Saturday, July 21, 2007

Internet Exhibitionism

It's often surprising what people will put up on the Internet about themselves, such as the now proverbial drunken nude photo of oneself on a Myspace account. James Lileks tries to imagine this same phenomenon happening thirty years ago:

Imagine you’re in college. Far from home. It’s 1977. You’re partying down, as the Grand Funk Railroad put it. One guy is walking around with a clipboard, asking personal questions; he’s also taking photos. As the night goes on, inhibitions fade like cotton candy in a hot shower, and you find yourself in a hot shower. With someone named Cotton Candy, as it turns out. Who invited her? That guy is still taking pictures, too. Eventually you ask what he’s doing.

“Well,” he says, “I’m going to put together a big collection of incriminating photos and remarks, and post it up at that bulletin board outside the grocery store. And there’ll be another one in your home town.”

You’d be livid. It would take all your self-control to keep from hanging a fat lip on the fellow. Why? you ask. Who would want pictures of themselves performing stupid drunken party pranks on a bulletin board where Mom could see it, let alone read answers to a questionnaire about the most detailed personal matters? You take his film and kick him out. That was close.

Ah, how times change. It's no surprise that we're waging a war against dignity and privacy; it is a surprise that so many people volunteered to fight.

Hat tip: Instapundit

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