I had a small spat with Caitlin Moran on twitter a few days ago. Only minor, nothing serious and as it turns out, a complete misunderstanding that was resolved to our mutual satisfaction.
Quirky Caitlin Moran
Today, in the Huffington Post, I was delighted to read that Caitlin had written: “I hate the tabloid idea of anybody who is famous having to forfeit their privacy. It’s awful that if some boy wants to be in a band, or be an actor, he is just basically treated like sh*t by a publication. I don’t see the logic of that. Steve Coogan wants to write a really brilliant sitcom and he gets treated like sh*t, why should that happen? Because apart from getting VIP access and above average Virgin broadband customer care, there isn’t that much to recommend being famous. We just chase them around, being horrible to them. “
If only every journalist had the common sense to think like Caitlin. Anyone who knows me will know how often I quote this remark from Martin Scorsese. He said: “Voyeurism is one of the worst sickness of our age.” Isn’t there something deeply disturbing about the way tabloid journalists feed the gaping maw of the public’s nosy desire to inhabit every famous person’s bedroom? But journalists hypocritically insist it is our right. (Sells a lot of papers for them, innit?) We have been turned into a nation of Peeping Toms.
Apparently it has now been discovered that there is an alleged recording of Piers Morgan admitting he was aware hacking went on. Let’s face it, they were all probably at it. Maybe the thing to do is issue a general amnesty for all the vile trangressions of the past, but bring in legislation guarding the privacy of every famous and unfamous person from press intrusion from now on.
Finally, with all the techology available, can’t they make unhackable phones?
It is alleged that the mobile phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler was hacked by a private detective working for News International. Voicemail messages were deleted after she had vanished, giving hope to her parents that she might still be alive. David Cameron was absolutely right when he said the alleged hacking was “a truly dreadful act”.
If this is true, this is the final proof, if we needed more, that there is no privacy left. No situation is now so personal, sensitive or painful that evil people will not consider themselves justified in prying into it. These people justify their actions by saying “the public has a right to know”, or in the case of peoples’ sex lives, that they are revealing the truth. Another excuse is, blame the public, who have a huge appetite for scandal of every kind, if that did not exist, we would not need to do this. If they think they can get away with it, and phone hacking seems pretty easy, they break the law without turning a hair. Continue reading
Peeping Tom, Michael Powell’s brilliant psychological thriller about a voyeuristic serial killer was greeted with absolute horror when it first came out in the ’60’s. It destroyed Powell’s reputation as a successful director, but attracted a cult following. It has since been re-evaluated and is now considered a masterpiece because voyeurism is one of the sicknesses of the twentieth century.
Norman Bates in Psycho
The film has been refinanced and re-released by Martin Scorsese. The main character of the movie, Mark Lewis, is really a victim. As a child, he was used as a guinea pig for his father’s psychological experiments in fear and the nervous system. Mark’s father would study his son’s reaction to various stimuli, such as lizards he put on his bed and would film the boy in all sorts of situations, even going as far as recording his son’s reactions as he sat with his mother on her deathbed. He kept his son under constant watch and even wired all the rooms so that he could spy on him. The father’s studies made his reputation as a psychologist. The trauma of this treatment impels Mark to murder, while he films the reactions of the dying victims. Continue reading