who speak in favour of complete press freedom. Do they mean there should be no privacy at all? All positions are defensible if you defend them intelligently. It may be easy enough to talk of 'the rich and famous gagging the press', but my surmise is that it is only the rich and famous who would be of interest to the press. I can't quite see our local paper running with the story, Postman Geoffrey having it off with Postwoman Daisy!!!

It was also amusing the other day to hear Kelvin Mackenzie repeating how ridiculous it was that 'out-of-touch seventy-year old judges should decide what we read'. If Mr McKenzie (aged 65) is in touch it is, by his account, only for another five years. I will be seventy in eight years myself, though I am glad to see Kelvin is ahead of me in that race. How much more in touch must I be!

So the rich and famous, who are the only people likely to be of interest to the press and the public, are to have no privacy. Frankly, the thought doesn't bother me too much. I don't care deeply about the rich and famous , not, at any rate, by virtue of their wealth or fame. My favourite footballer remains my favourite footballer, but, in terms of wealth and fame, he should simply have given the press the story they wanted then kept silence as far as possible. I don't know whether he consulted his wife before taking out an injunction but he'd better have. In any case, the gain is all the model's, not his. Watch out for her new TV series, next year or the year after.

The thought doesn't bother me deeply but the sheer volume of nauseating piety (are you still there, Kelvin?) does. I'm with the French on this. I don't think this should be a matter of great public interest. People have affairs. They sort their affairs out or they don't. Grow up and get over it.

It reminds me of that time in Budapest back in Summer 1989, when Hungarians started producing porn and selling it in the street, crying: Genuine, Hungarian porn! It was clearly a matter of principle that the porn was home produced.

Patriotism and the popular press. Bedfellows, I'd say, but the pun is tedious.

I'll find a picture to go with this later. There is a nice t-shirt with the legend: 'undulating prurience'.


Kathleen Jones said...

Good comments! But my objections have nothing to do with privacy. Personally I don't think that injunctions of any kind (and particularly super-injunctions) should be used to cover up wrong-doing. It should never become a criminal offence to tell the truth. If you're going to have an extra-marital affair, you have to be prepared to take the consequences!

George S said...

Well, yes, Kathleen, I agree about super-injunctions, but is a big newspaper story a necessary consequence of an affair? The consequence is what happens between those involved. The rest is like asking people to go around with signs around their necks. As long as people don't mind doing that for every misdemeanour. I don't think my footballer was a publicity hound courting the press, or making statements about fidelity.

I should really re-title this blog 'Gaggs'.

panther said...

Have to agree George : as long as the person has not appointed themselves as a guardian of public morality, it really isn't our business. I have no concern about this event because I am neither Mrs Giggs nor Ms Thomas. Part of me is a good old-fashioned nosey-parker, but I don't think my good old noseyparkerism should be pandered to.

Anonymous said...

If you choose to cheat on your wife with an ambitious 'model' stroke actress/celebrity, and the model/celebrity chooses to speak of it, if you think this is a matter for the courts and a privacy issue, you are mistaken.

If Mister Man U didn't want the world to know he was shagging Imogen Thomas, surely he should have suppressed the urge to do it and stuck to his missus?

I have no sympathy for multi-millionaire boy-men who get wanked over just coz they can kick a ball, and get special treatment as a result thereof.

The man should grow up. The reality is he doesn't want his wife to know because he is a cosseted little boy..

Ryan Biggs

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, hold off on the self-righteousness, please. Plenty of journalists spilling this story with ill-disguised Schadenfreude are also, shall we say, consorting with persons other than their official partner. Plenty of readers lapping it up are doing likewise. or have done likewise, or would do likewise if they got the chance.

I re-iterate what i said before : other people's business is exactly that, their business. Not saying Giggs acted honourably, just saying I'm sick of it being considered "public interest." If he'd been publicly lecturing/preaching to other people about their sexual morality, then by all means he should be outed as a hypocrite. Last time I looked, he was known primarily as a footballer.

George S said...

There is a lot of Anonimity here. There is no need to shout tabloid at me, Ryan Biggs (I quote: Mr Man U...shagging...urge...boy men...wanked over...cossetted little boy). I get the general idea of anger and contempt.

As far as I am concerned there are three people really involved in this. The fact is that two of them are famous. Woman B is famous for winning a beauty contest and being on telly, Man A famous for being a footballer, nothing else. Woman A (his wife) is not famous. I am not sure whether Woman B is a completely innocent party in this, and therefore not a famous, wanked-over cossetted little woman-girl shagging a man she knows to be married. She might not be. Forgive me, I just wanted to use your terms for a moment.

It seems to me that the most likely innocent party in this is Woman A and her two children. I say it seems to me because I know nothing about the relationships within the Giggs household and actually have no more desire to know than I do about the couple next door. If I did know and wanted to put notices up round town I expect they too would object. As I hope might others.

George S said...

And here is a transcript, without comment, of the court judgement:

panther said...

Not sure how I came up as "Anonymous"-the second one, not the Ryan Biggs one.

And Ryan Biggs, if you want to shout about morality, perhaps you'd like to consider the morality of quite a few supporters the other day singing sneery songs about Giggs and his alleged paramour, etc etc right in front of his children. Something is SICK in our society when that happens, and it is stoked up by all this hypocritical pontificating in the papers which you for one appear to think is a good thing. Do you really think that all those aforementioned supporters are innocent angels ? Come on. . .

J. Marles said...

What I think this really comes down to is the tabloid press's financial interests are under attack. After all they have an unimpeachable right to make money from other people's dirty laundry and private suffering. Every time I see a tabloid hack complaining about this I'm reminded of the phrase "living off immoral earnings." In other news, a spokesman for the pitchfork and flaming torch industry has been claiming the government has no right to limit its ability to stir up angry mobs.

George S said...

Hacks are called hacks for a reason, JM. They hack a living. Morality doesn't enter into it: a snappy short dramatic story with, ideally, the same characters going round and round under different names, does.

Of course they wouldn't write it if people didn't buy it. The pitchfork and flaming torch industry has never experienced industrial decline.

George S said...

Marina Hyde in The Guardian: