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Kate scandalette all nork and no action? Think again …

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was last seen being borne through the streets of Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, in a vehicle decked out to look like a ceremonial canoe. Sweet scene, pure Gauguin. Now, that would have been a time to get the baps out … the native queen-to-be, moving among her people, like Venus arising from the waves …

Instead, the royal family is fighting desperately to stop the spread of a set of photos showing the Duchess sunbathing topless on the balcony of a French chateau. Published in the French magazine Closer, the photos were taken from a fair distance away, with a long lens.

That they breach French privacy laws has caused the publication to come under thereat of fine, albeit a rather piddling one, and its editor to be threatened with a prison term — which latter point has prompted said scribe to make a rather lame defence that the royal couple were not on private territory, “because there was a road nearby”.

Good luck with that — but good luck to the royals too, who initially decided to ignore the pictures, and then to go the full fang on them. By that point, Italian glossy Chi, owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mondadori company, had announced its intention to republish the photos, even as papers in Great Britain hastily announced their decision to have nothing to do with them.

Across the sea, in Lesser Britain (geographical term), they weren’t so shy, with the Irish Daily Star deciding to run a selection — although just to be absolutely safe, they weren’t distributed in Northern Ireland, which they usually supply. The Star is sub-tabloid — a sort of infrared-top — which features stories of about 45 words apiece, n-ked birds, boy-eats-own-foot stories and … well look, you’ve seen the Brisbane Times.

The move has left the paper’s editorial staff somewhat exposed, with both owners of the paper — Independent News Media, and Richard Desmond’s Northern Shell — criticising the decision to publish. INM is a relatively straight company. Desmond made his fortune in p-rnography — from Penthouse to Readers’ Wives -- but it is he who has said how shocked, shocked he is to see bre-sts on the front page of the Star, instead of page three (four, five, six …) where they belong.

Indeed, so angry is he that he has threatened to close the paper — a decision that has nothing to do with the fact that he owns the UK Daily Star entire, and could simply distribute an Irish edition on the Emerald Isle, saving him a fortune.

Meanwhile, of course, the pictures are available so far up on Google, you can access them almost via an act of thought. The UK papers know that to publish the photos, with Lord Leveson still to deliver his recommendations for press regulation, would be suicide — but they are hemming and hawing about the publication of Prince Harry’s Las Vegas nudie shots in terms of “public interest … does our Prince have adequate security …” (or, indeed, support).

The keenest debate around this latest scandalette — aside from the spurious point that this is “Diana all over again!” — is whether legal moves against publication will create a Streisand effect, prompting the ceaseless proliferation of the bo-bs across the tubes. Alternatively, it may be that there still some worth in preventing the spread of such pics through the paper press, as a way of maintaining some form of push-back.

All a little tame really. What a pity they did not double-down on the thing, and argue that y’know mother of future monarch, need to know they will be well-fed, etc (Crikey’s commitment to freedom demands that I record 34B, with an areola-to-nipple ratio of about three on the Cheezel scale of 1-5).

And on we go …

34
  • 1
    paddy
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Loved “infrared-top”.

  • 2
    Cyndi
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Hated “an areola-to-nipple ratio of about three on the Cheezel scale of 1-5”

  • 3
    floorer
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I get your pun all nork no action, but there was (as you noted toward the end) fork all nork either.

  • 4
    scott Roger
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The Star is sub-tabloid — a sort of infrared-top — which features stories of about 45 words apiece, n-ked birds, boy-eats-own-foot stories and … well look, you’ve seen the Brisbane Times.” When did Rundle last visit Brisbane? There is a very fine newspaper here, on-line free via Fairfax, which any thinking Queenslander should be reading twice a day. Puts everything else in the shade, including Crikey, with hard-hitting coverage in depth of local politics and links to wider stories and articles well over 45 words and nary a naked bird that I can find. Rundle may need to talk to his own defamation lawyers.

  • 5
    potatoes
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Guy Rundle, I love your american politics coverage. What happened? Were you worried that your readers were thinking “That Guy, he is so highbrow, getting on for Newsroom sanctimonious”? Had to lower the tone a bit? I only read this article because you wrote it and I was expecting something along the lines of - who gives a rats for this kind of t-tillation? I chuckled over the “Now would have been a time to get the baps out … the native queen-to-be, moving among her people, like Venus arising from the waves …” but then I got to “an areola-to-nipple ratio of about three on the Cheezel scale of 1-5”. Jeezus, I thought you were cleverer than that…Perhaps it pissed you off having to even cover this dross. I hope so.

  • 6
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey, GR, why not get your fat arse off that Soho barstool and try to get a face-to-face with Assange? (P. Adams scored one, though maybe he knew JA from way back?). Anyway if you want to write about something readers would like:

    No Assange DNA on torn condom – report September 17, 2012
    Forensic experts have failed to find crucial DNA evidence in the sexual assault case against Julian Assange … his lawyers suggest that is because a fake one may have been submitted..

    If this is correct, one wonders if the Swedish legal case is about to collapse? (And will the Brits still pursue him for breaking bail?)

  • 7
    david mckinnon
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree Scott the Brisbane Times is the best place for Brisbane/Qld news even though it’s only available online. Read the Courier Mail on the BCC library website for free if you must look at it in full. As for this little story well I didn’t bother google the description is enough.

  • 8
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    GR was possibly being sardonic about the BT. Either that or he has a d!ck measuring contest of long standing with John Birmingham.

  • 9
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    For God’s sake Guy, FFS what does it matter if the Duchess is photographed bare breasted? If people weren’t so obsessed about the subject of tits the vendors of this tripe wouldn’t have a market.

  • 10
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    No Guy, wrong again, Britannia Minor is Brittany not Ireland. still what’s a fact 0r two eh?

  • 11
    tinman_au
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    She’s a very fit young lady…

  • 12
    Tim H
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Rundle: Kate scandalette all nork and no action? Think again …”

    Hmmm well I did think again and still came up with no action.

    While not as bad as the Catalano puff piece about sexy babysitters it’s still pretty disappointing to see this kind of thing in Crikey, and Guy Rundle of all people. We do pay for this. Why am I starting to feel it’s getting like the Age Online around here?

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Tit for tat” journalism?

  • 14
    Liz45
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    @VENISE - HI Venise! Long time no hear? I think the main issue is taking the photo without her permission. I’m no royalist, but Diana was the only one I had any time for. I can also understand William’s anger. I’d be bloody mad too if it happened to me, while on a private holiday at a private hotel, home, particularly after his experiences re his mother. Good on them for going after this sleazy newspaper/magazine or whatever, in both France and Ireland. It’s another abuse of women; depicting us as ‘tools’ to give pleasure to users and abusers. I know who the ‘tools’ are!

    Our society has a jaundiced view of breasts as we’ve seen exhibited many times. You can have a poster etc with bare breasts on a public bill board or whatever, but women are still being asked to leave in some areas for breastfeeding their babies - and not a nipple in sight????The message from this sort of behaviour is, that breasts are only okay if they’re on show for ‘titillation’ purposes? (sorry, couldn’t resist that?)

    I recall teaching my young sons about how women’s bodies/sexuality were exploited. There was an orange juice company, and they had stickers around (about 5” square) with a well endowed woman wearing a very low cut top with the words “squeeze me” at the top. One would put this on a window or somewhere, and I’d take it down. This went on for a while, with nobody owning up - their father thought it was funny, but I finally won when on the news, a woman was asked to leave somewhere breastfeeding her baby. THEN they got it! The offending ad never appeared again!

  • 15
    Aphra
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I saw a tv program recently (can’t recall other details) which showed the paps using drones with photographic equipment to spy on Paris Hilton and friends who were not within range. This horrified me.

    I say good for the angry husband wanting to protect their privacy and his wife from humiliation. Of course his attitudes were formed by his mother’s treatment - he was, after all, only a kid when she died.

    I am pleased, nay, delighted, that the gutter press might well suffer for its peeping Tom compulsions.

  • 16
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Michael

    If you can hold off the personal insults for a while, and actually read, you’ll see I covered the Assange forensics more than a year ago, using the same material the Daily Mail has used - and gave a better and less oversimplified version of the story….

  • 17
    Moira Smith
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Aphra, good for Wills. I’d be LIVID if someone used a zoom lense that looks like a rocket launcher to photograph me on private property from something like 5 miles away then sold the photos. (I have to admit photos of me in the nuddy wouldn’t be worth much but it’s the principle of the thing.) And then when you think how Wills’ own mother was treated - even, apparently, being snapped as she lay dying - you have to understand how he feels.

  • 18
    James K
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Liz45 - spot on. It is yet another example of women being exploited by men.

    I hope they sue the papers for all they can get out of them.

  • 19
    Gerry Hatrick, OAP
    Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    OK, her titties, nigh, the titties that are now subsidised by the British Empire, aren’t massive silicone funbags.
    So, where do we evolve from here?

  • 20
    Sabre Bleu
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Well that’s ten minutes of my life wasted never to be recovered. Unconsciously I must have been after a salacious tit bit. This grade of pap confirms my decision to not renew my Crikey subscription in July as being sound. I am now a squatter who visits occasionally to see if conditions for the homeless has improved any.
    The irony of being contemporary to the very publications scoffed at in his article was clearly missed by Guy Rundle. Crikey, Brisbane Times, (Irish) Daily Star; all getting closer by the day.
    I find that I am getting much greater value from Straftor.

  • 21
    Graham R
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Some splendid giggles there.

  • 22
    SBH
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    So the Rundle defence is he reused the Daily Mail material and still over sipmlified?

    Of course Michael R it would be too much for Rundle to admit his stupendous error of geography.

    Is it too much to ask that some one who gets paid for journalism can do some actual journalism and get basic facts (like which country you’re talking about) right?

  • 23
    Holden Back
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Of course if that telephoto lens had been a rocket launcher … .

  • 24
    Angra
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The delicious irony (only picked up I think by Nicholas Witchell of the BBC),
    is that Kate and William were greeted in the Solomons of teams of dancers proudly wearing traditional attire, and the women of course topless!

    Dunno why westerners are so obsessed with female mammaries when public displays of such are common in many cultures and indeed even regarded as essential cultural tradition.

  • 25
    crapocular
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I think “an areola-to-nipple ratio of about three on the Cheezel scale of 1-5” was OK.

  • 26
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    @ANGRA - The big difference here, is that those women obviously ‘gave their permission’? Our bodies are our own business. In fact, they’re the only real area that is off base to anyone or everyone, unless invited. Kate didn’t give her permission. Any discussion about the size of her breasts etc is irrelevant. People, particularly women are sexualised too often by mags etc that are run by people too unintelligent to write NEWS? Then, when women particularly reach an age where we’re no longer sex objects, we’re invisible! I don’t understand what’s so hard to comprehend.

    They obviously don’t need the money; and the comment that her breasts are ‘paid for by the taxpayers’ (hope that was in jest) is irrelevant! I hope they get heaps of money, and in true ‘Diana style’ donate it to a kid’s cancer research or to get rid of land mines etc. She’d like that!

    This has nothing to do with anything, but I like William a lot, because he’s like his mum - he even looks like her. And, if she was still with them, Harry wouldn’t have behaved like he has at times!

  • 27
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    GUY RUNDLE at 9:42 pm

    I think you know there is no need to convince me. Just the other day I was writing another pointless comment somewhere else in response to so many others (not Crikey readers) who keep attributing various revelations in the Assange affair to the recent 4 Corners program — -when Crikey readers wondered what was new about it.

    And seriously wouldn’t there be a reasonable chance of an interview with JA? And what is going on with the two women? (I suppose subjudice but when did that stop a true wannabee gonzo journo?) The “33 year old alleged rape victim” is Anna Ardin the political activist so any tampering with evidence must surely destroy the whole case, especially as the other, Sofia Wilén, had wanted to withdraw from the whole thing. (I have all this on dodgy authority of that lush Rundle bloke). You are surely in a perfect position to investigate this (assuming you are back on that Soho barstool) in London and Sweden.

    As to gratuitous insults, quid pro quo .

  • 28
    Guwardi
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Lighten up you lot, great article GR. Loved the “that would have been a time to get the baps out” reminds me of home

  • 29
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    MICHAEL R JAMES
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    GUY RUNDLE at 9:42 pm

    I think you know there is no need to convince me. Just the other day I was writing another pointless comment somewhere else in response to so many others (not Crikey readers) who keep attributing various revelations in the Assange affair to the recent 4 Corners program — -when Crikey readers wondered what was new about it.

    And seriously wouldn’t there be a reasonable chance of an interview with JA? And what is going on with the two women? (I suppose subjudice but when did that stop a true wannabee gonzo journo?) The “33 year old alleged r_pe victim” is Anna Ardin the political activist so any tampering with evidence must surely destroy the whole case, especially as the other, Sofia Wilén, had wanted to withdraw from the whole thing. (I have all this on dodgy authority of that lush Rundle bloke). You are surely in a perfect position to investigate this (assuming you are back on that Soho barstool) in London and Sweden.

    As to gratuitous insults, quid pro quo .

  • 30
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    LIZ : Hi, but the mammaries linger on?

  • 31
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    @VENISE - Very good! Lol!

    @GUWARDI - I’m guessing that you’re a bloke? I have a reputation in my family(siblings - not own children - they know better?) because I refuse to laugh at racist/sexist jokes? I was telling a late friend of mine (also a feminist) some of the adverse comments re this state of affairs, and she said, ‘don’t worry, everyone will tell you that feminists don’t have a sense of humour’? There’s no excuse for this sort of revolting behaviour - it’s an invasion of privacy - one of the few things we have that isn’t on CCTV or monitored in some way? Our bodies!

  • 32
    Aaron F
    Posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    There is a very simple solution to the lack of privacy for the Royal family. No longer have/finance a Royal family. It would save British tax payers millions and Wills and Kate could go about topless sunbathing in private (once public interest eventually died down) having travelled to France using their own money - not tax payers’ money. Harry could frolick naked in Las Vegas with whoever he wanted having paid for the trip with his own money - not tax payers’ money.

    See, the people who support continuing to finance a Royal family are also the ones that are interested in what they are doing (for some stupid reason) and like to see pictures of them touring around the place, dining at nice restaurants, living it up on yaughts. I guess they just want to see how their tax dollars are being spent. If these tax dollars are spent on Las Vegas hotel rooms to host naked parties or trips to France to sunbath topless then expect that will also be public interest. The ultimate privacy would means zero public interest in the Royal family and zero public interest in financing the Royal family with tax dollars.

  • 33
    Owen Gary
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Is this issue worth commenting on?

  • 34
    Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    OWEN: It isn’t-if you’ve read my previous comments, you’ll know how this Republican thinks. But I do think AARON has arrived at the wrong end of the lollypop.

    The reason my fellow ockers lurve royalty is because they’ve been brought up to do so. Add to that their adoration of celebrities and together you’ve got an insatiable market. One day in the wild and distant future, if we can improve the level of education, the people will realise the value of brain power over vacuous royal nonentities, (I live in hope.) Gradually this interest in imported and unimportant frivolity will cease to amaze and the market which Kath and Kim so ruthlessly send up, will lose interest. That’s when the voters will be ready for an Oz Republic.

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