Monday, June 06, 2011

And So It Turns Out He Did It

Can I tell you what most disappoints me in finding out the guy did send a picture of his package to that woman? That when it came out he didn't tell us he sent a picture of his package to that woman.

Would it have been so bad?

"Occasionally I have sent what I believe to be humorous photos to online acquaintances. It's always done out of a sense of play. Sometimes my interactions can be a little risque. Historically those involved have found those particular instances to be the most funny. On this occasion I unfortunately and inadvertently made something that was supposed to be a private message public. I am extremely embarrassed by this error and apologize to anyone else who may have been embarrassed or offended. I will do everything in my power to use better judgement and pay better attention to my actions in the future."
It isn't 140 characters, so he wouldn't have been able to tweet it, but I think if that had been the very first thing he said, rather than "I was hacked" it might be over now and we could continue musing about Paul Revere. But he didn't, a little bit he panicked I guess - that's what I heard he said. It's too bad.

The reason I think he could have squelched it is that I believe this is a more common behavior than is perceived, especially among younger people. I read just today that some jurisdiction is working on a "sexting" law that will protect the parties involved from being exposed (ha) to child pornography laws. Like it or not the whole country is a little freaky with their technology. Couldn't hurt us to recognize that within the public discourse.

Also a little bit I just can't stand to listen to people in Washington talk to me about moral behavior. Year after year we hear about scandal after scandal. They could do all of themselves and us a break to just cut everyone a little slack. I don't need to hear from someone on their third spouse about the dangers of emailing a picture of my underwear. There's a line here about people in glass houses, yes? And another about casting the first stone?

Where's Larry Flynt when you need him?

One of my friends asked "what is with these people?" and I think maybe it isn't just about Congressmen. I think what we're seeing play out here is about the intimacy of communication, the speed of that communication, humor, and young people. You know, you have this thing that is theoretically direct and private, and it all happens in an instant without much time for reflection - and there's really no "unsend" button to push. Plus its funny or feels good to be flirty, and often the people on the other end, they just don't have the same consequences to deal with so they're more than willing to go there even when an older person maybe should be having a second thought.

I've felt this in my own experience, especially on chat. When you become friends with someone and you are having these private exchanges you can sometimes see that line there and whiz right by it anyway. And then you are thinking, "wow, maybe I shouldn't have said that" but it's too late. You did, and it's logged and cached and out there forever. I never sent anyone a picture of my package (I did once *tell* someone I was sending her a picture of my tool. Then I sent a picture of my tool belt - not the same).

Mostly this makes me wonder what is fair game now. Are we going to start asking candidates for their internet history? How about asking people if they've run a search on Adult Friend Finder? Are hackers going to crack candidates computers and show us what websites they've been on or who they've been skyping with? Could a candidate in this climate recover from someone disclosing they'd recovered part of "2 Girls 1 Cup" from their hard drive?

You know, I'm not sure that would even be a bad thing. These are the people regulating our media. Maybe scandals like this are good for the government. At least it will educate them a little bit to what's out there (as if they didn't know - freaky little congresscritters).

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