Human Nature, the Leveson Inquiry and why we can’t change the world.
The Leveson Inquiry has filled our collective conscience with many images of distress straight from the pages of a lurid horror weekly. Who doesn’t tremble with fear at the thought of Sienna Miller being perused frantically through an apocalyptic London by a rabid pack of ghouls; Drenched in their own sweat and saliva, willing to do whatever is necessary for that elusive photograph? How about the thought of a couple, mourning the loss of their daughter, stalked through the night by a psychopath intent on discovering every facet of their distress? Creepy isn’t it.
Like the best horror movies, there is also a subtext to the Leveson Inquiry. This is not a monster from space, a personification of pure evil, or some kind of demon from hell. Like Frankenstein and Godzilla; this is a monster of our own creation. Whatever the eventual outcome of the report, all the Leveson Inquiry shows is that we are all evil shits.
Like the gods on Mount Olympus, we have been given unchecked control over peoples lives, and we love it. We build them up, make their dreams come true and (when we feel like it) trample over everything they have become. We may justify ourselves by our actions towards the former, but it is our power to destroy that we really enjoy exercising. Who hasn’t taken to twitter to berate, say, James Cordon for trying to be a comedian when he isn’t funny? Or Piers Morgan for being a slimy turd licking toad? Or Adrian Chiles for looking like squashed mouldy potatoe? We are all guilty of it, and will continue to be so for as long as we have a voice. This is human nature.
But what about the people who sent Lilly Allen jokes about her miscarriage? Or those who wrote to Jade Goody’s husband, mocking the death of his wife? Not so nice then is it. This is the problem, where do we draw the line? It can be guaranteed that we would all chose a different point, and this is where the Leveson Inquiry falls down. We can’t expect a small group of people to solve a problem, a problem that is (unfortunately) human nature. It is true the press cannot be trusted, they had already promised to “behave better” after Diana’s death, but how are supposed to regulate them?
Maybe we should take a different stance. Like Recycling and Climate Change, let us start at home. We can stop buying tabloids, we can be less hypocritical about what we say or do. We can separate “celebrity” and “culture” and we can just celebrate the good. Of course (like Recycling and Climate Change) this won’t make any difference, but at least then our handwringing wouldn’t sound so hollow.