Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Banality of Prurient Curiosity

We are creatures who relish dirty linen. That is, others' dirty linen, ours simply don't exist. We are born gossips and love nothing better than to be scandalized and thrilled and impressed with the bad fortune and ill timing of others. What else could conceivably explain the proliferation of tabloid newspapers? All the news unfit to print find their way into those rags.

And their popularity level has never been higher. The 'news' they purport to publish ranges from pure sick fantasy to pathological expressions of humanly degrading acts so miserable that they paint people a yellow hue of vomit. Yet there they are, at every supermarket check-out, handy for selection. There might have been a time once when people read them surreptitiously. No longer.

They are now mainstream fare. Along with the pin-ups, the salacious tales and the lawsuit-inspiring slander. All hazarded with flair and gusto, and read in a like spirit of appreciation. Trash sells. So it's no great tragedy at all that a newspaper that has been publishing for a century and a half has seen its final print roll-out.

What is a tragedy, however, are the revelations of human fallibility that led to this news event. The only thing about the News of the World that is newsworthy, actually. And that is the political traction and disgusting influence that its owner and those who worked at the highest echelons for him achieved in the sphere of British politics.

Respect for politicians? After viewing the vomit-inducing protestations of innocence by Prime Minister Cameron, a new aura of slimy regard has been produced. The earnestness of innocence of any and all wrong-doing, the resolute condemnation of the harm done to the innocent victims of the newspaper's stealthy attempts to unearth all the dirt they deemed fit to print.

None of it with even a veneer of honesty, but certainly geared toward restoring trust in the electorate for those whom they voted into office. A prime minister whose public relations background suddenly and mysteriously vaulted him into high office, while continuing to consort with slack-moralled social climbers bearing a close resemblance to his personal values.

It isn't mere disgust on viewing all of this trash, it is sadly leavened with grief at the extent of human gullibility and treachery. Is this truly the best we can do as a civil and civilized society?

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