By nature, people are voyeurs. They want to know how others behave when nobody knows they’re being watched.
That’s not news.
In the olden days, before the invention of the internet where everything could be tracked, recorded and shared with the click of a mouse, voyeurs were simply snoops or “Peeping Toms,” with the difference being that “Peeping Toms” often ending up on the evening news or in jail.
This week’s headline were unsettling for many reasons. It seems society in general has made it okay to cross lines never previously crossed to get their voyeuristic fix. And it’s okay to pry as deeply into other people’s private matters to get the information that will quench the appetite for gossip.
Sarah Palin’s governmental emails from 2006-2008 were posted across the Web for all to read. Sensationalist headlines screamed, “Beef, Tequila and Condoms,” a remark meant in jest and sent in an email to Palin as part of an invite to a party. Please note it was neither written by, nor about, Palin. Yet this is the line that found itself supposedly previewing the release of Palin’s email history to the world. Reporters sought to fuel the intrusion into her privacy. It was irresponsible.
And while people were hoping to find some good “dirt” in Palin’s emails, by most accounts the trail, sadly for those readers, proves to point to a hard-working governor who gives credit where credit is due. Whether government official or not, Palin should have been expected to have a certain level of privacy in her correspondence. Simply because a few “watchdog” groups wanted to know the minutia of Palin’s everyday work, doesn’t mean they should be entitled to receive it. There were no red flags, no court orders. . .just curiosity.
On the other hand US media seemed to indicate the end of the world was near when the Weiner scandal broke. It turns out that the congressman from New York mistakenly forwarded through a public social media channel an adult-oriented photo of himself to a young woman with whom he’d been speaking to online-instead of just to her. From the public outcry,you would have thought it had been discovered Weiner was a Soviet spy.
His critics jumped on the integrity bandwagon. Weiner lied about sending the tweet at first, indicating his account had been hacked. And what about his infidelity?
While most people would like to admit to “taking a higher road,” 99 percent of the population would have done the same thing given the same circumstances.It’s human nature. He panicked. He was embarrassed. The fact is though that Weiner (and yes, he has an unfortunate name), is not the first person to commit such an act. Granted, that doesn’t make it okay. But last time I checked, it wasn’t illegal for a guy to email a photo of his chest to someone. And whether that constitutes marital infidelity is between Weiner and his wife. I would argue sleazy behavior “yes,” cheating “no.”
Prior to the Weiner ‘scandal,’ Saturday Night Live (SNL) recently parodied the growing epidemic of the taking and distributing such images via cell phone: SNL Skit.
And I’ll refrain from even attempting to count the number of parodies created by various videographers after Brett Favre was found to have sent photos of his “better half” to various women via cell phone. And then let’s not even began to start listing other high-ranking political officials with similar marital infractions (Bill Clinton, Kwame Kilpatrick et. al.).
This information was not news. Yet people consumed it like water after spending 40 years in the desert.
And then I read the article on today’s Wall Street Journal on “planking.” The art of planking involves people laying like planks to imitate wood planks. Why you ask? Well for the sake of art, or challenge. Positioning ones self in a challenging space and then having a photograph snapped.
Really? Come on.
Nope. People do that.
There only conclusion I can draw is that people have too much time on their hands these day and are looking for someone.. .anyone…with the least bit of excitement going on to follow. These same people are so incredibly bored with their own dull lives, they are literally dreaming up inane tasks and ways to occupy their time. There has got to be a more constructive way for people to spend their time. No wonder this country is going to hell in a hand basket.