Tuesday 24 May 2011

Super Injunctions: Everybody Is Wrong

Most of my readership is American - so let me catch you up.

Google defines a Super Injunction as:

"An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order, whereby a party is required to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts."

This means a variety of things, but what is in the limelight at the moment is that celebrities are paying the courts for the rights to have their extra-marital indiscretions kept out of the newspapers, by law. In the UK we don't have freedom of speech or freedom of press, we just have celebrities and rich people. 

So, to begin with, we have the dumbness that the mega-rich are able to pay the courts to silence the press from printing stories. 

But then we have the other side of it. Who a footballer has sex with is not news. If David Beckham is found in the midst of a passionate threesome with Alex Ferguson and Thierry Henry: this isn't news. It's people's private lives. Newspapers like 'The Sun' aren't in court fighting for the right to print these injunctions based on principle, it's based on smut, based on printing titillating bullshit for the masses to spend their days reading about. It sells copies. 

So we have super injunctions, the very existence of which strongly curtail the freedom of press. 

And then we have the newspapers on the other side, who use whatever freedom they do have not to report on corruption and power and poverty -- but to print which actors and soccer players have been getting their penises out in their private lives.

And then there's us, the public. Storming onto Twitter and retweeting every bit of sordid bullshit about which footballer's fucked which model. There is so much in the world that is wrong, really wrong, and there is so much we should be focusing on. But we're a society obsessed with breast-implanted TV stars and sportsmen who get paid £200,000 a week. What the hell are we doing? 

I realise that by sharing this picture, I am becoming a part of the very crap I am arguing against -- but I want to make a point. This is a picture from The Daily Mail.

This is what our country is getting excited about. This is what sells our newspapers. These are the conflicts that matter in our world. How many of these are newsworthy? 

I am not saying all this in defence of these overpaid celebrity men who can't keep it in their pants. It's embarrassing just how common these affairs are. 

I'm not saying the newspapers shouldn't be allowed to print these stories. I'm saying they shouldn't want to. This isn't news. A few of the alleged super injunctions aren't even affairs, they're just private stories about people's sexuality and preferences. The ethics of these news organisations is so much worse than the people they write about every day. Maybe they should stop writing about celebrities, even stop writing about dictators and murderers, and just publish stories about themselves.

The important news is harder. A story about people being killed in Georgia or gangs raping women in the DR Congo is tough to read; I understand why we need nonsense, I understand why we can't bare to look at this stuff. But the energy and time we spend on this absolute bullshit about celebrities is INSANE. 

Everyone, on all sides of this --- they are insane! It's insane that the press are restricted by the courts when it comes to this stuff. It's insane that everybody cares so much. And it's insane that I am writing in this way. We are all nuts!

Care to share?


  1. A pretty accurate summary of things. The whole situation has reached a ridiculous stage. But you are completely right that the real problem is the newspapers printing rubbish and also, I guess they'd argue, the appetite of sections of the public for the smut. I tried to articulate the issue a few weeks ago: http://bit.ly/luBocn. But frankly all you can realistically do in the end is say it's insane. The newspapers should be focusing on real news, both the genuinely bad and good optimistic stuff going on the world, but things aren't going to change. Not quickly anyway. As usual, well expressed and from the heart writing.

  2. We ARE all nuts. And it isn't going to change until something really bad happens. Again.

  3. I think the newsworthy and interesting part about this story which seems to be getting missed, is not which footballer is screwing which prostitute, but the attempts by the British legal system to impose court injunctions on the likes of twitter. Trying to impose an injunction on twitter is a bit like trying to impose an injunction to prevent the tide from coming in. This is the same judiciary who will be enforcing laws like the digital economy act, and their complete lack of knowledge about how any of this technology works is genuinely worrying.