Monday, 25 April 2011
Which Doctor Who has taken out a superinjunction?
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UPDATE Feb 2 2012: Dear reader, I cannot bear the thought of the antipathy that must be being held against me by disappointed readers of this, the most popular blog post I've written to date. I'm guessing it's that headline isn't it? Well, before you scroll ahead waiting for a genuine revelation about Doctors Who and Superinjunctions, can I just let you know that there isn't one. Sorry. It was an eye-catching spoof title that I used to attract some readers to a blog about press freedom and censorship. By all means read the article on its own merits, but please don't expect the big pay-off that title promises. Here as a consolation is some Scottish Falsetto Socks fun on a similar subject: Which Doctor Who has taken out a superinjunction? Genuine revelation. Yes, the answer to this question will be given here. Now. Okay, not now, but at the end of this blog I shall answer that question. Which Doctor Who, by which I mean actor who has genuinely actually played the actual Doctor in Doctor Who has taken out a so-called super-injunction this week? Answer below.
But first, why does anyone care? This whole superinjunction debate has made the news this week because the news is frustrated at not being allowed to report the news. As many sage commentators have explained, in depth and in very interesting terms (see Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard as a particularly clear example), the legal construct of the "super injunction" (not its real name) by which the placing of an injunction preventing one person telling their story to the press (commonly placed by one party involved in an extra-marital affair, usually the rich one) is covered by another injunction preventing the press even reporting the fact that the first injunction has been taken out, is a recent development, first made headline news when a firm called Carter Ruck tried to prevent their injunction about a poisoning crime carried out by their client Trafigura being mentioned by an MP in the House of Commons. They failed and, by default, the public found out about super-injunctions.
Of course most of the legal actions currently going on aren't "super" at all, they're just plain old fashioned injunctions taken out by (it is suggested) TV presenters, TV actors, film actors, footballers, pop stars and whatever Gaby Logan is. And many of us in the Twittersphere, who are neither journalists nor interested parties, have piped up in a small level of revolt, by asking out loud who these injunctors might be, then rabidly re-Tweeting the names that are flung our way, with no way of knowing whether these names are correct or not. Are we libeling someone by suggesting they might have taken out an injunction when in fact they haven't? And should we further assume their silence on the matter to be an admission of guilt, or are they just staying away from Twitter cos they're on holiday and they realise how inane the discussion is?
So I have to apologise to those most-likely innocent parties who I got carried away and re-tweeted over the weekend, having just watched the super-injunction discussion on Have I Got News To You while having a wee drink. Can I reiterate that I have absolutely no grounds to believe that any injunctions, super or otherwise, have been taken out by Ryan Giggs, Gaby Logan, Alan Shearer, Hugh Bonneville and/or Ewan MacGregor(this thread shows where that unfounded rumour began and ends), Andrew Marr, Jeremy Clarkson or Gordon Ramsay (those rumours seem to emanate from here. And as for the prominent YestoAV campaigner who genuinely has taken out one, I know I can only be disappointed when I find out who he is.
Because the question remains, why do we care? A footballer has had an extra marital affair with someone whose claim to fame is having appeared in a series of Big Brother. Read those words. How, I mean how on earth can that be of interest to anyone, least of all me? I don't care about football, and I long since stopped watching Big Brother. And they're both Welsh. Could this story be trying harder to be less relevant to my life? So, why make a fuss?
I think we are making a fuss because being told we can't say what we want to say, Freedom Of Speech, is one thing that some of us take more seriously than almost anything else. And having our collective silence bought and enforced on us by people who just happen to be rich and powerful, but not necessarily morally in the right, is wrong.
There was a time when such nonsense was not the staple of news. Since the 1970s the celebrity kiss-and-tell story has been a favourite of Sunday tabloids like the News Of The World, and of The Sun and The Mirror, but didn't trouble we broadsheet readers and seemed to blow over quickly. Since the 80s someone like myself became more aware of it when it was decided that pop stars counted as celebrities (older readers will find it hard to imagine, but before Boy George and George Michael became stars in 1982, no tabloid bothered to poke into the private lives of pop stars, considering their audience not to be newspaper buyers). And since the 90s there is a swathe of people who became famous solely for having their private lives poked into, sometimes because they were married to footballers (about whom I would know little and care less) and sometimes because they were born rich (I still don't know what Tara Palmer Tonkinson is for), but most often because they were in TV shows I didn't watch (sorry Hollyoaks, never seen you even once), or went out with pop stars about which I, and anyone else, couldn't be arsed - I seem to remember small media businesses driven entirely by news about Gail Porter and one of Toploader (short-lived 90s covers band, google em) and Mr & Mrs Danny Out Of Supergrass.
Ah, innocent times (December 1976)
But since the advent of Big Brother and Heat, the media world has been deluged with non-news so bereft of actual news value as to be less valuable than fiction. And way way less interesting. Pages of Heat (and I know because I have waited in dentists and hairdressers occasionally) are devoted to the fact that a celebrity has left the house, walked the dog or pushed a pram or put a bin bag in a wheelie bin, and gone back in again. That is judged worthy of a double-page photo-spread. In 1953 you had to get crowned Queen of bloody Great Britain to get that much paper wasted on you.
So here we are in a situation where people whose claim to what we would once have recognised as fame is so flimsy they may as well be a character in a soap you don't follow is spending a fortune in court to stop you knowing about what may well be the only interesting thing they've done this year.
I know, here's the solution. Let's just make up celebrities. We can get actors to play them, for photoshoots and the like, but as for the details of their lives, we can just make that up. That way every paper can have an exclusive every week, unless they're unfortunate enough to make up the same story as someone else (you know, like when the Antz guys wrote the same story as A Bug's Life one week), and not only will the celebs not be able to sue, being not real and all, but best of all the stories will be interesting. Hooray.
Good. I just invented drama.
I thought I had a longer point to make. But that seems to be the sum total of it. Don't tell what I can and can't say. You're not my Mum, The Law.
Signed Kev F aged... a lot older than he sounds
PS: Oh yes, about that Doctor Who who's taken out that injunction in the last week. Here comes the answer.
Naturligvis er jeg ikke tænkt mig at skrive svaret i engelsk, der ville være for let. Jeg har oversat den til dansk, ved hjælp af en online-oversættelse ting. Så skal jeg forestille mig, det er allerede ret ikke-sensical når du igen oversætte det tilbage til engelsk. Så her går. Som Doctor ud af Doctor Who har tegne en super påbud? Et forbud som det super sort? Uno injuntiono superbo? Er det David Tennant? Kunne det være Tom Baker? Kunne det være Christopher Eccleston? Hvad er væddemål om Peter Davison? Er vi ser på Sylvester McCoy? Kunne svaret være Matt Smith? Må ikke fortælle mig, at det er Colin Baker af alle mennesker? Himlene til Betsy du ikke siger, det er Paul McGann. Tja, svaret er ...