Christopher Wayne Hudson is so hot right now, it seems.

Who’s he, you ask? He’s the guy who allegedly killed one man and shot two other people in rush-hour Melbourne one morning last month. Shortly thereafter, a shirtless photo of him was slapped on the front cover of TheDaily Telegraph – all stocky muscle, smirking attitude and sexy ink – and hey presto, Gay Australia got itself a new fantasy bad-taste lust object.

Ask around, and you’ll find that Hudson has become a hornbag for the homos.

And that, of course, is bad. It’s bad to eroticise someone who has – allegedly – killed a man; bad to fancy someone who has deprived a family of a father and husband; bad to think sexy thoughts about someone who has caused so much grief to so many people.

Which begs the question: what was a sexy shirtless photo of Hudson doing on the front page of TheDaily Telegraph? Obviously the man was news, but why did we get a Men’s Health-style cover portrait, rather than the standard would-be-murderer mugshot?

The answers to those questions, I suspect, are pretty murky, but semi-clad men seem to be appearing in the news pages of our papers more and more often. Several months ago the Herald offset a feature story on Gordon Wood (Rene Rivkin’s ex-chauffer, who faces criminal charges over the 1995 death of the model Caroline Byrne) with a large shirtless portrait, showing this sporty personal trainer (and now, alleged murderer) in his physical prime.

And last year, the Herald ran a shirtless photo of the former Australian Wheat Board chairman Trevor Flugge on several occasions. This photo couldn’t have been more different from the images of Wood and Hudson – Flugge was presented as a clownish figure with flabby tits, pointing a gun at the camera – but in all three cases, the rationale for publishing these shirtless photos seems to be somewhat ambiguous.

It’s like we as readers are being called upon to judge them – but whether it’s their morals or their muscles that we’re supposed to be judging, I’m really not sure.

PS. Speaking of being judged, it seems I made a mistake in my last column regarding the GLBT Health Alliance – which is, in fact, their name, not just “the Health Alliance”, as I had claimed. My apologies for the error.

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