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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Why we care about Wayne Rooney's problems

On the way home I listened to The Guardian's Football Weekly. They touched on the Rooney business. The consensus seemed to be that it's none of our business what goes on between Rooney, his wife and one of the hordes of young women who make a career out of sleeping with Premiership footballers.

True enough. It is none of our business. But then somebody said that he had no interest in what Rooney did when he wasn't playing football. That's not true. We are very interested. That interest may be unworthy and impossible to justify but it's there just the same.

Part of this may be a desire to see the rich and famous brought low. I wonder if it's also fuelled by the fact that in our atomised way of life we spend less of our time gossiping about neighbours, family members and work colleagues, as earlier generations might have done, and more time cackling over the misfortunes of those we will never meet and somehow assume are beyond hurt. We're not going to stop, of course, because gossip is in our bones. As the old movie line goes, "if you can't think of anything nice to say about someone, come sit by me."