I hate the news right now, because websites, TV shows, and blogs are all reporting on the Sony emails – poring over the content, sucking out the juiciest bits and spitting them our way.
Accidentally, I’ll get one right in the eye – but for the most part, I’m ducking and letting them fly right by. I don’t want to see them, period.
I want nothing to do with reading these emails, and it pisses me off to see how petty and shortsighted so much of the media are (and the public too), in their insatiable gobbling up of this private gossip. They’re like me with Lindeman chocolates.
If these were not emails, but hacked private financial records, would you find it so funny? Nope.
If this were medical data on a friend’s embarrassing illnesses, would you take a peek? Heck no.
If the leak happened to be a trove of nude pictures (like the Jen Lawrence hack), photos done privately for a loved one far away – would you still look, and get a kick out of it?
You and I do not deserve to read the Sony emails, any more than we deserve to indulge in private medical, financial, or sexual matters of other people. If you knew these people personally – would you look, if you could? I think not.
(note: I actually peeked at some leaked photos from the J-Law assault when they first happened – we were doing the story on Redeye – and I experienced a flood of instantaneous, face-hot shame that made me close my lap top and vow never to do it again. I realized that I was participating in a violation – or rather, continuing the ongoing violation of this young woman. I felt gross)
And this self-righteous blather is coming from me – a loud mouth who makes his living trashing Hollywood. You know me by now: I hate these people. I find the industry to be a bottomless pit of political correctness – a thick wash of phony concern meant to mask their greed, prurience, and hollow desires.
Which is why my defense matters. I don’t wish this kind of privacy violation even on people I can’t stand.
And for those of you who believe Hollywood deserves it (because of the hypocrisies unveiled), then you’re dumber than you look. Because make no mistake: this hell will come to your house, sooner rather than later. Your hypocrisies will unfold for the world, and you will lay awake at night, sweating through your boxers wondering what will come next. Your coworker will finally know what you think of his college-aged daughter.
We will all be hacked. We will all be embarrassed. The things we say about ourselves, our coworkers, our spouses, and our bosses will be available for all to see.
And depending on your level of success, fame or importance in political matters -they will be published, and published, and published. And the torture will be driven by the public and media hunger for titillating bucket-filling novelty.
For those of you in the media sinking your teeth into this muck, the karma will be complete: you will get it back in spades. And don’t think you’re immune because no one knows you, and therefore won’t care that you once sent a pleading email to Mario Lopez asking for a shirtless picture of him on a llama.
Consider the typical young reporter filing a story like this for a national paper – he likely thinks no one cares about his late night emails to drug dealers, or the shit he says about the owner of the rag. But the thing is: someone will – one day.
Even though you’re a peon now – by writing about Sony’s emails today, you’re pretty much betting against your own success. You’re saying, “I can do this story about exposing the privacy of rich famous people, because I will be never ever be that. I will never be important enough for people to care about my private life.”
What a sad place to be: where you can indulge in the privacy assault of others, only because you think you’re too paltry to be targeted.
That may be true now. But it won’t be forever, pal.
I get it: the leaked emails are news. The very fact that they were hacked, is news.
But the content of the emails – while being news, do not make it news for us. They show us things we should not see.
Just because your buddy’s wife missed a button on her shirt, doesn’t mean you’re required to stare. In fact, you are quite aware there are other outlets for your jollies, than a glimpse of a known breast.
The same should go with the Sony emails. You can find gossip, titillation, and scandal in every nook on this planet (hell, if only people cared as much about the IRS emails), so surely you can turn your head from this stuff and get your rocks off elsewhere.
Finally, wouldn’t it be grand if the media – all elements and ideologies – came together as part of a pact, to promise not to report on the hacked contents of personal information?
As there always will be scum who climb through the garbage cans looking for soiled underwear or prescription receipts, it may not be possible. But perhaps it’s time to realize we are all targets now, and we must shame those who fail to see that sobering fact.
The only other option, and it’s a good one – is to simply forgive what you read. Laugh at it and forget it. A personal email should always be a mulligan – a swing at something that contributes nothing, but also subtracts nothing, too.