Volume 2 Number 1 • Spring 2010

Pamela Gay

Invasion of Privacy

After Thomas Bernhard

The Voice Imitator

In 1966 a man known as The Moors Murderer was jailed for life. Thirty years later he went to court to challenge a ruling by the Press Complaints commission concerning his privacy. The man claimed that a photograph taken of him with a telephoto lens outside the maximum security hospital and published in The Sun was an invasion of privacy. In the original ruling, the Commission said that the fact that he is a notorious child murderer justifies some scrutiny of him “in the public interest.” However, the judge ruled that since the murderer would never be set free, the public did not need to know what he looks like. Furthermore, the judge speculated, publishing a photo that looks like a mug shot from a “Most Wanted” poster might frighten children. The day after the ruling The Moors Murderer posed for a photo inside hospital grounds. The next day he appeared in the Evening Star wearing a smile.

Pamela Gay teaches Flash Fiction at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Her writing has been published in Iowa Review Web, Other Voices (CA), Paterson Literary Review, Vestal Review, BOGG: Journal of Contemporary Writing, Neotrope: Progressive Fiction, Phoebe, and Le Forum. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellowship and national e-book award for creative narrative nonfiction and has also received grants from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) for installations based on her writing.

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