In Which I Defend Kate Middleton

I don’t know the Duchess of Cambridge; I have never met nor in any way interacted with her. She seems like a pleasant enough woman, but could be deplorable in person – I don’t know, and how would I? Neither do I care. She doesn’t affect my life in any particularly direct fashion, the usual arguments about the cost to the public on the institution of the monarchy notwithstanding.

But were The Man and I on a private holiday and I happened to lower my top whilst sunbathing, I wouldn’t expect pictures of me to be all over the internet and in shitty celebrity “magazines” and red-top rags. Why do the rules change for her?

Yeah, I’m not in the public eye (thank God). Obviously the former Miss Middleton is, and one might say quite deliberately (although it’s also arguable that she just happened to fall in love with someone, as, y’know, people occasionally do). So what? What has this fact got to do with how she and her husband spend their private recreational time?

Slimey shitbike Michael O’Kane, of the equally shitbiked The Irish Daily Star, feels that abusing Mrs Cambridge’s (Wales’? Windsor’s? I have no idea of how the conventions of surnaming such individuals work) right to a personal life is defensible on the grounds that:

The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga.


[Publishing photos of her with her top off is a] service to our readers…Of course people are going to be interested in this.

I’m not sure whether this “explanation” nauseates me more than that of the spectacularly vapid Closer rag, whose editor “justified” publishing the Duchess’ semi-nakedness for the so-called reason of “celebrating a young couple in love” or some such faff.

Whatever the case, O’Kane’s comments about celebrity pissed me off no end. I should disclose the fact that, beyond a few writers, actors and actual-musicians-not-churned-out-predictable-non-singers that I like, I have no interest in the cult of celebrity. I never have, and I never will. I simply could not care remotely less about the lives of Lady Gaga or Rhianna, to use his examples.

But for whatever reasons, other people do. Fine. People are entitled to their own interests, however much they may mystify my ivory towers complex. Also, yes – much as it pains me to agree with O’Kane – Kate ex-Middleton should not be treated any differently from any other “celebrity”.

And this is the bloody problem with the whole thing.

Celebrities are, apparently shockingly, people. Yes! Really! Oh. Em. GEE!!! SHOCKHORRORWHODHAVETHOUGHTITEH?

O’Kuntane alleges that Kate:

…partially disrobe[d] on a balcony where it can be seen from a public road and she’s stunned now.

Oh, just right sod off, would you? These pictures were taken a fucking kilometre away from where the poor cow was innocently sunbathing. That’s not public; that’s a premeditated, thoroughly deliberate intrusion with a bastard of a long-range lens. I don’t know who’s the bigger arsehole here – the twat photographer that shot the pictures, or tossers like O’Kane and Pieau for using and spreading them.

If this isn’t a version of privacy intrusion, then what is? Where is the line drawn? News helicopters, because (somehow) they’re granted airspace, filming someone on a private island or something? Spy satellites acting for the media? Google Streetview filming through your window? What a load of bullshit.

And then Ms Pieau’s claim that there are “more intimate” pictures of Mr and Mrs Cambridge (if that’s who they are these days). If that means what it sounds like it means, is the paparazzi photographer responsible condoning non-consensual pornography? I take it it’s okay for any couple to have their sex lives sold to rags, then. That wouldn’t break any laws or conventions on individual rights.

Oh. Wait.

A couple having sex is not of any interest to the public. Because, you know…most adults in contented relationships have sex. In this case, a cynic (moi? Of course not…) might argue the entire point of the 18-month-ish long, apparently happy union is to have sex. Because apparently our great nation needs an heir(ess), yay. The birth of said child may apparently be newsworthy, but his or her means of production is not. People eat toast. People read crap blogs like this. And PEOPLE SUNBATHE AND/OR HAVE SEX. Wow-wee.

What is in the public interest, then, regarding sex? Arguably nothing – if, say, a politician and his/her secretary are having an affair, it might be a matter only for them and their respective partners, children etc. On the other hand, though, does that politician bang publicly on about “family values” or how disgusting s/he find deceit? If so, an affair may cast aspersions on their (rather self-righteous) character, and thus be worthy of being in the public awareness.

But (a) pictures of the act are not required. Proof, you say? Confront those involved if you must. This nonsense has no place on the front of some shite chipwrapper. And (b), this argument doesn’t apply at all in this case, because, y’know, they’re the married couple. Sigh.

I don’t like Rhianna or Lady Gaga, to once again use O’Kane’s examples (I have less antipathy towards the latter for at least being original-ish, despite her bastardisation of an iconic song from an excellent band. Please don’t mention the fact that she cites them as influences.) But whatever my view of them – as with Ms Middleton/Wales/Cambridge/Windsor – and regardless of their choice to be in the limelight, no one should have to deal with an intrusion into their personal life events to which they do not explicitly consent. How would you like it?

Of course, all this begs the question: who’s to blame? The scandal shitrags for publishing this kind of crap, or us mere mortals for apparently having an appetite for buying it?

Whatever the case, the human race isn’t always something one can be proud to be a member of.

Just heard on the news that Mick O’Kane has been suspended from duty “pending investigation”. This amused me considerably.

Though in fairness, one does to have to question to what level the decision – and even a lot of the foregoing material here – is hypocritical. After all, the proprietor of the group that owns The Irish Daily Star is not the best known bastion of sexual purity in the world…

10 comments on “In Which I Defend Kate Middleton

  1. I think I saw somewhere that the British part owner of the Irish Daily Star will try to shut the paper down, publicly because of the outrage at such actions, privately because said person can be sued to hell and back, as can everyone associated with that paper.

    What got me was the Italian rag that said “We’ll be printing a 24 page spread of the pictures”. I’m sorry but how many pics of someone’s breast does anybody need to see?

    I really don’t understand the obsession people have with celebrity either, feature them if they do something significant fine, but I don’t need every detail of their life shown, along with positive/negative critique (depending on the rag and the current position of celeb in the mythical rankings)

    • Apparently Desmond was “making it a priority” to shut it down, though I heard that a few weeks ago and haven’t heard anything more since. Much as I hate the rag and rags like it, I do think that’s a wee bit OTT, though I take your point about a possible lawsuit.

      Totally with you on the Italian 24 page spread. She only has two breasts, for Christ’s sake.

      And I absolutely agree with your final paragraph; I’m all for highlighting worthwhile or significant events, but for some reason I just can’t help thinking that sunbathing isn’t one of them!

  2. Dear Closer Magazine, Thank you for showing us the size of our future Queen’s boobs. Our future King will now show you the size of his balls…

    Seriously, I hope he sues them to bankruptcy, and goes on to hammer anyone else who publishes the pics; and I wish our own news media would stop giving them all so much publicity.

    Would these people publish pictures of Mohammed in the nude? Not on your life: their buildings would be burnt down; but they get away with it with our royals because they know our royals and the monarchists who love them are too civilised to take direct action. Wonder what would happen if all the ex-pat Brits decided to storm French embassies across the world in protest? We live in a screwed up society, that’s about the only thing I can conclude…

    • Look at the latest round of protests against something about Mohammed! A satirical video about the royals would hardly result in quite the same thing…

      I completely agree about suing them. I hope St James’ Palace twats the idiots.

      • Yes; have been thinking about this, and, as whichever other F magazine it was has demonstrated, I was wrong: they would indeed publish pics of Mohammed in the nude — all, apparently, in the name of free speech or a free press or whatever. Clearly, this is why we need free speech, to enable the French to embarrass royals and to enrage Muslims. La la la…

  3. Although, like you, I’m not exactly the biggest supporter of the royal family, fundamentally if they all want to dance naked round the moon (except Prince Philip because that would require universal brain bleach) then they have every right to do so.

    Is it my imagination or if I decided I wanted to take naked pictures of people would I not be done for voyeurism offences or do the papparazzi have a free pass on that?

    • I very much doubt it’s your imagination, though I’m slightly scared to test it out 😉 Perhaps I’ll enrol in the journalism course at the local college and then I can have a go with apparent impunity!

  4. Agree with your piece. I don’t have much interest in the royal family, and am not greatly excited by celebrities in magazines/news – but as you say they are people too, whatever your opinion about them. There is the argument that if you choose that lifestyle then you must know that you will get this kind of attention and certainly to some extent want it – but I don’t think many royals/celebs want their private nude holiday snaps in papers. There needs to be a line drawn. Maybe that line should be – no nude photos allowed publication unless the subject gives written consent – and then the ones who really want to flash their bits for the world to see (who usually do it very openly anyway in pre-arranged photo shoots etc) will get the attention they want and the ones who don’t want it get to keep their privacy and dignity. I know that there’ll always be journos and photographers who’ll take pictures regardless of this consent but at least no rags would be willing to publish for fear of legal action.

    • I think that sounds like a very reasonable idea. Hacks should obtain permission before taking…er…”intimate”…shots, but at the very least, go to the personnel concerned immediately after and check if they will tolerate publication (I’m guessing many wouldn’t!) The law needs reforming and a lot of clarification in this area.

  5. Hello Karen its good to see you back to blogging, I’ve missed you!!

    Anyway I’m in full agreement with you, this intrusion into Kate and Wills’ life is awful, it would be for any “celeb”. I think NullFuture and you are right, if the person has done something noteworthy and it’s in the public domain then of course that should be reported, but there’s no way something like this is in the public interest _at all_.

    Poor woman, I hope their legal action is successful, though I suppose the damage has already been done :o(

    Anyway again it’s good to see you back!!

    Best wishes

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