Blame The Hackers, Sure, But Blame The Tabloids Too
"The tabloid press functions less as a news dispersal service, and more as a pervy groundskeeper that wants you to take a walk through his Garden of Groins."
If you’ve managed to get to this article without accidentally e-bumping into some celebrity skin on the obstacle course of flesh that is the Internet, then I have some terrifying news for you: you’re not on the Internet. You’re asleep and have dreamt up some sort of Utopian Internet that isn’t obsessed by the hypersexualisation of celebrity women.
Anyone without a passing knowledge of what’s happened over the past 48 hours could be forgiven for thinking the United States had turned into a nude colony overnight, after a huge number of private photographs were hacked and subsequently distributed in various online caves and digital spunk dungeons by various denizens of the Internet’s vagina-obsessed troll populace. Anyone who’s clicking these links or sharing these photographs is undeniably contributing to a retardation in humanity’s flourishing, along with an accumulating misery of the victims.
But the perpetrators of this crime aren’t limited to those that did the deed. Blame should also lie with the fluffers who got us primed and ready: the media that have worked us up to the point that we were silently begging for these images to be discovered and dispersed.
To explain: a brief perusal of The Daily Telegraph on the day the story reached its peak revealed that, despite articles condemning the iCloud hack, the Daily Telegraph was also determined to share with us “a provocative shot of [Jennifer] Hawkin’s toned torso in a pair of tiny denim shorts”, the pressing story “Gabi Grecko Naked in Shocking New Film Clip”, and finally a necessary report on how Iggy Azalea “got rather close to the rear end of one of her dancers”.
Looking at these stories, you could convince yourself that hacking a celebrity’s phone and digging up ghosts of dead photographs while drooling like a totally mental wankist was simply an extended branch of investigative journalism.
Elsewhere we’re asked to consider Kim Kardashian’s breasts and perve at someone’s arse on a beach. Again, these are not the results of the recent crime, but the actual practices of widely read media outlets: the feigners of moral outrage, the commentators who — to paraphrase the Gospel of Matthew — see the hacked nude photos in their friend’s eye but not the bucket of tits in their own.
Comparisons between hacking nude photos and breaking into someone’s home have been made, which are fair enough. The significant difference here though is that, if breaking into houses were treated the same as female nudity, newspapers would be walking up to people’s homes, smashing the windows, and then stealing some cheese from the fridge, only to go and happily frown on some fuckwit that did the same thing and stole the TV and all the jewellery.
The tabloid press these days functions less as a news dispersal service, and more as a pervy groundskeeper that wants you to take a walk through his Garden of Groins (and yes, “his“). It’s walked us, quite forcefully, up to the bedroom window of nude possibility, pulled the curtain aside, and then screamed in our face for looking through, writing up the story with one hand while lasciviously hate-rubbing its own crotch with the other.
Yes, condemn the hackers, but let’s also remember the culture that helps blur the lines of this crime unlike any other. Now excuse me while I go and read something about a nip slip in a fucking newspaper.
Jazz Twemlow is a stand-up comedian made from a combination of coffee and frowning, who’s written for A Rational Fear (Radio National), The Roast (ABC2), and Guardian Australia. Find him on Twitter at @jazztwemlow.
Feature image via Sydney Confidential/Daily Telegraph.