Here's the controversy in a single sentence.
A woman in the UK, who has a rather nice $8million house in Spain, is suing several newspapers because they printed information that they found on Bebo about a party held at the house, information that turned out to be false, even though it was put there by the woman's daughter, Jodie.
As far as I can twig it, Amanda Hudson is claiming that the information her daughter freely placed on Bebo, describing the party as seven shades of raucous, was intended for private use only and was not for rebroadcast by any other party.
And the fact that the newspapers printed the story, assuming it to be true, caused Mrs. Hudson to receive abusive phone calls. How frightful.
After all, in her Bebocious attempt to be the next James Frey, Jodie claimed her mother had punched her.
Shocking, I tell you, shocking. It could sell millions.
This story has spoiled my dinner.
Because I find myself chewing and swallowing at the same time, posing two entirely different sets of questions.
What were these newspapers thinking? What were they doing printing stuff from Bebo without any checking? Teenagers are mini-politicians, driven by rancid hormones and a thorough distaste for their parents. They'll say anything. Why didn't someone on the news desk at least call the Spanish police to see if they'd witnessed the alleged vomit stains, the discarded condoms, you know, the evidence that a good time had been had by all? And why did the newspapers think this was a good story? Did they merely have space to fill? Or is there some joy attached to hearing about a large detached house getting trashed?
What is Amanda Hudson thinking? It was her daughter who claimed all this stuff happened. It was her little Jodie that scribbled the information into the public domain. The newspapers merely printed it. It was from the social networks that they obtained the news that her Mother had allgedly Mayweathered her. If Mrs. Hudson really cared about privacy, why the hell is she rehashing everything in the most public forum possible by slapping a lawsuit on six newspapers, organizations that tend to be run by folks who know a thing or two about publicity? Many of the newspapers still have the story on their sites. Do they think Mrs. Hudson needs a new roof on the house and is trying to get them to pay for it? Does Mrs. Hudson really think she will get fewer unpleasant phone calls now?
As you can see, I am confused and indigested.
Doesn't everyone know that if they shove something onto a social networking site, any and every person on earth might end up reading it?
Has anyone has actually asked Jodie why she did it? Might that not be significant?
On the other hand, her Mother's no doubt upstanding lawyer, David Price, claimed: "Teenage conversation has always involved a large amount of embellishment..., but until recently it has not been communicated in a way that can potentially be accessed by the mass media."
So we're only now finding out the truth about teenage conversations? All those books and movies and magazines were fibbing? Let's add those questions to, let's see, Bucket B.
Somehow I'm reminded of the story in Colorado recently, in which a parent was appalled when eighteen members of her sons' middle school exchanged naked pictures of themselves online.
It seemed as if the parent was trying to effect an emotional Botox treatment, saving face because that was the most important thing to save.
The kids were beyond hope. Er, I mean, needed protecting from themselves.
Still, it will be interesting to see whether the questions from Bucket A or Bucket B prove to be the more telling.
I just saw on Facebook that one of my former assistants is enjoying the intimate company of a famous film actor.
I can't tell you who.
Her Mom might sue. Or his.