Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sex Tapes and Fools

This title will probably do wonders for my view count.

At first it was the driving force behind such relatively harmless entertainment as "America's Funniest Home Videos."  Well, they weren't always the funniest.  Sometimes they were the grossest.  But the clear message behind that show was that there were a lot of people rolling video on their own families.  Most of it is pretty tame stuff, harmless.  Kids doing something silly, cats, et cetera.  But as the Internet and particularly video on the internet really took off, the show lost momentum.  You could see all kinds of stuff like that and lots more, especially stuff not suitable for family viewing, on the web.  Some of the videos on the web really didn't belong there.

It's in the news right now that Paris Hilton is really regretting that famous sex tape she made.  And now Jennifer Lopez is facing the fact that a tape of her - no facts yet as to what's on it - can be legally released by her former husband, an otherwise unremarkable waiter to whom she was married for a few months back in the 90s.

Why make the tapes in the first place?  These two young women, and many more just like them, are just a couple of the bigger names in the growing list of people who've allowed video to be shot of themselves while they were in, well, let's just call them compromising positions.  In most cases, it's video of the kind of thing you'd do with the curtains drawn because you don't want to show it off to everybody.

Just a quick ironic point: if you draw the curtains, why roll the video camera?  Now most of these folks will tell you that the significant other in the video assured them that the video wasn't going anywhere, that it would stay safe and be only for their future perusal.

Some folks have their pictures stolen.  Their phones get hacked and whatever's in the phone's memory is subject to being lifted.  The video is in the computer and of course that's perfectly safe, right?  Right?

Raise your hands if you've had to run antivirus software more than once in the last five years.  Your computer is no safer than a window with no curtains.  Anyone that wants to can peek in.  It's up to you to not put things there that you'd rather keep private.

And of course, there's the whole matter of rolling the video in the first place.  It seems like everybody and their cousin has a video camera of some kind on hand.  They're built into phones and even some iPods, for crying out loud.  The building where I work is festooned with dozens of cameras.  You would think, with all that coverage, most people would choose not to have video shot of them in their most private moments.  Clearly I'm wrong and not just about the famous names like Paris and Jennifer.  Lots of regular folks have their private video become public.

Sometimes it's a betrayal.  One video I caught - not the compromising one itself but a different recording, of the act of betrayal taking place, showed a boyfriend or husband weathering the reaction of his significant other as she discovered that their "private" video was on the Internet.  Needless to say, she was pretty upset.  There was a lot of yelling and a few punches thrown.  I felt pretty bad for her, but not as bad as I could have.  She had allowed the compromising video to be shot, after all.  It can't get released to the public if it doesn't exist in the first place.

In this technologically advancing world where the only privacy you're assured of is that inside your own head, such things are increasingly unsafe.  Better to not have them at all.

And if you have anything of the sort, if you should discover it on the Internet, who do you have to blame?  No one but yourself.  To expect to not have to live with that kind of decision is nothing short of foolish.  Paris and Jennifer and thousands of other people could tell you.

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