I've written before about the way in which the tabloids have acted with all the subtlety of a tonne of ants at a particularly sugary picnic with regard to the latest Wayne Rooney stories. And I've tried to argue that these stories don't come about because of any hypocrisy on his part, or because of his endorsements or picture spreads in glossy mags talking about family values, or any particular moral outrage - they are published purely and simply because a lot of people get a buzz out of reading about other people's sex lives.
Earlier on today, I looked at the way in which a 'pal' of one of the women involved in this story said that she was 'not a nice person' and enjoyed drink and drugs. The 'pal' may not of course really exist, or may be someone who only vaguely knows the woman concerned; whatever the truth, they don't sound like much of a 'pal'. They may not be telling the truth but it's a pretty good gamble that once someone is outed as a sex worker their reputation could be said to be pretty low anyway, and that you can get away with saying what you like about them, accurate or not. That's how it is, unpleasant as it is; I'm not saying it's right, but it's the way this kind of thing is viewed.
You might remember from the Tiger Woods saga that the women involved with him were reduced to mere numbers, like holes on a golf course:
And I think there's a similar dehumanising process going on with the women involved in the Rooney story. They aren't people in their own right, but hookers and tarts:
The Sun refers to the 'tarty twosome who gave soccer rat Wayne Rooney a threesome'. And then there's some intrusion (or it may be speculation) into the life of Coleen Rooney:
Rooney's shattered wife Coleen will go against her family's wishes today by seeing the Man United striker for crisis talks.
It's not as if the Sun has ever been caught telling porkies about something like that, is it? Oh, hang on:
As part of our coverage of the break-up of Cheryl and Ashley Cole's marriage we reported on March 4 the singer would fly to France to meet her estranged husband who was texting her lines from her songs. We accept Cheryl did not fly to France, no such texts were sent and she denies saying she was scared of life as a single girl as we reported on March 1. We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Cheryl.
Well, who knows whether it's true or not? It is intrusive, whatever it is. This is part two of these stories - the pictures you'll see on the Sun website and elsewhere are a bit poor quality, like they've been blown up too much; they've almost certainly been harvested from Facebook-type sites or other websites. In the battle to scrabble around for a fresh angle, it doesn't matter who gets hurt, has their privacy ruined or gets dehumanised - we need a new story, we need to dig some new dirt, while it's still fresh. And that's what we get. We learn nothing, really, from all of this; we just get treated to more and more of the same.
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