Social networking encourages a more insular, insecure society — and it’s dangerous. Witness the case of ex-Congressman Chris Lee…
WE are living in the new Age of Stupidity!
It is one thing for teenagers or for people in their twenties to not quite understand that what they post on Facebook or on other social network sites is forever — indeed that their e-mails are forever, no matter if you “permanently delete” or not. (Come on, watch “Law & Order.”) This invasive world of zero intimacy, zero privacy and instant “communication” is the world they have been raised in.
But how about a married man (with children) in politics, in his late thirties, posting his shirtless photo on Craigslist, trolling for a date? I do mean New York Congressman Chris Lee. He resigned in record time after Gawker discovered and printed his pic and message.
Good grief! Has everybody been lobotomized by social networking? (I’m not making a moral point here. Mr. wOw is the last person on earth to condemn another’s foolish sexual peccadilloes. Stealing, child abuse and murder are something else, obviously. On those issues, I’ll take a moral stand.)
I love the Internet for the swiftness and accuracy it supplies in research. And e-mail is super-convenient — although have you noticed most people seem incapable of ending an e-mail communication? It just goes on and on, and nobody gets to the point! Mr. wOw still lives in the Stone Age. I do not even have a cell phone. I am a twit who has never Tweeted, and I do not care to be “friended” — I had quite enough of that from 15 to 25. Somehow, life continues. (I’m sure I’ll regret my too-precious disdain of cell phones when I’m trapped in an elevator, or cornered by a basket case in a dark alley.)
In my opinion, social networking encourages a more insular, insecure society, and it is dangerous. Too much information, too many intimate photographs, a complete lack of good taste and discretion. (Do teenagers realize how many of the raunchy pictures they think they are sharing only with a boyfriend or girlfriend are hacked, and end up on adult pornography sites?)
Yes, yes — the genie is out of the bottle, the horse has bolted the stable and nothing can be plugged or locked up now. I just wonder what today’s 15-year-old will be like at age 35? I guess it’ll be a world of Kardashians. Pondering the negative effects of cyberworld is not the same thing as our parents worrying over jazz, or swing or rock and roll. Or even about drugs and sex. Most of us enjoyed our music, took our drugs, had our sex and grew up to be fairly ordinary people, looking back with a bit of nostalgia on our wild and crazy youth. Mr. wOw certainly does. (Although I’d never ingest another hallucinogenic if my life depended on it. Someday Mr. wOw will tell you about his very worst “trip.”) Every time I even hear about somebody “tweeting” I lose a brain cell. And surely the tweeter loses twenty.
I actually feel bad for ex-Congressman Lee. So far as we know he isn’t a thief, child-abuser or killer. Just dumb, horny, faithless and seduced by the genuine immediacy, the shady “intimacy” and totally false anonymity of cyber communication.
Two final points. I guess everybody at Gawker is happy they ruined a career — news is news, after all! One hopes all Gawker-ites are perfect people. (I know, I know — it was Mr. Lee who ruined himself. And if it hadn’t been Gawker it would have been some other outlet. Still … I couldn’t do it. And I’m not so nice. As you Betty White fans know!)
And this — the other night, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell did a significant segment on the sudden fall of Republican Mr. Lee. Not only did O’Donnell report, he brought somebody else on to “comment.” As if such an event really needs comment — the Congressman instantly retired himself, causing no great drama. Still, O’Donnell was clearly having a good time, speculating that there was “more to come.” One hopes Mr. O’Donnell is a perfect person too. But … he’s not! And he even admits it.
I tuned out on O’Donnell that night, but was revived when (as I finished up my e-mails) I realized he was going into an elaborate apology to football players. Or basketball players. Some kind of players. Apparently he had been on Bill Maher’s show and used insulting phraseology to describe the athletes.
Well, O’Donnell’s mea culpa seemed endless. Fascinatingly boring, self-serving and pretentious. Wonderfully cringe-inducing.
So, for those of you who are still mourning Keith Olbermann, don’t despair — his over-the-top dramatic spirit lives on in the pompous posturing of Mr. O’Donnell.