Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Madison via Westlake

The immortal Donald Westlake nailed it, in the words of Chief Inspector Francis Mologna (pronounced Maloney). "No, he didn't take it. No, he wouldn't take it. What did the man think he was? You don't get to be top cop in the great city of New York by takin bribes from strangers."

Used to be your mother's maiden name (and what an anachronism that phrase is) was a common security question. A person's name, address, and phone number might be in the book, or it might not be. The people you actually knew would know more about you, but that typically wasn't a lot of people in the great scheme of things. If they or you moved, you tried to stay in touch with letters or phone calls.

If you were a married person, and wanted to have an affair with someone, your choices were somewhat limited, outside of certain well known professions that involve lots of travel. There was always the risk of being seen with someone you shouldn't be, at the wrong time or place. Oops.

How the world has changed. Social media has changed everything. Some people try to blog anonymously, or used to. That got tricky pretty quickly when they posted race results. When I started this blog I didn't even think about it. I use my real name. I didn't try to hide my address. Why bother? Anybody with the wit to look in any local phone book going back 30 years is going to discover my name, address, and phone number. Good luck calling that number, it's kept to give to people we don't want to talk to.

Then there's Facebook and Twitter, and, and, and. I probably haven't even heard of some of them. Some people share more than others, and thats a personal decision. Someone got the clever idea that hooking together people that wanted to have sex with a non-spousal person would be a good way to make money. What was that Barnum said, "nobody ever went broke underestimating human stupidity." Something like that.

Now, understand me here. I can barely keep one woman happy, and sometimes wonder how well I'm actually doing. Trying to keep two happy is insane. If you want to be out having sex with other people, that's between you and your spouse, and you and the other party. Properly done, nobody ought to get hurt, but almost nobody does it properly. Too many societal expectations cluttering things up. Lots of fallout.

As an aside, the piece of fallout that just baffles me is why someone who has been having an affair with a married person, then convinces that married person to leave their spouse, turns around and marries them. What is the ONE THING beyond doubt they know about their new spouse? That they cheat on their spouse. So, why? Note that trying to be gender neutral here. All those cheatin, lyin, no good men? Think about who they're having sex with.

If you want to have sex with someone, man up, fill your boots, and take responsibility. Be honest about a fundamentally dishonest situation. There's already enough evidence about it. Why would you sign up on a site that takes some information about you, in return for money and a promise to hook you up with someone else, and expect it to stay secret?

As we've seen again and again, it's not the secret that does people in. It's the cover up. Trying to keep the secret a secret in the light of contradictory evidence. It brought down an American president. It's covering the Canadian Senate and Prime Minister's Office with even more disrepute. It's hard to sort out, but there are already claims that people have killed themselves over the Madison exposure. As another side note, anyone that claims God has forgiven them for the sin, and you should too, is trying to steal your money.

It's hard for some people to believe, but nothing put on line is ever going to go away. I wonder what will happen as the current generation of children grow up and are confronted with images or text about their parents doing things they would rather not think about. Or see images of themselves as young people that their parents put out there.

Anybody that thought their signing up with Ashley Madison would stay a secret is stupid. End of story. They didn't think it through. It's not like security breaches are a new thing. Credit card numbers and identities were being stolen long before the internet happened.

Several potential politicians have been caught saying stupid things on social media. Donald Trump seems to be getting away with it so far, but that can only last so long. One recent example was a 21 year old who had some tweets from 4 years ago surface. Oops. I can remember some of the things a 17 year old self might have said in the heat of the moment and I blush. Good thing there was no internet then. Anybody with a trace of honesty will say the same thing.

We need a new paradigm. A new way of thinking about lots of things. I don't know what that looks like, but it starts with honesty, and is based on reality. People want sex, and drugs, and are going to buy and trade for them regardless of what the laws say about it. Whether you think it's right or wrong, the transactions have been a fact, are a fact, and will continue to be a fact. People will say stupid things at inopportune times. We might as well face up to it, and deal with reality.

How do we tell the difference between a 17 year old who says something stupid, and someone who really does mean what they said? Should the person that grew out of that 17 year old be barred from running for any office for the rest of their life? Is an apology enough? Is some form of restitution necessary? How much? How long? So we find out a public official cheated on their spouse, does that disqualify them for office?

More questions. Why do we let politicians get away with their lies? Why aren't we laughing at them to their face? Why do we put up with behaviour from them that would get them fired in any other profession in the country? No other workplace would put up with those antics.

One advantage of social media is that there are the beginnings of grown up conversations beginning to happen. There are still way too many trolls, of course, but we're learning to deal with them. I like to think of this blog as one of the places for those grown up conversations. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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