THE CELEBRITY-FREE DIET
Last year saw me sink to depressing lows: bingeing late into the evening, consuming thoughtlessly and voraciously, searching out new sources to sate the insatiable.
New year 2012. I needed to go on the mother of all diets.
Unlike the last umpteen new years, this resolution had nothing to do with gym memberships or shrinking dress sizes. This year I would be cutting out something far more troublesome than the daily chocolate bar.
This year I would stop reading celebrity gossip.
Of course ‘reading’ has as much to do with celebrity gossip as Europe has to do with fiscal control. It’s all about the looking. The voyeuristic pleasure of peeking into the lives of those we most admire and lust after. And I was looking far too often.
I didn’t care where I look my pleasure – from shots of celeb’s leery nights out or intrusive snaps of their kids – the pictures were all there for my titillation. I knew it was a brain drain. I knew there was more intellectual sustenance in an average episode of Two and a Half Men but, hey, it was a harmless treat, like a vodka and tonic before 3pm.
If I ever questioned the moral validity of what I was doing, the argument probably went something like this…
Famous person X is wildly attractive and successful. He/she has a flawless life. I have paid to see their films. I have played a part in their success. They owe me (kind of like a tax). I’ll claim that tax in salacious shots of their private life, thank you very much.
Repugnant isn’t it?
I’m guessing my subconscious had been screaming that all along, but it wasn’t until the UK’s Leveson Inquiry started to roll that my culpability finally gave me a slap round the chops.
Here’s an extract from Sienna Miller’s testimony from the inquiry:
“…for a number of years I was relentlessly pursued by about 10 to 15 men almost daily, and anything from being spat at or verbally abused. I think the incentive is really to get as strong a reaction as possible. They seemed to go to any lengths to try to upset you, which is really difficult to deal with.”
And another from Hugh Grant:
“One [of my] girlfriend’s six year old child was so traumatised by the constant and frightening attention of paparazzi that he ended up a nervous wreck with nails bitten down to the quick. The girlfriend had to move out of London, taking the child out of his school.”
The Leveson Inquiry may focus on UK media outlets, but its testimonies highlight the lengths tabloids the world over will go to get their “money shot”.
Not the red carpet ones. Not the ones where the subject is happy to be photographed in a professional capacity. No, the nasty ones, like those printed by The Sun of a naked Prince Harry. Rupert Murdoch’s rag posited that titillating an entire nation with Harry’s bare arse was in the ‘public interest’ (which now seems to mean throwing the doors open to anything the public may want to have a sticky beak at).
How on earth have we allowed people to be stalked and violated like this?
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