Most newspaper reporters are informed early in their careers, or learn on their own at some point, that it’s never a wise idea to input anything into a paper’s computer system that they wouldn’t want to see in print.

That’s because naughty words typed in as temporary place-holders and vulgar remarks intended for an editor’s eyes only have sneaky and uncanny ways of winding in the paper, where, naturally, they become sources of great consternation and embarrassment.

Why do I bring this up? Simply to illustrate a point regarding a similar law of inevitability that seems to exist today with celebrities.

When famous people — particularly those who happen to be female — take, or have taken, photographs that depict them with all or parts of their bodies exposed, or when they choose to videotape their most intimate moments, it’s practically a given that those still pictures and/or that video footage will to wind up on the Internet to be gawked at by a worldwide audience of perverts.

Thank you very much, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

It matters not one whit whether said photos and/or videos were ever intended for public consumption. Somehow or other, if there’s a celebrity involved, that material is going to get out there.

I’ll leave it up to you to judge whether this is a good or a bad thing.

The latest celeb to fall victim to this phenomenon is Vanessa Hugdens, the raven-haired, fresh-faced star of The Disney Channel’s “High School Musical.” It’s a program that is wildly popular with young people, although it is one that I must confess that I am completely unfamiliar with, having never even caught a glimpse of it during the course of channel-surfing.

You may or may not have heard by now that Hudgens is embroiled in a scandal over some racy photos of her that recently turned up on the Internet.

From what I understand, some of the pictures show Hudgens in a fairly revealing two-piece swimsuit. Others depict her fully clothed and engaging in what appears to be mildly sexual horseplay with several female friends. In yet another one — and the one that has obviously generated the most controversy — she is in the altogether.

As the story goes, Hudgens e-mailed the naked picture to her boyfriend — reportedly teen heartthrob Zac Efron, her HSM co-star — and it was intercepted by a third party and leaked.

Hudgens’ publicist confirmed that the girl in the photo was, indeed, the HSM star. Executives with image-conscious Disney, were, understandably, none too pleased, though it appears that the company is standing by Hudgens, at least for the time being.

I’m not here to pass moral judgment on Hudgens. She is legally an adult, and if she wants to allow her significant other to look at her naughty bits — in person or in a photograph — that’s her right and her privilege.

And, honestly, I’ve never been one to believe that the human body is anything to be ashamed of — unless it’s one that looks like mine, of course.

Still, I can’t help but think that Hudgens’ actions indicate that she has little in common with her HSM character Gabriella, the class brain.

This was truly a colossal lapse in judgment on her part.

True, she’s only 18, and 18-year-olds aren’t always known to make the best decisions. However, most 18-year-olds don’t have nearly as much riding on the public’s perception of them as Hudgens does, either.

Surely, one would think, she must have known that.

One also would think Hudgens would have to have been astonishingly naive to not have known that there were hundreds of thousands of adolescent boys and creepy old men who were quite interested in seeing her naked, and that there were quite likely people — maybe even some in her inner circle — who were watching and waiting to pounce as soon as she provided them with an opportunity to satisfy that demand.

It’s hard to believe, also, that Hudgens failed to realize that where privacy and security are concerned, e-mail is far from a perfect medium.

No doubt, Hudgens and Disney would like for this whole thing to go away. That’s not likely to happen, though, as long as those scandalous photos of her are a couple of mouse clicks away.

My guess is that Hudgens wishes she never would have taken the pictures in the first place.

Which, of course, would have been the smartest thing she could have done.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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