Speculation, as always, is rife. It’s rarely anything but rife. The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will include the following entry…
Speculationisrife (spek’u-la shun iz rif). Definition: a lot of media people talking arrant nonsense about any old celebrity for want of something better to fill up, for example, a PR industry think-piece on MediaGuardian.co.uk [deriv. C20th/21st tabloid].
The speculationisrife phenomenon this week concerns Elizabeth Hurley. (Additional padding for incorporation at this point, should I need to increase the word count: “the dazzling, beautiful, sensual British movie star, who won the shocked admiration and attention of the world when, on that memorable night, she first wore “that” dress”.)
Two weeks ago, the big news was: we think – we think – Hurley may be pregnant.
What rubbish. This was no speculation. It was a fact. Some people knew it and others didn’t. “Speculation” was just a way of seeding a nice little media saga.
Had Hurley simply told the media: “I’m up the duff,” there’d have been a load of phwoaar-what-a-pregnant-scorcher and hunt-the-dad articles in the tabloids.
These would be backed by some heavyweight, issue-based broadsheet features on how Hurley is single-handedly responsible for a massive increase in Caesareans because she’s forced millions of hapless women into wearing that kind of dress.
Then everyone could have got back to discussing David Beckham’s hairstyle.
But no. We have “speculation”. And “speculation” implies there is something that – maybe, just maybe – Hurley wants to hide.
Reporting “speculation” promotes the self-importance of the reporter.
“Speculation” suggests access to exclusive inner sources of information.
“Speculation” suggests there is more to come. Everything is going very Mills & Boon, thank you very much. Let the cliffhanger commence.
First there’s “speculation” (ie somebody gets a rock solid tip-off) about Hurley’s boyfriend, Steve Bing the bounder.
So we’ll spend a bit of time nailing the nasty bastard.
Then we work towards the artfully organised climax – the accidental photocall.
Bastard despatched, up pops that truly topping gent and one-time amour, Hugh Grant, and the couple is oh-so-inconveniently caught on camera, sweeping away from her house in a Merc.
This is callous, unscrupulous exploitation of innocent paparazzi in the sordid interest of self-promotion.
So what’s going on? Where? Why? When? Who with? And how often? We can only speculate. What a good idea. Watch these tabloid and broadsheet spaces as the drama unfolds.
There’s never anything simple about celebrities. They’re all stars in their own, self-created soap operas.
We should get on to the police. There’s bound to be a dismembered, lesbian, incest victim buried under at least one A-list patio.
Hugh’s and Liz’s “fleeing in Merc” pic was nicely staged. Personally, I preferred the one that surfaced this week of Cameron Diaz looking almost as bad as you or I after too much partying.
It’s nice to know that sometimes (let me emphasise “sometimes” for legal reasons) Lassie’s not the only superstar who looks like a dog.
Oh, and a final thought about Hurley.
Given her established role as celebrity coathanger, perhaps this whole story simply marks the first move in a strategic campaign to secure a lucrative modelling contract for Mothercare’s maternity range.