HAVE YOU SURRENDERED YOUR PRIVACY?
Last week it was cheeky Harry, this week it’s booby Kate, is there no end to the Royal flesh fest or the circus that surrounds their attempts to ban the publication of ‘exposures’ immortalising their exposure? And, most importantly, do we care?
Viewing figures would suggest that we do.
Yet, for generations, the public have been divided on this issue; does being a celebrity come with a compulsory side effect; the lens of a paparazzo? Are celebrities right to court the limelight when it suits them only to shun it when it does not or should they just suck it up? Opinions differ considerably on this, one of the most controversial of topics.
Well, the future King of England and his missus believe that they have a right to privacy just like the rest of us mortals. Indeed, they are doing everything they can to ban the blurry and grainy snaps of Kate’s ‘chestal’ region. Yes, I, like thousands before me, lasciviously copped a peak at Kate’s ‘assets’, mostly just to ‘see’ what the fuss was all about. And well, I have to say, I don’t know what the fuss was all about. They’re just another pair of breasts, they just happen to belong to the future Queen Consort. Now, Kate would probably say “but they’re my boobs and nobody should profit from pictures of them, but me”, and she’d have a point. Ultimately, if the plebs of the world are going to leer at her naked form then the girl should at least get a kick back, no?
It’s most certainly a bone of contention. After all, how would you feel if somebody took pictures of you or your partner and published them for the world to see? The reality is, most people would feel affronted by the indignation yet, somewhat ironically, most other people wouldn’t give a rat’s hairy behind to see naked pictures of average Joe. Apparently, it’s the simple fact that these appendages are Kate’s. But should this really matter? Does it really matter? I bet the majority of people reading this right now have concluded that they have no desire to see Kate’s assets, and no I’m not counting you blokes, at least the majority of you because I believe, like me, you’d like to cop a peek just out of curiosity (mine being merely research for this article of course). And I’m wondering if that’s just it; plain old curiosity. That age old fascination we all have with titillation. How we become obsessed by something when we can’t have it but once it’s revealed to us, well, it tends to lose its mystique. This appears to be particularly the case for most women who are quite partial to the sexiness of the semi nakedness of the male form but expose it in all its glory and, somehow, it’s not as sexy anymore.
Am I right women?
Whilst men? Well, you’re all just naughty naughty boys; why not cop a look if the opportunity presents itself, hey? If page 3 is anything to go by. Oh no, sorry, that’s just your appreciation of the female form. It’s okay, the girls don’t truly blame you, they understand that you have no choice in the matter and that you’re merely acting on gene programming and years of evolution during which you’ve been brain washed into seeking out the forbidden, the concealed, the nakedness and the sacred feminine all in your biological urge to spread your seed and perpetuate the species, and that doesn’t always mean with one partner but multiples. After all, you’re not going to get much of a crop sowing in the same field now are you? Indeed, you can get too much of a ‘thing’ (good or bad) and we all know how men are prone to boredom when something becomes just a tad too easy. Although that old adage of ‘Treat em’ mean and keep em’ keen’ is these days synonymous with both of the sexes. Yes, you girlies are not totally as innocent as you used to be. The days of the shy and retiring single female who sat in her petty coat with her chaperone eagerly awaiting gentlemen callers are long gone, today’s female is much more aggressive, she knows what she wants and generally wants it now.
Anyway, I’m digressing. I was talking about, well, um, Kate’s ‘hooters’ (sorry about that but I’ve challenged myself to see how many words I can come up with in this article to describe that part of the female anatomy). And whilst on the subject, in the nicest possible way, taking into account the graininess and the blurriness of the pictures, Kate, I’m sorry, but to me they appeared somewhat saggy for a woman of your age. Oops, sorry. I guess it’s another one of those moments where I should think something but not say it despite the fact that it’s true (in my humble opinion).
There is a point here, I promise, I’m not just leering.
My point being; if Kate’s boobs are no different to those of millions of other women then what’s the fascination with hers or with any other celebrity nakedness? I mean everybody is well educated (at least I’d like to believe so) enough to understand that celebrities are not gods, they are but of flesh and blood like the rest of us, they just happen to work in an industry that requires them to perpetually broadcast their likeness, yet when something like this happens a whole furore ensues. I’m guessing this is all due to that whole ‘forbidden’ thing again. Kate is of a certain ‘standing’ and this kind of ‘exposure’ is somewhat unbecoming of a woman of her repute. Then again, it is for most women, surely. No? But is it Kate’s ‘standing’ that makes these sensational pictures, well, sensational? The fact that because of her ‘standing’ we wouldn’t expect to see Kate ‘unveiled’ but, then again, we wouldn’t expect to see most women unveiled, well, at least outside of a pleasure parlour/club.
Anyway, I’ve concluded that, in light of the above, there’s only one way to make this kind of thing go away; everybody should expose themselves thus removing the whole nakedness taboo thing consequently all of this unpleasantness would go away. What do you think?
Okay, I guess it’s not the most practical of solutions but it would certainly demystify the whole nakedness thing.
And what of Harry, he flashed his sexy nakedness in its full frontal entirety (okay his hands were strategically placed) only a few weeks ago. Yes, the second in line to throne decided to take a trip to Vegas, during which, like most hot blooded heterosexuals, he decided to hook up with some completely random girls and initiate a game of ‘naked pool’. And no, I’m not talking about skinny dipping but the game with a ‘table’, a stick and some balls, although, now that I think about it, I can’t help but wonder just how awkward it must have been for Harry who, in all of his nakedness, would have had nowhere to place such balls. I guess he asked one of the girls to hold them for him.
Actually, if the pictures are anything to go by, Harry did a pretty good job at holding them himself whilst getting ‘papped’ in the process. And thus, in less time it took for him to unzip his zipper; Harry’s full frontals were being distributed around the globe. Cue more Royal scandal.
What gets me about this is the fact that most ‘non-royal’ hot blooded, heterosexuals enjoy nothing more but to lark around (especially after having taken a few on board – beers that is) and snap pictures of each other in all their mooning glory, some truly adventurous males actually enjoy beaming such eclipses from windows of cars to other unsuspecting drivers, passengers, commuters. These ‘jokers’ are simply written off as ‘pratts’ or ‘idiots’ larking around. Some people, the less uptight among us, actually find the whole practice somewhat amusing as opposed to, well, dinner off putting. Yet, flash some Royal cheekiness and the world gets its knickers in a twist; there are injunctions against newspapers, stories about injunctions in newspapers, television programs about injunctions and, yes you’ve guessed it, stories about injunctions about injunctions, whilst all the while feeding the flame of the whole sordid story.
Add to that some viral YouTube video and you’re done. In this case, the very people who ‘exposed’ Harry (if you excuse the pun) TMZ decided to make a YouTube video about the whole event whilst not losing the opportunity to mock the second in line to the throne whilst they were at it. If you’re interested in seeing the video (that’s right, it is available to the whole world regardless of whether or not the images are printed in the press), you can view it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-vPB-z_7nc or, even more disturbing, there’s actually a website called Kate topless (not the actual address name but it wouldn’t take long for you to find it via your trusty search engine.
Now, I don’t know about you but, for me, this kind of stuff comes with the territory. If you put yourself in the limelight don’t complain that everybody can see you. Just like the aforementioned ‘pratts’, if you decide to pull your pants down and expose your flour white ass to the world and some bright spark decides to snap a picture and then publish it to, say, Facebook or record a video and post it to YouTube whilst simultaneously branding you a ‘pratt’ then that’s clearly your fault for giving them the opportunity to do so.
Now, I know most bleeding hearts will insist that this is unfair. I’m talking about Harry here because you bet your bottom dollar that not many were too traumatised for the pratt in the car, right? Yet, Harry behaved no differently. He’s in a hotel with a bunch of ‘strangers’ and he decides to play ‘naked pool’? What else did he think was going to happen? The world is full of opportunists. Who on earth would miss out on snapping a series of high profile pictures? Blimey, I wouldn’t inflict my nakedness on my family forget a bunch of people I didn’t even know. Now really, Harry. What were you thinking? Whatever it was, it wasn’t with your brain. You’re a very naughty naughty boy. And the thing is, we do love you for it. A website poll for the same media group that published Harry’s pictures revealed that the majority thought he was much ‘cooler’ and ‘sexier’ for it. Naturally, the house of Windsor didn’t quite feel the same.
Like it or not, if you’re a celebrity you’re naïve if you think you can lead a normal life. You cannot. That’s because as long as readers and viewers are interested in stories about celebrity nakedness, editors will continue to commission photographs. It’s that old line of ‘supply and demand’. If there were no demand then they’d be no supply because, believe it or not, editors don’t enjoy spending thousands on acquiring the rights to images that will net them zilch. On the contrary, they invest in these images because they know that every day folk, obsessed with celebrity, will spend their hard earned cash to see them in whichever form. The more ‘unusual’ the better.
So enough of the whining already because, if you’re a celebrity, you’re going to attract a lot of interest, it’s as simple as that. Chances are, unless you were born into it, at some point of your career, you courted all of the media interest you could muster because you needed the exposure but only a fool would think that once you’ve opened Pandora’s Box, you’d be able to easily close it once more. You can’t. Not until all interest in you dies and if that happens then, generally, so will your career or your reign for that matter for without subjects who do you reign over’?
I wrote about this a while ago; the media make you and they can break you. At the time I was writing it in context with how, as Brits, we like to build up and then topple down personalities. This time the practice is universal because editors are universal and they’re in the business of ‘publishing’ and they’ll continue to publish for as long as the general public buys and watches. So, if you’re feeling incensed about the whole Kate, Harry or any other celebrity picture gate then have a chat with your fellow citizen, and maybe even yourself, for it is they who are ultimately invading the privacy of each and every celebrity by peering into the magazines, peeping into their TV screens and peeking at their internet browser.
As for the celebrities; enough of the outrage already; this is a life you choose to lead, that same life carries all types of risks that the average pleb would not be exposed to. If you can’t hack the risk then get out or, on the other hand, if you can’t hack the risk then don’t take it. Kate is married to the future king of England, son of Diana. If ever there was a paragon example of how devastatingly intrusive the press can be then she is most certainly it, yet…
What was Kate Middleton thinking? Did she really think, that wherever she may be in the world that she could take her top off outside and escape the ever roaming and zooming lens of the paparazzi? I mean, really? How naive can you be? You checked out privacy the moment you married the future king of England. You know how the world turns, you know how the media works, you of all people should know how tenacious the paparazzi are, after all, it is their livelihood, they’re going to do everything they can to land the shot that will net them the next major payment on their mortgage. Are you really naive enough to think they’re going to ‘respect your privacy’? If there’s a danger of getting your breasts immortalised in pixels then don’t expose them. Otherwise, roll the dice and take your chances. Because injunction or not, the pixels are being/have been disseminated around the globe now and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. Seeking and even winning an injunction in the papers is not going to protect you against the millions who have already viewed and saved these pictures to their hard drives, ready for sharing now and even at a later date when you least expect it.
Indeed, if you haven’t seen the pictures yet and would like to then just send me an email, I’m offering quick peeks for a fee. I’m joking of course please don’t send ‘outraged’ emails. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
I know that each time I write and post an article to this blog I’m putting a bit of me on the web. In fact, if you Google my name now there are pages and pages of articles and details about me. Some of them are of my own doing but others are part of the marketing snowball effect (where you publish to one site and it propagates to others that may find it of interest). This comes with anything I do, be that as a writer, a company director or anything else. Every day, billions of snippets of data are published to the web, much of it in its basic form means nothing but there are companies and ‘robots’ whose sole purpose is to sift, collate and republish data for profit. Make no mistake, in 2012, marketing is king.
Let me give you an example of that. Facebook has been dubbed the third largest country on earth. Take a few seconds to absorb that. 3rd largest country, now consider if you will that I’m a marketer with a global product, who would not want that type of audience? Facebook’s unprecedented success lies in the fact that, from its infancy, it was able to tap into the neurosis of a world allegedly obsessed with privacy (try not to scoff at that). Also consider, if a global company like coca cola came up to you and asked you to fill in a form with all of your personal details, such as age, names of your friends and family, your preferences, their preferences and so on, so that they could better market their products to you, what would you say?
Most normal people would bulk at the idea of sharing their personal details with a corporation.
Enter Facebook’s genius; a medium where we all willingly upload all of our personal information in our narcissistic quest to ‘share’ with the people in our world. To us, we’re letting our friends know we’re in a relationship, to Facebook advertisers, they’re now able to ‘target’ their latest lingerie on Valentine’s day to all people who are in or have recently entered into a relationship. To us, we’re just filling out our personal profile, to a Facebook advertiser, they’re able to ‘target’ specific age groups with their product by town, region, country, and so on. So, for those of you who were traumatised at rumours that Facebook would become a chargeable service, I can allay those fears. It’s highly unlikely that Facebook will ever charge for its service because it doesn’t need to. It makes much more revenue out of luring you to a free account, having you upload all of your personal details and then ‘selling’ this to the marketing department of any of earth’s brands, from multinationals to one man bands. It takes seconds to ‘target’ you with ‘relevant’ products.
The moral of the story is, you don’t have to be a writer, artist or celebrity of any kind to have information about you published and seen by a bunch of strangers. In 2012, much of your vital information, such as name, address, who you live with and your average household income is available with just a few keystrokes on a keyboard (regardless of Facebook profile). Add a credit card to that and there isn’t much an absolute stranger cannot find out about you. I wrote about something very similar in my article STEALING YOUR IDENTITY IS EASY.
These days with the technological advancements made by Google and the companies clambering to take advantage of this technology, via SEO (search engine optimisation) there really isn’t much information about you that isn’t available to anybody who cares to find out. For example, there used to be a time where if you wanted to find out specific information about somebody, you’d need to go to specialised websites, sign up and run a search. Now you don’t even have to do that. Thanks to SEO, information from multiple companies is funnelled into one place for easy access. Which place? Why your search engine of course. For example, enter your name into a search and what will be returned is not just web pages relating to material posted by you but also information that you have posted to other websites. E.g. If you’re a professional you may have signed up to Linked In, your record is returned automatically via a standard Google search. If you’re a Facebook and Twitter user, no problem, your profile is also instantly rendered, and if you’re looking for a bit more detail, there’s no problem, the electoral roll comes in handy there by returning your details via a variety of public search websites, such as 192.com. 192 will return your name, your age, your household details (e.g. who’s living with you), the price of your house, who lives next door to you, how long you’ve been living in your house, etcetera, all for just a few ‘credits’.
And, on that little matter of images of you being used without your knowledge or consent, well, again, thanks to search engine optimisation, any image with your name on it or anywhere in context with it will be returned to any searcher within seconds. I knew it’d be too easy to use my name so I’ve just punched in that of 5 friends, 3 near and a couple not as close. Each search revealed images of these people and images of the people they are associated with as well as images that they uploaded to their Facebook profiles or that they commented on.
And, in 2012, forget the old adage about always being 6 feet away from a spider, now you’re no more than a few meters away from an image recorder; a device capable of capturing your image. Recent estimates have put the number of mobile phone connections in the UK at 62.5 million which is pretty impressive considering that there are supposed to be only 60M of us in the UK to make those calls! And thanks to everyday mobile phone tariffs that tie in their consumers, the majority of these connections are for the latest smartphone, each with the capability not only to take photographs but to record high definition video, all with one touch sharing to a variety of social media websites, including YouTube, and thus millions of people within seconds. And in the unlikelihood that a smartphone may not be available, there are an estimated 4 million CCTV cameras in the UK situated at crucial places, such as traffic lights, town centres, shops, pubs, schools, leisure centres, petrol stations and so on, each recording your image whether you like it or not.
As is often the case, the very things that were invented to protect our world are now controlling us within it. Don’t forget, you’re not truly alone, unless your mobile phone has its battery taken out. That’s right, it used to be the stuff of spy films but it’s now a reality, there are no less than 3 companies in the UK alone that will allow you to track a mobile phone via its inbuilt GPS. Don’t have GPS? No problem, you will have all heard of the famous ‘triangulation’ method. For those who haven’t, that’s where the provider can ‘pin point’ your position by triangulating it between the masts upon which your mobile signal is locked.
We live busy lives and I’m not necessarily talking sex drugs and rock and roll here, I’m talking about working, taking care of our families and finding time to socialise with friends. We’ve said it over and over; there isn’t enough time. Well, companies are responding by personalising our experience, online shopping being one of the key developing areas. You will have noticed how your search engine has learned about the sites you visit and the searches you make, to the point where the sites you search the most for will now (not unlike Facebook) always tend to appear at the top whilst, to the side, you’ll see adverts for things that may ‘interest you’. How does it know that? The search engine learns for next time either via your profile or a series of (now famous) ‘cookies’ (small text files that save information about your browsing habits to your machine so your web browser can access these at a later date thus ‘improving’ your browsing experience). We then have grocery superstores who record spending habits via that famous ‘loyalty’ card and thus are able to analyse all of the things you like and dislike. Amazon will ‘suggest’ products you may like based on previous choices whilst EBAY also remembers what you looked for previously and handily displays this for you next time you access their page.
So what? This kind of stuff is useful, isn’t it?
Yep, sure is but is also visible to anybody else who accesses your machine.
The moral of this story is that no matter how much society may crow about the importance of privacy, the reality is that everybody’s privacy is invaded one way or another. Just because they tell you they’re going to record your call it doesn’t make the invasion any different to that of a celebrity who knows that from the moment they walk out of that hotel lobby, they’re going to be snapped or that if they’re attending an official function where there are news cameras, there’s a distinct possibility they may end up ‘on the record’. Similarly, if you’re married to the future king of England and happen to find yourself in a foreign land in a so called secluded villa, you should assume that there’s always somebody watching, be that with a telephoto lens or even a mobile phone. Because that’s life or, more specifically, that is your life. It comes with the territory.
Likewise, if you’re a major public figure or even the 2nd in line to the throne you may want to exercise some discretion. Yes, you may want to party like everybody else but let’s not ignore the big fat elephant in the room and as Michael Jackson so eloquently put it in thriller “I’m not like the other guys”. Act accordingly and stop trying to be something you are not, isn’t this what ‘regular’ folk are told to do on a regular basis?
Have a relaxing Sunday (in the privacy of your own home) 🙂