Like most Americans, I treat everything that comes from outside our borders as something to either be afraid of or laugh at, and I don't care if this makes me an ugly American, but the unfolding brouhaha over Ryan Giggs' Super Injunction is outright hilarious.
Let's begin with some background info for those who may not be familiar with Ryan Giggs or England's surreal libel law. First, Giggs is an elite veteran midfielder who plays for perhaps the world's largest team, Manchester United. For comparison purposes, we'll call him the Derek Jeter of the soccer world.
Second, in England libel laws allow a person to file a Super Injunction which, in effect, forbids the media from directly naming them in connection to a particular event or circumstance. It’s a law that at first blush seems completely insane, and thanks to this whole Ryan Giggs I now conclusively know is completely insane.
Everyone knew that Giggs was the unnamed man rumored to have an affair with Welsh model Imogen Thomas. Everyone. This is 2011 and England isn’t N. Korea. Even if the major press couldn’t report Gigg’s name everyone else could, and two parallel universes quickly developed. One in which thousands of people knew Ryan Giggs had been seeing Thomas on the side, and another in which Ryan Giggs didn’t even exist.
And then, eureka! In a debate over the Super Injunction law in the British Parliament, specifically regarding whether that law applied to Twitter and Facebook, MP John Hemming said the following:
Giggs! Giggs! He said Giggs! While the media was still unable to report on Giggs’ alleged affair, they could report that an MP had said that Ryan Giggs had the affair. In other words, “Hey, we’re not saying that Giggs couldn’t keep it in his soccer shorts, we’re just saying that John Hemming thinks he can’t keep it in his shorts.”
Ah, England, you’re so funny with your nonsensical libel laws. If you ever want to see how a celebrity sex scandal is really done just turn your eyes westward to the good ol’ US of A. Because when it comes to reporting on things that don’t really matter, no one does it matter than the red, white and blue.
(Final tally: I used the name Ryan Giggs 13 times in this piece alone. Actually, you can now make that 14 times.)