Under Surveillance

Duchess of Cambridge

The scandal over  topless photos of Kate Middleton continues to make headlines… apparently there are many more!  Despite her demure and lady-like appearance at official engagements and her attempts to appear regal and worthy of repeated assurances that she is likely to become future queen, she continues to behave thoughtlessly and indiscretely.

But then, so do the rest of the monarchy. Prince Andrew was recently in the news here, and I googled to find out more about him. This led to a wasted hour of looking up more information about the minor royals. The experience left me astonished at their careless disregard for common sense and ordinary decency, their sense of entitlement, their arrogance, and especially their financial scandals.

Someone should tell Will and Kate that the honeymoon is over! In more ways than one.

This most recent misadventure brings three issues to mind.

First are questions about the monarchy as an institution.

The costs to the public treasury everytime there is another  irrelevant “official visit”are indefensible.  I am annoyed by the fatuous remarks, the gratuitous photo-ops, and the toadying of our elected officials who manage to keep a straight face while enduring boring and extravagant displays of hospitality and allegiance. It has been thirty-five years since Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s infamous pirouette:

The infamous Trudeau pirouette

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s  most controversial moment was at Buckingham Palace in 1977 when he was caught  pirouetting behind Queen Elizabeth…“The picture expresses his maverick anti-conformism, his democratic disdain for aristocratic pomp,” noted  the photographer… he strongly opposed the palace protocol that separated heads of state from heads of government. The well-rehearsed pirouette was a way of showing his objection without saying a word.”

Trudeau’s antics spoke volumes about how Canadians felt about the monarchy then…  and nothing has happened to change our minds.

I don’t know how the people who live in Britain can stand it!

Second are questions about healthy lifestyles.

By now everyone should know that deliberate tanning and over exposure to the sun can cause long term skin damage and the risk of cancer.

And everyone should know, also, about the dangers posed by eating disorders. Kate, 5’10” tall, is said to weigh only 90 pounds… that she dieted down to 100 pounds for her wedding, and has continued to follow a very restrictive diet. The photos now in question demonstrate a reckless disdain for common sense in both instances.

Third are questions about privacy.

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy if you are out of doors or at a public event. None. Zero. Cameras on cell phones, spying closed circuit surveillace cameras, prying photographers, listening devices… Take it for granted that someone may be watching you, and that if you are a celebrity or are surreptitiosly engaged in something you should not be doing, you may be doing it quite publicly.

Wikipedia defines  voyeurism as “the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions usually considered to be of a private nature. The principal characteristic of voyeurism is that the voyeur does not normally relate directly with the subject of his/her interest, who is often unaware of being observed. Voyeurism may involve the making of a secret photograph or video of the subject during an intimate activity.”

Voyeurism is certainly vile, but depending on the circumstances, it may not be illegal. Anyone engaging in provocative or erotic  behaviour outdoors or in a public place should be aware of the possibility of being photographed. With the internet, social networking, and YouTube, such information can instantly spread and go viral worldwide, and once out, retrieval is impossible.

In that context, the pictures of Kate are unexceptional. Bare bosoms… and everything else… are hardly unusual. Even nude shots of full term pregnancies have been on magazine covers, and the advertisements and fashion layouts in mainstream magazines like Vogue leave little to the imagination.

What makes the photos of Kate so exceptional has nothing to do with her very ordinary, very skinny body. Seeing naked breasts is not shocking. Recognizing Kate and William’s character flaws, however, is upsetting …  hypocrisy and… dare I say it… reckless stupidity. They should know better, and behave better, if they want public respect. It is not all her fault. He was there also and certainly should know the rules and expectations that go along with his position.

“I’m not familiar precisely with what I said, but I’ll stand by what I said, whatever it was.”

And Mitt Romney also should know better and behave better if he wants the respect, and the votes, of the American public.

His hypocrisy and self-indulgent carelessness were on display again last week when the tape was released of a speech he gave at a $50,000/plate private fund-raising dinner in May. Were these unfortunate comments a real indication of his contempt for the “47%” he dismisses so arrogantly?

Or in hopes of being elected, does he just tell every audience what he thinks they want to hear? Did he reveal himself this way to a special group of insiders in the expectation that he was speaking privately to people who would agree with him and not take offense? As in, perhaps … listen up… don’t worry about what I am forced to say on the campaign circuit… this is the real deal… I’m with you… the others are beneath your (and my) consideration… they just don’t matter. But someone taped the whole speech, and Mother Jones printed it… it is also on YouTube… recording surreptitiously (spying) and then “blowing the whistle”.

There are so many possible links for this story… check it out yourself. I have chosen only a few:

 Mitt Romney trashes the 47 percent  includes one minute video and transcription of the most damaging part of the speech

Top 13 quotes in Mitt Romney’s leaked fundraiser video  … from abc news

Media should go easy on Romney… for their own sake… oozing with sarcastic irony and lots of links to specific examples

Maybe Romney should follow the royal example: sue and demand jail sentences for who ever made the damning tape and for Mother Jones for publishing it. After all, the tape of the 47% speech has the possibility of far more important consequences than voyeurs snapping photos of a silly young woman’s unimpressive bare bosom, whatever her name.

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