It’s been a while since I wrote an article for OpenBytes. So I’m to look at a subject which is all over the news at the moment, but in this case take a look at it from a slightly different perspective.
Firstly, I have no interest in the Royal family. The daily trials and tribulations offer nothing of interest however the recent Royal debacle does pose some rather interesting questions which should be explored further.
As Google statistics show, Kate’s pictures are hugely popular – the consumer is hungry for details on the very matter some people are shouting from the rooftops proclaiming gross injustice.
Lets get something straight, forgetting the righs and wrongs of taking the photographs in the first place, for somebody like Kate, it should be a given that your time is never private. A decision to remove ones outer garments is ill advised if you are in the public interest. The fact that she did with the Palace seemly surprised that there was a photographer waiting in the undergrowth a considerable distance away, to me seems more like damage limitation by playing the martyr rather than genuine surprise. Its playing the martyr that we now look at.
The Diana Card
The accident involving Diana was a tragedy without doubt. What I think is rather distastful is the Palace seemingly trying to use that as a rallying cry to the martyrdom of Kate and thus taking some of the sting out of the topless tail (figuratively speaking)
Kate is a celebrity and like a celebrity is exposed to a media frenzy of interest. This latest Royal debacle is something I’m sure most big name celebrities experience on a daily basis and not something which they would seek to relate to a tragic accident involving Diana. The fact that Kate is a royal, is the only similarity here and the web is filled with stories about celebrities being chased by a merciless press – none of which seek to draw similarities with the tragedy that befell Diana. There’s a saying from the BBC Comedy show Red Dwarf:
If you’re going to eat tuna, expect bones.
And if we ignore the rights and wrongs of the photographs being taken in the first place, it does make a valid point (albeit not as it was originally intended) – If you are in the public eye, you can expect no mercy from a press feeding the demands of the consumer.
But what of the freedom of speech brigade?
One online group that as far as I can see have remained rather silent are the freedom of speech brigade. Long has been their stance that the Internet should be a medium where expression and freedom are sacred and censorship should be a concept quite alien. Where’s the cacophony of outrage at the Palace and its attempts to block publication and seek legal recourse for the photographs? The photographs have been taken, that’s a fact and now they have, where’s the outrage at the freedom of those who want to see/publish online? Could it be that the backlash from a duplicitous consumer who wants to see but also wants to be “outraged” puts them in fear of damaging their own agenda?
I have no interest in those photographs. I can think of better use of my bandwidth than looking at photo’s of Kate. If everyone had my opinion then the photographs would be worthless and whilst published would be of little concern to everyone. The hypocrisy of the consumer feeds the creation of this type of journalism and whilst everyone is “up in arms” in regards to Kate, maybe the more serious issue and one the consumer doesn’t seem to post with the same vigour, is the phone hacking scandal that’s hit the UK press.
How many times have we seen this “outrage” in the past? How many people have expressed disgust at the press, yet still it continues? Maybe because people shouting about poor conduct in some way vindicates their own guilt at enjoying these press intrusions? Where are these people when we look at intrusive surveillance online? Where’s their moralistic views then? Do they even care? Of course not, they are merely looking for vindication for their own “guilty” pleasures and in this case its Kate. You know the Royals will be photographed again and we can wait with bated breath for the next surge of moralistic viewpoints from a hypocritical consumer.
The whole fiasco has highlighted one thing though. Even the Royal family have no power over the World Wide Web and probably will increase the longevity of this story merely by their protestations to it.