Friday, August 8, 2008

Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa? Gone to the White House, Ha Ha Ha

Well, not this time.

So, John Edwards--who is not running for public office at the moment (and is therefore what kind of Pressing National Interest?) had an extra-marital sexual affair.

And that's news...why, again?

Oh that's right--because our national news media have an insatiable appetite for scandal. And since this is America, appetite translates as entitlement. I want it, therefore I have a right to it.

You know, a swarm of reporters shouting questions at you is not the same thing as a bailiff swearing you into courtroom testimony. The press has a Constitutional right to ferret after and publish whatever it considers to be news--but that doesn't mean that any of us have a Constitutional (or any other) obligation to be honest with them. In fact, I would argue quite the opposite. We've come to believe that a Man with a Camera has a right to your innermost thoughts as long as the camera is pointed at you. That's nonsense. He has a right to exactly nothing.

As far as I'm concerned, the only honorable response to public questions about your sexual exploits is to lie. Politicians and other celebrities should lie like hell whenever they're asked about their private lives--and they should announce clearly and plainly that they are lying, and will continue to lie--perhaps ludicrously so--for as long as the press continues to ask such idiotic and unimportant questions. "This is none of your business," they should say, "and if you continue to ask me these questions, I'm just going to start making stuff up."

Sure, they'll print it anyway, and the first few victims will get smeared, and The General Public will believe it. But after a while, the sheer volume of nonsense coming out of everyone's mouths will start to make the questions pointless. And then, perhaps, they'll stop.

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