13 July 2005

Shane Warne Fears The Media Googly

Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, after featuring in more than one news item concerning his naughty off-field behaviour, has split with his wife, and wants the media to stay off--so it doesn't get any tougher for him. Poor bloke finds out that off-breaks with leg-spin action do not necessarily work in personal life. He deserves a break, an off-break.
But his plea begs the question: Is the personal life of a celebrity out-of-bounds for journalists? Should it be that way?
Obviously, anything in bad taste is, well, bad. But celebrities need to ask themselves a question, a simple enough one at that: If they are ready to advertise a watch, a soap or a car because they play good cricket or something, is not a journalist entitled to enquire a bit on the side about them? More so, when you consider the fact that celebrity sporting figures are being roped in for social causes. From polio vaccine campaigns for poor children to seeking empowerment for women, sportspeople and movie stars are used as role models. It stands to reason, therefore, that the characters of role models are not a bad thing to examine.
Of course, it makes sense for tabloidal press to seek titiliatory business from celebrity gossip. Their ethics or business practices can always be open for debate.
That doesn't however, take away the fact that celebrities encourage trivia that gives them mileage. No one is asking questions about why the world should care about some obscure fashion designer's opinion on animal rights, or a little-known starlet's views on 9/11. I haven't come across a celebrity who says: "Don't ask me about 9/11...why don't you talk to someone in the police?"
They love it when the publicity suits them.
And what goes up, as they say, has a reasonable chance of coming down.

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