Following on from my previous post In All Seriousness this week the outcome of the UK general election, a hung parliament, finally bore fruit with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats announcing the first coalition government since Churchill's during the Second World War. This coalition, I hope, will usher in a new period of genuine progressive politics. I'm very happy about this outcome and, having long been a supporter of the Liberal Democrats, hope that their leader Nick Clegg and our new Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, will show maturity and integrity by working together to bring about real social, economic and political change.
On a slightly different tangent, but one that has been brought to my attention yet again, is that MPs and high profile personalities are often the victims of ridiculous media scrutiny beyond what is morally acceptable. We all have skeletons in our closets but, fortunately, through our anonymity, most of us are able to keep the door firmly shut upon such intrusion. Alas, for some personalities this is not the case and media revelations are often spurious or, even if truthful, have little relevance or bearing upon the victim's competence. For example, do we really need to know about youthful indiscretions, love affairs or university frolics? I don't think we do, unless there are exceptional circumstances which raise legitimate concerns.
Personally, and I know I've said this before, I intensely dislike the scrutiny and harassment both politicians and celebrities have to endure. Whilst there is an acceptable and understandable degree of public interest if one works in a high profile job, I believe the media should exhibit better self regulation when it comes to thrusting personal details into the limelight. Frankly, unless such revelations can be totally justified it's shoddy and unpleasant behaviour.
Our new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has also been the victim of this excessive media intrusion - by none other than the less than commendable Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror and the News of the World, who now works (?) on reality TV shows like Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent. In an interview for GQ magazine back in 2008, Piers Morgan cross examined Nick Clegg about his sex life and Mr Clegg foolishly admitted to having had "not more than 30 lovers."
Since I don't read the tabloids or GQ and my reading is selective (in that it tends to steer away from complete drivel) I only heard about this vital nugget of information 2 days ago. However, I doubt that upon hearing this important piece of news I would have changed my vote even though Mr Clegg is obviously an utter scallywag. No doubt they'll be some people who will question his capability to govern on the basis that sleeping with 30 women makes you morally corrupt.
Right. No one mention Kennedy.
Hmm...I wonder what the interpretation of the news would have been if Mr Clegg had said he'd remained a virgin till he married? Probably, he'd be described as either a complete freak or a closet homosexual!
There's nothing like double standards in the press is there?
Anyway, does any sensible person takes notice of this tittle tattle? Unfortunately, some people do. Mostly these folks are the idiots who send money to actors in soap operas whose story lines have them hitting hard times - but the viewer fails to realise the soap opera is actually televised fiction. Doh! The ones who aren't idiots but believe it all are just well.... figure it out.
In my opinion (and yes I have a lot of them) from what I've read and seen of Nick Clegg he seems a decent, honourable man who just so happens to be pretty good looking and attractive to women. Nothing wrong in that and it doesn't mean he's a cad. Besides, I seriously doubt if sleeping with 30 women is a world record for a 43 year old man! Really, couldn't Piers Morgan come up with a more intelligent and seriously minded question?
Why do these sleazy journalists always assume that the public wants to read this kind of utter rubbish? It seems to me that a lot of publishers are just gearing their magazines to sex, sex, sex. In fact, the other day, stuck without any reading material and with very little choice at the petrol station, I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan for the first time for ages and I'm afraid, in my view, it was just page to page sleaze. There was nothing substantial to read in it at all!
If sex, sleaze and showbiz is is all our young folks want to read then I find it very worrying indeed. And as for publishers - they need to stop abdicating their responsibilities and produce material which is informative and entertaining at the same time - instead of pages of talk about celebrities and sexual conquests.
In truth, I'm not a prude and I've absolutely nothing against talking or writing about sex; it's a vital, integral part of our lives and can be a source of great joy and happiness, sadness and frustration, as well as humour. There's nothing to be ashamed about writing about sex, either in a fictional or factual way. We write about birth, death and just about everything else - so why should we steer away from something so essential to our physical and mental well being? I think it's the way that sex is portrayed in the media that disturbs me. Of course, I frequently temper my own writing with innuendos and sexual humour for fun but the way sex (and therefore love) is consistently cheapened in the media with this obsession with sleaze is getting extremely irksome; I just wish they'd give our young people something decent and intelligent to read instead of concentrating their minds on tiresome soap operas, overrated celebrities and sleazy sex.
I guess there's a bit of investigative journalist in me - so when I come across anything that stirs my interest, I do more research. I found the clip below on You Tube of Nick Clegg being heckled about this incident at the House of Commons.
Hmm..doesn't The Speaker handle the event well? Somebody hand him a party hat and some streamers!
Anyway, I'll not deny I laughed out loud at Nick's situation - you've got to see the funny side of life; the smirks on some of his colleague's faces are priceless. Poor Nick gave an honest but foolish answer to a question he should never been asked and as a consequence he's had to suffer a few school boy jokes. I reckon most of those heckling MPs were just jealous of Nick's new found "stud" reputation and, let's face it, there's not many of the old duffers who even with the aphrodisiac of power would attract the attention of 30 bedbugs let alone 30 women!
But seriously, I think Nick Clegg handled himself with dignity, as he has done throughout the whole election. When you see the behaviour of some of our MPs at Westminster, as if they were still in the school dorm, it's no wonder he and others like him want to bring about a new period of responsible politics. I certainly hope he and David Cameron can fulfil their promises.
That's political promises obviously.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Sex and Sleaze; Whatever Happened to Journalistic Integrity?
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