The other day I grumbled about the relevance of the Tiger Woods story. I still grumble about it, because I don't think it's especially useful to read about other people's private lives. The use of 'birdie' to describe 'human being who has had sex with Tiger Woods' is fairly miserable, hackneyed and not funny any more (if it was ever funny in the first place); the use of numbers is dehumanising and pointless - although I can see where it's going, as one newspaper has already (ho ho) gone for the headline TIGER'S BACK NINE. Yeah, chuffing hilarious. Bet you wanked yourself off into a paper cup when you wrote that one. Hope you've got a really good one for the 18th... because women are just 'holes' aren't they?
Anyway, even if you're on the side of the argument that says we should know about this story because celebrities' private lives aren't private, or some similar argument, I wonder what you think about the latest bit of intrusion into the Woods household?*
I understand that this happening is news, presumably noticed straight away and photographed because there were reporters camped outside the house. But doesn't that bring about another dimension - without wanting to speculate on the details of what happened, might it not be the case that the very presence of the people with cameras outside the Woods home might be a contributory factor to what has just happened? And if so, will that cause any soul-searching at all? Or just a mad scramble to get to the hospital in time and get more pictures of someone on a stretcher?
Is it right, anyway, to take photos of someone on a stretcher, in that small space between their private house and an ambulance? Is that really necessary, or wanted, particularly if we don't know their condition or what's happened to them?
You'll note from the Mail's headline that the story comes from "MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE". Ah, what a wonderfully named thing. The sort of organisation who one day would be receiving reports on wars overseas and dramatic events thousands of miles from the readers, put together by exhausted reporters on the front line and then sent down the wires to the waiting world; and is now just basically some person trawling celebrity websites for shit about famous people's private lives.
There are all sorts of other rumours in there, from a "respected celebrity website", involving what happened to Woods on the day he crashed his car - perhaps private details that shouldn't be shared with everyone in the world. Perhaps drawing attention to certain rumours and certain acts, even if proved correct, might put someone at further risk? Might that not be the best thing in the world to do? Might there be some kind of, oh I don't know, moral qualms that might get in your way of doing that? Well, as we've seen before with Mark Speight, these considerations don't seem to be cared about any more.
This will keep coming. If it's in the public interest, I can't see how. I just wonder if - and I desperately hope it's not the case - a tragedy did happen as part of this story, what responsibility those who had splashed details of these people's private lives all over the papers would take for it? What responsibility would those camped out outside people's homes would take? Or would they think: great, now someone's dead, we can really go for it?
I think I know the answer, and it's not a pretty one.
* I am aware of the paradox that exists in writing about this, saying that it shouldn't be reported. But I have a feeling that the Daily Mail will bring this story to more people's attention than me. And I'm not going to link to it or reproduce the picture.