Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Any 'Closer' will cost you.

As French privacy laws apparently prevent “any wilful violation of the private life”, the Prophet Mohammed might also wish they extended to those no longer living. Just as the jungle of journalists camped outside the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre were packing up their tents, in another part of Paris, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was preparing to publish images depicting the prophet in “particularly explicit poses.” 
Relief was palpable on the faces of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge yesterday, as they enjoyed a convivial cavort with smiling locals on the island of Tuvalu, on the last leg of their tour to the Far East and South Pacific. The injunction granted to prevent further publication of topless shots of the Duchess by French Closer cannot erase the images from public consciousness, or computers, but can confirm that a line has been drawn over which the long of lens may only peer at their peril. Few in France frankly see the sense in penalising the publication of pictures already made public. However, a refusal to lunge at every legal avenue available would be teetering on a tacit acceptance of such an intrusion as an unavoidable side-effect of celebrity. With the spectre of the shameful shenanigans with which the paparazzi pestered Princess Diana no doubt present in their peripheral vision, the royal couple have drawn a necessary distinction. Whilst a pact persists between dodgy D-listers and less scrupulous snappers, in which dignity is a collateral casualty in their mutual pursuit of front page pictures, William and Kate are cut from classier cloth. They are a professional pairing, as ably displayed by the ease with which they worked the crowds on the Solomon Islands, barely betraying their understandable anguish as they grinned in grass skirts and sipped coconut cocktails. 

While the royal couple have been pressing the flesh in the Far East, and preventing its further exposure from the courtrooms of Paris, outrage at “Innocence of the Muslims” continues. The American made short film has ignited indignant protests across the Muslim world. Reuters report riot police deployed to control crowds marching on the US consulate in Karachi, with similar scenes duplicated in Jakarta, Kabul, and Beirut. After the US Ambassador to Libya was among four Americans killed amid violent protests in Benghazi, President Obama typically tip-toed the tightrope of Anglo-Arab diplomacy. Whilst condemning any attempt “to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”, he took pains to maintain that there could be “no justification for this type of senseless violence.”

The whole furore is more about freedom than film. The picture itself has all the accumulated poise and potency of a clumsy GCSE drama project. From a purely personal perspective, I’d be challenged to summon up any murderous zeal from such a laughable and pointless pantomime. Unless of course, I was very angry anyway.  

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