No doubt you've seen the stories about several actresses and models having nude pictures hacked from their iCloud accounts. In all likelihood these stories have garnered more readership than the continuing drama of ISIS, Ukraine, Gaza, and the first weekend of college football. There's something twisted in our national psyche that requires this sort of obsession. However, all nude (or nekkid) pictures are not equal. I doubt that, should actress Hortense Gurtz's* iCloud be hacked and all her naughty parts revealed to the world, there would be hardly a peep in the media. No, the two persons most named include the currently most favored actress and the best-loved supermodel!
First of all, let me state unequivocally that those who hacked those accounts are despicable; not to mention the on-line sites that published them. And I'll unequivocally state that those who seek out and view those intrusions are part of the problem. There's a lot of blame and douchiness to parcel out.
But . . . . whoa! This sort of thing happened before. I remember when a relatively dumb, not very well-liked celebrity's sex tape came out despite her lack of intent or willingness, there was nothing of the same degree of indignation but rather an implicit invitation on the part of the media to join in the feeding frenzy! Okay, I can get it. I'm sure that if nude pictures of Sarah Palin were somehow revealed, the NYT, the WaPo, and the L.A. Times would be quite willing to share this noteworthy visual information!
But in the way the recent nude pictures story was covered, there was a certain amount of hypocrisy in the national media coverage: they deliciously mentioned specific names, inevitably two very prominent ones in particular! Was there not some media self-interest in mentioning those names? Sure. Those names in particular make the story more newsworthy, its likelihood of being read, particularly on-line. And by mentioning the more noted victims by name, they contribute to the bozofest that naturally ensued!
Consider how another crime was covered: if a non-celebrity woman was raped, a newspaper with class** would not mention the victim by name or elaborate on the gory details. There would be some grace in trying to spare the victim from further, unnecessary grief. Plus, the crime is the story, not the victim!
In short, the media sources that mention those victims by name are secondarily part of the problem! I deliberately avoided mentioning any actual victims' names in writing this. Maybe that is what should be done by the big newspapers and other media sources! Right? You betcha!
Turing from nude pictures to garbage can diving, I recently read an article in The Atlantic regarding a literary camp follower writing on the content of the garbage of a major 20th century writer. Well, there's an element of creepiness to this, I think. But the article included a tidbit that the author disposed of some honorary degrees granted him as well as a few other things.*** Maybe his wife simply told him that he needed to downsize his souvenirs, especially those from minor colleges, and keep only those from BCS-eligible institutions. Well, the creepiness extends to the magazine as well!
A personal note. I was told that TAs should shred any proofs of exams before disposing them in the garbage, as some ethically dubious students may go through your can in order to find them. My first thought was that I threw away an old bra the week before!
More seriously, shred anything sensitive before putting it in your garbage. Privacy violators may look in the oddest places!
**Possibly an oxymoron.
***I confess to knowing now more about his garbage than his books.