Can we talk about Pippa’s arse?
Far be it from me to pontificate on matters of national import, but we do need to talk about Pippa Middleton’s arse.
But first, into the time machine … It’s that Sunday in 1997 and we all wake up to the shocking news that Princess Diana has died.
That morning, an electrician is stopping by our house to give us a quote for a job. Over a cup of tea the sparks tells us he’s left his wife at home, crying inconsolably.
“The press have a lot to answer for,” he says grimly.
And so the nation entered a surreal period of national grief.
There are some things that we as individuals are destined never to understand. There are things which you are just never ever going to “get” no matter how hard you try. In my case it’s cricket, the popularity of Elvis Presley and the extravagant, but undoubtedly genuine sorrow over the Princess’s death.
The nation’s mourning would brook no dissent. For anyone who wasn’t in Britain at the time, it was like a fortnight lived in a totalitarian dictatorship. Not one run by fascists or communists, but by, I dunno … Imagine the dictator was your own mother, only a mother who’s a self-pitying, manipulative borderline alcoholic of limited intelligence.
The press, according to our electrician friend, and most other people, had been responsible for the death of Diana because of its relentless hounding of her, especially by freelance photographers who knew there was a hugely lucrative global market for pictures of her, and the more intimate, the better.
Sorry, but I’m not buying this. Diana was arguably killed by her own demons, but more plausibly she was killed by her own adoring public.
Britain’s red tops are among the finest in the world when it comes to ruthless pursuit of a story, and working-up trivia and the uninteresting activities of worthless celebrities into compelling reading. Nobody does it better. But anyone who ever paid money for a magazine or newspaper because they wanted to look at paparazzi pics of the Princess, has their own little piece of the blame for her death.
Of course the press then turned around to orchestrate the nation’s grief and demand that the flags at the royal palaces be flown at half-mast. All that bullstuff. In life, the non-judgemental Diana had reassured the great British public that it was OK to be a screw-up, it’s OK to have eating disorders or be part of a failed marriage. In death, she became a martyr to screw-ups everywhere.
Nobody beats the British red-tops when it comes to breathtaking hypocrisy, though. So the Daily Mail, for instance, solemnly announced it would never again use paparazzi pics.
Now, all that’s been forgotten in the mad scramble to show us pictures of the Royal newlyweds, or Pippa Middleton’s arse. The Mail last week showed us pictures of Kate shopping at Waitrose, and old pictures of the Middleton women in bikinis. The Mail website has even cunningly fixed it so’s it picks up the lion’s share of web searches for the expression “Pippa Middleton’s arse”! Sheer genius! (Though the Mail itself would never use such a vulgar expression, it’s quite happy to pander to those who do.)
That’s not just to pick on the Mail. They’re all at it.
Will you pay money to see Pippa Middleton’s arse, or snatched photos of the royal couple on honeymoon, or any candid pics of them doing anything at all?
Sure, you could be a dribbling celebrity-obsessed cretin, or you may be one of those smart people who reads the celeb goss “ironically”. Whatever. But if you provide a market, you are responsible for harassing these people. Whatever happens in the future is your responsibility, too.
I didn’t mention any of this to the electrician. I wanted him to do a decent job. He did. And I imagine his wife is now eagerly reading articles about the happy couple, and the bride’s sister.
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