Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beware of Crazy Women in the Social Media Age

At the Other McCain, "Beware of Sex in the Social Media Age (Because the Internet Is Forever)":

 photo Crazy_Rosie_zpsd3rsrnjx.jpg
So here we have Rosie, telling the world that she lives in North East Bedfordshire, where she is suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and — oh, by the way — she has vaginismus and was (allegedly) raped by Jason Lee Weight in June 2014.

Yeah, let’s just put that on the Internet, and also publish photos of yourself topless, Rosie. Because what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s a word parents need to teach their kids: “Crazy.”

What part of “crazy” do I need to explain here? The Internet is forever, boys and girls. Go ask former Rep. Anthony Weiner what he was thinking before he started sending photos of his penis to women. My old buddy Andrew Breitbart turned that into the biggest political story of 2011, and you might have thought former Rep. Anthony Weiner would have learned his lesson, but no, he got caught again in 2013 having some kind of perverted Internet fling with a sleazy admirer named Sydney Leathers.

My teenage sons got an earful of warnings after that. While I was reporting the breaking developments in the second WeinerGate scandal, it dawned on me that kids (and obviously, too many adults who should know better) are simply not thinking before they hit the “send” button on their text messages and emails. They are not thinking about the possible consequences of clicking the “publish” button on their social media accounts. Nor are people thinking about what they are doing in the real world in an age where everybody’s cellphone has a video camera, where anything a guy does in his dating relationships may become the subject of an online rant by an angry ex-girlfriend, where a guy meets a girl at a party and has what seems to him a consensual hookup only to discover, nearly two years later, that she’s telling the world that he’s a rapist.

Rosie’s account of that night is a classic “he-said/she-said” situation. Her story of that (allegedly) “horrific” June 2014 encounter seems entirely plausible, and Jason Lee Weight’s (alleged) behavior is indefensible. Rosie says she filed a report with police “a long time after” this encounter, but a lack of evidence made prosecution impossible. Because I am not a prosecutor or a detective or any sort of “activist,” however, the question of Jason Lee Weight’s guilt or innocence is not actually relevant to my point. Discussing this allegation in terms of “rape culture” is above my pay grade. What I am trying to do here, as a professional journalist, is to convey the reality of what sex means in the social media age. And what I am also trying to do, as a father of six, the youngest three of whom are teenagers, is to explain to parents, teachers and other responsible adults why young people must be warned very strongly about these dangers.

This is not 1977, the year I graduated high school. This is not 1983, the year I graduated college. It’s not 1989, the year I got married. Heck, it’s not even 2008, the year I left The Washington Times and embarked on a career as a freelance correspondent and blogger. Social media has exploded during the past decade, technology has advanced to the point where rapists are livestreaming their rapes on the Internet, where mass murderers publish their “manifestos” online before they commit their deadly rampages. What does this mean for “casual sex”? To quote the recently departed Prince: “Party over. Oops! Out of time.”

Welcome to 2016, boys and girls. There is no such thing as “privacy.”
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