Does it even matter if they got the celebrity news illegally? Isn’t there something wrong with it anyway?

This Soviet war poster conveys the message: &q...

A Soviet war poster "Don't chat! Chatting leads to treason" (1941). Image via Wikipedia

It seems strange to ask such a thing. Nowadays, the law is the line in the sand when it comes to morality and anyone who can successfully say in court that they’re on the right side of it then the morality of it per se is never discussed.

There’s a similar phenomenon with office gossip. I’ve been thinking about office gossip recently: who’s a good source, who’s good at making informed guesses, etc. But what’s more interesting is the question of how that person came to learn of a particular item of gossip. What’s the relationship between these two people? Was it in conversation or overheard? It can tell you a lot.

It’s interesting to hear about how well people keep it together. “Being professional” is a game all employed play. People who can cleanly separate home and work are celebrated, and rightly so, so long as they are succeeding at it.

When people fail at it, the mere act can become gossip or, worse, they end up revealing something quite personal themselves. Celebrities and mortals alike, the question as to what to do with personal knowledge once you have it is one that can burn you if it’s too hot.

For the media, the obvious answer is “print it”. It’s how they make their money and many detest it; but it’s legal. Really, that’s what keeps it going – that and an exploitable mass of readers, gurning gleefully at some sorry sop that somehow compensates the void in their own life.

Of course, it’s easy to sneer when other people do it and then delight when you’re able to do it yourself. Which is why I’m not truly believing what I am writing. I don’t mean that in some sort of figurative way (e.g., “what the devil are my hands doing?!”) but in a literal way.

If we’re guilty of it ourselves then is it all right to project this seemingly hypocritical standard onto corporations? Well, you could say yes on the grounds that there is significant difference between a few people at the office knowing a secret about you to anybody with an internet connection.

We all have secrets we don’t want other people to know. Part of life is being able to reinvent yourself – celebrities are often mocked for doing so. Part of that is burying the past and moving on after you’ve dealt with it. The level of intrusion by the media is horrifying.

Leave people alone. If you don’t like someone and you tell them to leave you alone, I think you have a right to expect that they do. This applies to work, personal, and celebrity lives. Find other things to do.

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