Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Wake up, Kate; photogs are always watching

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor
updated 6:20 AM EDT, Thu September 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin: Michael Jordan, aware of his image, kept covered up, even in locker room
  • He says Jordan could advise Kate Middleton: In media-obsessed world, cover up
  • He says royals can be aghast if they want, but lurid pictures sell and people want to be shocked
  • Martin: The world of privacy is gone, not coming back; if you're famous,don't sunbathe naked

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- When basketball legend Michael Jordan talked to the press after a Chicago Bulls or Washington Wizards game, fans never got to see the superstar with sweat dripping from his brow or a towel wrapped around his waist after emerging from the shower.

Consciously aware of his image, Jordan would dress in a side room and not in the main locker room with the other players. So when he emerged, he was suited and booted. Some players would walk around naked, oblivious to the strangers standing there; others had towel wraps on, even dressing with members of the media standing not 10 feet away.

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

Maybe Jordan should put in a call to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and the wife of Prince William, and give her a lesson or two on what you need to do in this media-obsessed world -- now that photos of her breasts have been published by a French newspaper.

Brits are aghast at the breach of protocol, and Buckingham Palace is threatening legal action. Good luck with that. They are better off sitting Kate down with the same person who had to counsel Prince Harry after his butt-naked romp in a Las Vegas suite.

Royals to sue over nude photos

Look, I'm not the least bit insensitive to the shock and horror of the young married couple seeing magazine photos of themselves sunbathing on private property in France. Yet my mama and daddy always taught me that if you don't want someone to see your private parts, then don't show them in public for someone to see.

UK royals want criminal case over pics
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are carried as they bid farewell in Tuvalu on Wednesday, September 19. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- on a tour marking the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II -- are visiting Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. See more of CNN's best photography. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are carried as they bid farewell in Tuvalu on Wednesday, September 19. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- on a tour marking the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II -- are visiting Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. See more of CNN's best photography.
William and Kate visit Far East
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: William and Kate visit Far East Photos: William and Kate visit Far East

Over decades now, we have become accustomed to the crazed antics of the paparazzi invading the personal space of celebrities. Pantyless shots of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton getting out of cars? Check. No-talent celebrities like Kim Kardashian starring in sex tapes to pave the way to the land of riches? Check. Cell phone videos of celebs doing whatever to whomever they want in nightclubs? Check.

Our culture not only has accepted it, we revel in it. Seriously, do you think all of those celebrity magazines and websites with photos of stars walking to the store to get coffee lose money? No. We live in the age of voyeurism, and the long lenses of the paparazzi satisfy our insatiable desire for the garbage.

"Mindless entertainment" is what I've heard folks call it. Just mindless is how I'll classify it.

Irish tabloid publishes topless royal photos

It would be great if celebs could be themselves. And it's terrible that folks can't drop the pretenses and have dinner with friends without thinking someone has a phone video camera on them and is capturing private remarks. But that world left us long ago, and it's not coming back. As long as photographers can reap six-figure pay days, and websites can rack up millions of page views and charge advertisers more money, every boob shot of a celeb will be shown.

Call it despicable and degrading, but it also creates a situation that requires common sense. Kate, unless you know for sure that no one else's prying eyes -- or camera -- will see you, don't sunbathe naked.

All of the screaming and righteous indignation won't do a darn thing to stop the next celeb or royal family member who chooses to show up in his or her birthday suit. Blame the photographer all day (and it's a job I would never want). But if she never takes the top off outside, we're not having this discussion.

Right, Michael Jordan?

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 3:27 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT