Nowadays, We’re All Followed By Paparazzi

The web site ran out of money and shut down yesterday, which is why it made the news. There was this website named and they were basically a tabloid for various universities. The bit is that you’d log in to your university’s page and you could join discussions on things like which professors were great to which sorority girls put-out the most to which freshman girls gained the most weight. And, I’m guessing, any and everything else was fair game, too. Like I said, it was pretty much tabloid kind of stuff.

Except the people were normal. They were people you might actually know about if you went to that college.

Of course, as college kids are wont to do, there were times when it went too far…such as when a student at a college was allegedly raped and the police investigation was still underway and there were postings with her name and other details that would hinder the investigation. And, of course, the website’s founder was aware of the legalities that his servers were merely “hosts” and the content was delivered by others, hence he wasn’t responsible for content. Naturally, the anonymity of the deal created chaos, too…with stuff like the 1st amendment application to anonymous users (who, presumably, can’t be sued for libel since they can’t be found). The story I read about this focused on lots of these issues, and I have to say that I’m fascinated by what the digital age is doing to our legal system. It can’t move fast enough to keep up with all the issues raised.

However, that’s not where my thoughts went this morning…and this is where Jessica Simpson comes into the discussion.

How, you ask?

Turns out she was making some public appearance and her picture from the concert turned up in a newspaper. This picture:

And, the discussion of her “weight gain” and “poor fashion choices” and “while she’s still hot for the average guy, why would a stud like Romo want to stay with her” was fodder for shows like Good Morning, America and the gossip section of papers and the tabloid television shows.

I began to think how hard it must be to be Jessica Simpson some days. Granted, I like to think if I were making millions I’d chalk tabloid stuff up to occupational hazard and laugh all the way to the bank. And I’m sure she was unable to avoid hearing about the comments, at least. I wondered if she’s still just a girl who looks in the mirror in the morning and gets concerned about stuff like that. Maybe she’s above the fray. Most likely, since she’s human, she isn’t. And this isn’t making jokes about something goofy she said on her show that she was paid to have cameras follow her around. I have daughters. I think about things like that.

But Jess isn’t alone. Athletes, actors, politicians. It’s all out there.

And now, thanks to sites like these, we’re all followed by the paparazzi. Suburban moms can open sites to get all Desperate Housewives on their suburb. Dads can get all Sports Illustrated and fire off opinions about the local high school coach’s inability to get the right players in the game or question strategy. Teenagers can get all Facebook Group Forming and discuss which teachers suck (or youth pastors). Church goers can get all 1 Corinthians 2 and could rank sermons and compare/contrast their leaders.

So, what I’m saying is that with the internet and anonymity and the 1st amendment…


…let’s just say that I don’t think Thomas Jefferson and company could foresee this. What used to be whispered about among close, closed circles is now open season for the public to see.

Yes, even for us “average Joes & Josephines.”

It’s simply the way things are now.

So, let’s be careful out there, okay?

P.S. In another innovative use of technology by the younger set:

Open note to those teenage girls who are actively “sexting.” (for the uninitiated, that’s where teenage girls take nude or semi-nude/lingerie photos of themselves and then send them, via text messages, to boyfriends and the like) Yeah. That’s dumb. If that urge ever hits your brain, seriously reconsider your lifestyle.