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Wake up, Kate; photogs are always watching

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor
September 20, 2012 -- Updated 1020 GMT (1820 HKT)
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
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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?

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

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