Monday, 24 May 2010

How Much Better Can You Eat?

I naively offered the opinion many years ago that the investigations of the News of the World’s Mazher Mahmood, scourge of celebrities everywhere, would have a certain shelf-life. Surely, there would come a point when the modus operandi of Mazher and his cohorts would become so obvious to the ‘victims’ that he would be unable to continue operating his stings. Apparently not.

The weekend’s revelation that, to use Bernard Ingham’s happy phrase, a semi-detached member of the Royal Family, was offering cash for access demonstrates that Mazher is still the King of celebrity entrapment.

The really puzzling thing though, for me, is why celebrities keep putting themselves in this position. Is there not some sort of internal alarm bell that goes off when a gentleman of Middle Eastern or Asiatic origin offers them huge amounts of money in a hotel room in order to do something dodgy? Is it that all reason and common sense goes out of the window when people are offered piles of money?

There is a brilliant exchange from one of my favourite films, Chinatown, when private investigator Jake Gittes asks the already obscenely rich Noah Cross why he is bothering to drive down land prices by restricting water supplies in the Los Angeles valley in order to snap them up for a pittance. “Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?” asks Gittes.

I’d like answers to some of those questions from Mazher’s victims.


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