Opinion

Commentary: Why are we thrilled by others' pain?

Are you happy now??

All you eyes pressed to the window staring at the detritus of someone else's life, all you mouths chattering together like birds on a wire, all you watchers and voyeurs, you Peeping Toms and Thomasinas, you eye spies and inquiring minds that had to know, did you get what you needed, did you see what you wanted? Are you happy now?

I'd think you would be. The photo, after all, is pitilessly explicit: a close-up of a woman facing the camera with eyes closed in a face scarred by bruises and abrasions, and what looks like dried blood in the corner of her mouth. L.A. police say it appears to be authentic, an image of singer Rihanna taken as part of their investigation of singer Chris Brown, who allegedly assaulted her on Feb. 8.

The department has launched a probe, ongoing as of this writing, to determine how the picture could have made it from their files onto TMZ.com, the celebrity gossip website, on Feb. 22. There is suspicion that some cop or clerk stole it and sold it, trading a young woman's misery for personal profit.

But hey, you had to know, right? All you fans and fanatics who scour the Web obsessively for the latest dish on Brad and Angie, Tom and Katie, Chris and Rihanna and other luminaries who don't know you from Adam but with whom you are, nevertheless, on a first name basis . . . you needed this information, did you not?

You had a sacred right to stare into the battered face of a hurt and vulnerable woman on one of the worst nights of her life.

As a poster who fancies herself (maybe himself?) "Sultry Siren" puts it on TMZ's site: "And for all you saying TMZ shouldn't have posted the photo. Shut it up! We wanted to see it and TMZ always delivers."

Amen. Because we all know that what you want is all that really matters.

To read the complete column, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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