The Too-Much-Information Age
Very likely not. Don’t be too sure that a video of a heterosexual couple wouldn’t have been broadcast on the Internet. At the very least, the young woman’s reputation almost certainly would have been tarnished. The videos would have come back to haunt them sooner or later, and their lives would have been altered, if not ruined.
We worry about the government robbing us of our privacy. But the current generation is doing a splendid job of robbing itself of privacy. As the Associated Press reporters working on the story pointed out in their article:
“The shocking suicide of a college student whose sex life was broadcast over the Web illustrates yet again the Internet's alarming potential as a means of tormenting others and raises questions whether young people in the age of Twitter and Facebook can even distinguish public from private.”
We are in the throes of the Too-Much-Information Age. Phoebe Prince is now joined by another unfortunate young adult, Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood, N.J. Apparently, the consciousness-raising seminars have not penetrated the prejudices of adolescence as deeply as the Progressives had hoped.
Instead of “progressing,” we degenerated to new levels of snooping and cruelty. Tyler’s classmates have been charged with invasion of privacy, with some of the charges against them carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.
This is a generation raised on reality television. Every generation has had its vehicle for trading in gossip. Years ago, it was the beauty shop, where noisy, bulbous hair dryers masked malicious whispers. Tabloid gossip columnists provided the fodder for celebrity bashing and the backyard fence, the wash line, the water cooler, the watering hole days of olde provided the forum for whispering campaigns.
Gossip used to be word-of-mouth; libelous comments scrawled on the walls of the boys’ bathroom. Advanced technology has provided new and improved methods, providing instantaneous feeds. Pictures don’t lie (generally, except when they’re manipulated in Photoshop). Today’s generation would put movie spy James Bond to shame.
It’s sickening to think of that poor young man, standing on the precipice of the George Washington Bridge, texting his last words in the belief his life was futile, all because of a sadistic invasion of his privacy. Maybe God doesn’t approve of homosexuality. Or maybe He doesn’t but is willing to forgive it. Where did these young people who committed this invasion of privacy get the idea they had the right to take God’s judgment into their own hands?
God’s judgment is that person’s problem, not ours. But, adolescents are impossibly nosy and extremely judgmental. They take themselves too seriously and are much too severe on one another, to the point that Phoebe hung herself in her closet and Tyler flung himself from a 200 foot bridge.
The activists mean well, but their efforts mislead victims like Phoebe and Tyler into believing they’ll be accepted for themselves by their supposedly enlightened peers; it’s the adults, the Conservatives, Tea Partiers, right-wing extremists who are biased and bigoted. But it’s the age-old, intractable, inexorable, ruthless villain that condemns them: peer pressure.
Adolescents have met the enemy, and they are them.