Lawfare,  Media

Prurient Interest of the Public

I’m seeing lots of stupid headlines, like this one in The Guardian today:

“Injunction ruling enables celebrities to hide sex lives, says top lawyer”

Is anyone asking why celebrities should not – like any other person – be able to keep their sex lives private? What concern is it of anyone’s how Mr X or Ms Y express themselves sexually simply because they have achieved some notability in entertainment, sports or politics?

We’re used to philosophical matters being dumbed down, but “The Public Interest” does NOT mean simply “things the public are interested in knowing”. It means “things that are in the interests of the public to know”. Surely even the most reckless and feckless user of English knows the difference between “It is not in your interests to do that” and “That is not something you’re interested in doing”?

Social media, of course, has driven such prurience to extremes, to the point where these is so much call to confess, reveal and emote in public – to total strangers across the world – that we may as well be living during the Inquisition.

That so many column inches are written from The Daily Mail to The Press Gazette is testimony to how stupid most have become. How cretinous to treat an issue of such trivia as if it were an issue of national importance. Who cares who slept with who, or when or why? Whose life is so pointless and trivial itself that a momentary tabloid titillation is worth the unnecessary shame and embarrassment of another person?

There are many compelling reasons why we should not have Leveson interference in press freedom, but is it too much to ask the media makers and consumers to grow up?