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Associated Press
A pseudo-scandal has arisen over topless photos of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge.

Topless photos are big business, but not scandal

They are marching like marauders across Europe.

France, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Italy have already been compromised.

Europe’s other woes were already threatening global stability. Then this happened.

We can only assume that the world’s greatest minds have come together to combat the scourge that is the breasts of the former Kate Middleton.

Yes, the danger presented by grainy photos of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, sunbathing topless while on vacation in France cannot be underestimated, if the tone of some daily news reports is to be believed.

They may be grainy, but they’re also juicy, according to Forbes magazine, where the unprecedented phrase “juicy yet grainy” recently appeared.

Tabloids in the five aforementioned countries have already published these photos, and more are apparently weighing the pros and cons of doing so.

This despite legal threats from the British royal family and despite the peril posed by the Internet, where the omnipresence of these photos threatens to make any subsequent attempt to print them an exemplification of the phrase, “Closing the barn door after the horse is out.”

According to the Huffington Post, the royal family is fighting to “contain the spread” of these photos, which makes it sound like a pandemic, doesn’t it?

This, of course, raises the question: How do we prevent ourselves and our families from catching the cold that is Catherine’s toplessness?

Well, one thing we can do is something that Catherine failed to do: Keep our chests covered when we are outdoors.

I hope I am not alone in wondering what the hubbub is all about here.

My bewilderment may have something to do with the way this pseudo-scandal uniquely combines two international obsessions I have never fully understood: the obsession with all instances of celebrity nudity, including barely perceptible ones, and the obsession with the royal family.

I have never been to France, but my understanding is that going topless in France is about as mundane an activity as eating scrod on Cape Cod.

Whereas we have clothing-optional beaches, France has nakedness-mandatory beaches.

I may have just exaggerated a bit there, but everything about this battle royal is exaggerated: the outrage of monarchy-besotted Brits, the prurience of cyber-gawkers and the sums paid to photographers who bring back photos of naked celebrities.

Whatever aspect of this is getting you all het up, don’t blame Catherine.

The (U.K.) Daily Mail published a photo of the spot where it believes the photographer stood while shooting these photos, and all I gotta say is, that must have been some telephoto lens.

With this sort of lens, you could presumably shoot photos of the Lincoln Tower from Waynedale.

If a photographer can stand as far away from Catherine as this one allegedly did and produce sellable images, then celebrities have to wonder if there is a reasonable definition of the phrase “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

I don’t know what a paparazzo is paid for photos of this sort, but I would guess that each image is worth at least as much as a new Toyota Yaris.

At prices like these, what struggling company can afford not to get into the paparazzi business?

Kodak might have been able to save itself from bankruptcy if it had rededicated itself to creating a powerful lens that would allow a paparazzo in Miami to shoot celebrity nudity in Nassau.

NASA could fund future space exploration by shifting the focus of the Hubble Space Telescope from the Horsehead Nebula to Jessica Alba’s Belize shower stall.

When the cutting edge of technology meets the cutting edge of ogling, there are no losers!

The only thing that could put the brakes on this economic gravy train is if people started to grow up and stopped being so sophomoric about the female breast.

Luckily, that won’t happen any time soon.

Steve Penhollow is an arts and entertainment writer for The Journal Gazette. His column appears Sundays. He appears Fridays on WPTA-TV, Channel 21, WISE-TV, Channel 33, and WBYR, 98.9 FM to talk about area happenings. Email him at A Facebook page for “Rants & Raves” can be accessed at