Thursday, May 12, 2011

Known unknowns

An actor involved in one of these super-injunction thingummybobs has – according to The Sun, at least – confessed all to his wife. Which strikes me as odd, because the man’s identity, along with that of the footballer and the other actor and the comedian and the chef, has been all over the web, and has even made it into mainstream media, albeit in the form of terribly coy, nose-tapping innuendo. If his spouse didn’t at least suspect that something was up, surely one of her friends must have twigged. I don’t want to kick her when she’s down, but she must be a terribly incurious woman.

You see, the whole point of these injunctions is not to stop people knowing about the moral mishaps of the rich and famous: it’s to stop the *wrong* people knowing. And this is something that goes way back. The Abdication Crisis of 1936 gripped the attention of the British masses once it became public, but the upper classes had known all about Edward’s unsuitable girlfriend for some time, and had been happy to gossip about the constitutional ramifications, provided the hoi-polloi didn’t know what was going on. Such information might create havoc, weaken their moral fibre, don’t you know?

I first got came to understand this social distinction in the world of celebrity tittle tattle in the early 1990s, at about the time it was beginning to fall apart. I’d started my first proper job, in a legal publishing company, which meant that I was for the first time operating in close proximity to people who knew where the bodies were buried. I got wind of Paddy Ashdown’s tarnished halo some time before The Sun splashed it, and also heard some startling rumours about a couple of then-Cabinet ministers. These were pretty analogue days, so the tales were literally word-of-mouth. But I was standing by the fax machine when the Camillagate transcripts came over from Australia. Technology had done away with the social apartheid of gossip, to extent that even after the injunctors have joined Andrew Marr in realising the sheer daftness of their position, they will be remembered not for illicit shagging, but for using their wealth and status to hush up said shagging, which looks far, far worse.

Camilla herself was doubtless embarrassed by the publication of her phone messages, but she realised she could do little about it. So she backed off, bided her time, and is now the Duchess of Cornwall. And she’s making speeches lauding the freedom of the press. Maybe one day [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] will do the same.

6 comments:

GreatSheElephant said...

The Independent yesterday (or at least i so I assume the full fat version too) reported that the government is currently trying to figure out ways of controlling access to Twitter etc, because of the whole superinjunction business. I'm not a 100% proponent of free speech but that seems rather unsporting of them nonetheless.

Dave said...

As I have no idea who any current footballers, actors, comedians (at least ones after the Python era) or celebrity chefs* are, publishing their identities are going to mean nothing to me.

*Oh. It's not Deliah is it? She was on our local television this week, as the football club she and Stephen Fry own, Norwich United, have apparently been promoted to the First Division.

expat@large said...

I think that it's all an overredaction...

*groan* - sorry.

No, I'm not.

Michele R. Strub said...

ahh! How timely! Viewed Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things on DVD just yesterday -

Rog said...

"Standing by the fax Machine" has a whiff of real nostalgia about it. Who'd have thought they'd go the way of inkwells and mechanical adding machines.

Tim Footman said...

More comments that died in the recent unpleasantness:

GreatSheElephant:
The Independent yesterday (or at least i so I assume the full fat version too) reported that the government is currently trying to figure out ways of controlling access to Twitter etc, because of the whole superinjunction business. I'm not a 100% proponent of free speech but that seems rather unsporting of them nonetheless.

Dave:
As I have no idea who any current footballers, actors, comedians (at least ones after the Python era) or celebrity chefs* are, publishing their identities are going to mean nothing to me.

*Oh. It's not Deliah is it? She was on our local television this week, as the football club she and Stephen Fry own, Norwich United, have apparently been promoted to the First Division.

expat@large: I think that it's all an overredaction...

*groan* - sorry.

No, I'm not.

Michele R. Strub:
ahh! How timely! Viewed Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things on DVD just yesterday -

Rog:
"Standing by the fax Machine" has a whiff of real nostalgia about it. Who'd have thought they'd go the way of inkwells and mechanical adding machines.