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'.