On Monday my friend Paddy Manning, a gay man in Ireland, published “The Airbrushed Portrait of the Perfect Marriage” at Mercatornet. The article critiqued the narrative that Elton John and David Furnish have “one of the most blissfully happy marriages” in show-business. Paddy points out that such a picture of the couple is only possible because, in the name of protecting their children, there is a legal injunction saddling the British press/internet which forbids publishing details of their extra-marital escapades.
So, in other words, the nature of these two men’s behavior and it’s inevitable impact on the children is not a problem. But reporting it is. The solution is not to stop the escapades, but to censor the reporting of them.
Because Mercatornet isn’t based in the UK, they published Paddy’s article. However, Mercatornet then informed Paddy that Elton John’s lawyers “issued an injunction of some sort to the hosting company and the hosting company told us that they would shut down the site unless we removed the article. So I have had to take down “The air-brushed portrait of a perfect marriage”. We cannot afford the costs of fighting this.”
Got that? Remove the article, or the entire site gets shut down.
Mercatornet took down the article. Paddy then posted the article to his own blog. Google is now taking steps to block traffic to his personal site as well.
Paddy is a supporter of traditional marriage and an outspoken critic of surrogacy, so I am happy to share his article especially if other sites cannot. I recommend that you read it, copy it, and share it before the great PC gods bring down their wrath upon the WordPress admins. Until then, here’s his banned article:
Very Imperfect Super Injunction
Under the headline “The Perfect Marriage” the Daily Mail gushed in prose so breathless anaerobic life forms sprouted spontaneously on the screen:
Eleven years ago this month, Sir Elton John proposed to his partner, David Furnish, thus formalising a relationship that — as the whole world knows — has blossomed into one of the most blissfully happy of show business marriages. We know this, of course, because Sir Elton and David have been generous enough to share almost every detail of their relationship and family life through the pages of celebrity magazines, in high-profile TV interviews and on social media.
Leaving aside the need to wipe one’s screen & overdose on anti-nausea medication, there cannot now be a literate person in the British Isles who does not know that Elton John, and his husband David Furnish, are the couple at the centre of the long running “PJS” super-injunction. The journalist who typed that saccharine fogged horror knows, as everybody with access to the internet knows. The courts have become Canute’s courtiers standing in a digital tide.
Furnish flew to the US for a tryst with a gay couple who subsequently (no honour amongst sluts) tried sell a kiss-and-tell to the Sun newspaper. The Sun, preparing the article, contacted lawyers for the couple. The Elton Johns were granted a ferocious super-injunction to protect their privacy largely argued on the grounds of protecting “their” children. Mr Furnish was not being unfaithful; Judge Jackson noted that “the spouse of PJS accepts that theirs is not a mutually exclusive sexual relationship”.
The internet is international, not bound by a London court and sites on servers in California, Canton and Cavan can be read by English men and women, making the court’s action seem futile but with the great blunt mace of the super injunction the court may fiercely coerce silence. The English can read news on foreign sites but they will be punished for discussing it. This is late Tudor England with electric light. The court has infantilised the English in a desperate attempt to preserve a propaganda Potemkin village for the English establishment.
What does it matter if some guy flies to America for a night of sex with two other middle aged men? We are all adults, are we not and is not their private life their own? Who are we, mere humans, fallible and frail, to judge.
Who are we indeed.
The tawdry private life of the (any) couple, the arrangements they make for their own amusement wouldnt matter if they had not spent some much effort convincing us that they do. A fictional version of their life together has been slathered in every media outlet that can print or say the home life of our own dear queen and this has been for brutal political purpose: same sex marriage is good, surrogacy better. The press is for propaganda and the commoners as a have a no right to know the truth or competing versions of the truth. The court, wittingly or unwittingly has made itself partner in a vicious hypocrisy, defending the illusion of the Elton John’s family life against its sordid reality and worse, pretending to do it for the children so that the great and good may go on lying.
Little argument can be made for the saving children from the putative damage of the relationship’s public exposure when they are living with two selfish hedonists who obtained them by purchase. If the story behind the super injunction casts a cold light on the Elton John’s understanding of marriage, it must cast an icy glaze on the horrid practice of surrogacy: a combination of eugenics, prostitution, kidnapping, slavery and child abuse regarded as a a thing of beauty by every fashionable clown.
Not buying the Sun for a few days in the Elton John household is a better option than coercive national censorship. If you make your relationship a lodestar of public policy, the public have every right to hear about that relationship’s reality, even if that makes you blush, sweat or squirm. Elton John regularly uses his relationship and those children to bolster arguments for issues as far reaching as transgender bathroom rights in North Carolina.( http://thehill.com/…/279995-north-carolina-governors-ignora…) The super injunction is a wealthy elitist having his cake and eating it but being backed by the public courts in the act.
If public policy is to be argued and defended by reference to one’s own family, it is a logical quid pro quo that one’s family life is publically reportable. A family of conservative Christians leveraging their family life for influence would find a very different reception to request for privacy no matter how the courts ruled.
The Supreme Court, by re-instating the injunction thrown out by the Court of Appeals, has placed the lives of the rich, famous and who have children out of bounds. Because the Elton Johns are wealthy and have children, the rules that apply to media reporting their sexual escapades are markedly different to the reporting of childless Darren and Mandy from Dagenham. “Love rat Darren ate my hamster” is permissible but the exposure of celeb parents with the funds to persuade the state of the value of their privacy is anathema.
This creates a strange, unlegislated, new restriction on press freedom. Kiss-and-tell and Darren-broke-my-bed stories may be distasteful, boring, reassurance for the miserable that nobody is really any better, a way of keeping everybody in the mud, but they are the price of a free press. That price is worth paying many times over.
Giving the right to decide what can be reported or what is news to anybody other than those who buy papers or consume news, is toxically dangerous, undermining the ability of media to report the actions of the powerful and leaving the public less trusting with each omission, each breach of the trust that we will be told the story by somebody competing for our attention.
Tinfoil hats and conspiracies thrive in the half-light these injunctions generate. They have no place in a net linked world or in a free country.
Originally written for mercatornet, was available on my blog at http://thickerthantalk.blogspot.ie/…/in-last-few-days-under…