Maybe Everyone DOES Wants to be Naked and Famous

I think our world is turning into one giant metaphorical and not-so-metaphorical, nudist camp. I was reminded of this once again when I saw the taped footage of actor Paul Walker’s recent fiery crash in a Santa Clarita parking lot, albeit obscured by a fence. There is not much we can hide these days -not even the hour of our death. Simply, we are naked to the world.

Naked technologyCurrently I am engaged in a reading discussion group analyzing the book The Shallows: What the Internet is doing our Brains by Nicholas Carr (next semester the selected book is One Nation Under Sex…though more on that in another blog). The book explains the various ways that technology rewires and changes the landscape of our brains and how this alters the way we process information and, as result, changes one’s self and culture.

I could go on and on about technology, namely mobile devices, and how they are changing the way we think, act, believe, and behave. Yet a new thought occurred to me the other day while conversing with a bright student regarding this topic when it hit me: The internet is making all of us metaphorically -and perhaps even literally- naked, stripped of our protective public clothing; displaying to the world some of our most secretive and hidden moments. And we seem to be doing it willingly with a smile on our face.

As we surrender any sense of privacy in our lives to the welcomed invasion of technology, we are wiping away the facades we have created to effectively manage the impressions we want to present to the world. Indeed I can work to control technology in such a way that I can limit that flow of revealing information, yet it is eventually a losing battle. A simple google search can yield all the information about a person you could ever want to know….and a lot of things we would prefer not to know. Or see.

With cameras on every street corner and in every hand, when anyone with a moderate or high profile attempts to conceal any behaviors it is a losing battle to be sure. Whether it is Brittany’s crotch or Anthony’s wiener, there is no such thing as a flawed or embarrassing moment gone unnoticed or a moment of lack of good judgment gone undetected. In a world of technology, we are its naked and vulnerable inhabitants. How are we to respond to such vulnerability in a culture of everyone knows all?

Society effectively has two choices. The first choice is to reduce the amount of poor choices we make in our life that could possibly get exploited and do our best to keep our legs clenched tight when getting out of a Ferrari with a short skirt. I have no trouble complying with the latter though have fallen victim many times to the former.

The second choice is a much more likely and palatable choice. We must become more accepting of flawed human beings making flawed choices –that is if you believe a man sending a picture of his penis to a potential lover to be “flawed” -some might call it just poor strategy –or good strategy, depending on the penis I suppose. I long for a day when society does not bat an eye when a prominent figure sends out a picture of his junk, likely in a drunken foray, because they realize they could be the next victim in this tell all, see all world. As my grandma once told me, “Let he who is without a picture of his naked penis cast the first stone.” Or maybe it was “don’t go into the neighbor’s yard.” I forget. It was a long time ago.

Am I suggesting that sending out lurid pictures is good idea or is a complete non-issue in sizing up one’s character? No and no. Probably rarely a good idea and may be a relevant issue in determining one’s character pending context of the photo. The issue is not about a revealing photo, rather the issue is lack of discretion and sound judgment by a political leader who is need of such attributes.

Hence we believe sending nude pics is the bastion of the perverted, exhibitionist few, think again. Recently in my Interpersonal Communication class the subject of “sexting” came up. Our textbook states: “One survey revealed that 10 percent of young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 have texted or emailed a nude or partially nude image of themselves to someone else, and 15 percent have received such pictures…of someone they know. Perhaps even more disturbing, 8 percent reported that they had received a nude or partially nude image of someone they knew from a third party.”

After some further discussion, our entire class concluded that those numbers are WAY off- in fact, not even close to the truth (the studies were 5 years old…a lifetime in a technological world). Their estimate was somewhere closer to 75 percent having sexted in one way, shape or form. And they should know…they are the age group in which sexting essentially originated. I guess we are living in both a figuratively naked -everyone can see our business- and literally naked technological world -we are willingly allowing people to see our naughty parts.

Perhaps the dramatic increase in our willingness to share our physical nakedness is only symptomatic of a society losing its desire for any privacy, at any level, whatsoever. We are all becoming metaphorically naked and vulnerable and seem quite comfortable with it. I know I am. Should I be?

I have very little to hide in my life (notice I did not say nothing?) which seems a good place to be in our naked world. I am not sure Paul Walker’s family is pleased his death has been captured on image, albeit an obscured one. Yet, for better or for worse, we can all rest assured that nothing anymore is sacred or private…and I am still trying to decide if I like this nudist camp we have created or not.

In the meantime, think twice before you send your next sext…your political future may be in jeopardy.

jimmysintension

5 Comments

  1. I think the level of disclosure in our culture is really, really going up. Whether that be willingly, or unwillingly, strangers or friends. I’m not sure it’s all a bad thing, either? I’m personally of the mindset that people will do what they will, and it’s not so much what they do as the meaning behind it. Brittany didn’t wear underwear. Who cares. Anthony was having an affair, essentially, through those pictures. Which shows that he has things to hide, and that he has the capability to lie in order to get what he wants. Which, does not make for a good politician. (Does it make for a NORMAL politician? Well, I won’t go there.)

    But I do agree with you, on the majority of this, however I have to point out a rather glaring fallacy you used here. I doubt there are only two choices or roads for us to go down. To be more self-aware, or to be more accepting of flaws either-or. I personally would like to see us go down a path where the majority of us actually think logically and critically, root out the meaning behind actions instead of taking actions for face value, as I mentioned before in the difference between Brittany and Anthony.

    I personally long for a world where there’s a lack of hypocrisy with issues like this, in mass media and the political aspect of it all. Because honestly- Yes, most people care about the next scandal and are eager to talk about it and dish out the juicy bits. But they don’t care quite enough to dig just a bit deeper than the surface, and actually discover the why.

    • First off, I would strongly encourage Brittany to continue to go commando, but that’s a no-brainer. Seriously, excellent call on the either/or fallacy. Nice. As I wrote that portion of the blog I consciously made the decision to write much more “journalistically” (don’t think that’s a word….yet!) over critically. I would contend that of those two options presented, we will probably see some of both happen. To a degree people will become more careful in their behaviors (though I anecdotally do not see that happening) and simultaneously there will continue to be so much dirt out there we cannot possibly keep up with it all…and we will become accepting by default. As far as Weiner and an affair, we do not know what kind of arrangement he has in his relationship. That is between he and his wife.

  2. So I have been on your website for about an hour now and I’ve read just about every entry you have written in the last two years that I’ve had some interest in.
    And I have literally not disagreed with one thing you have said.
    I agree with the voting thing, the media article, the Disneyland one too. Just everything.
    And I did not want to post an argument that I did not truly believe, so I am simply writing this comment to let you know that I did go over and tried my hardest to disagree with you, but it simply was not meant to be (no matter how much I wanted to disagree with you haha).

    • I find it very difficult to believe there is not something Carrie. Probably the two most controversial ones I have posted are in regards to cheating and using the word partners to describe Rene and me…at least evidenced by the amount of feedback. Oh, I guess we are just that simpatico.

  3. I am not comfortable with how naked our world is becoming. I go on Twitter and everyone is whining and complaining about life and their existential crisis. I get it life is complicated but I feel people think they are now being forced to share every single thought they have on social media. And in all honesty, I do not care! I go on Twitter to see the pictures of the dogs and the funny videos, I do not care that you decided to get your nipples pierced. And as for receiving nudes/ sexts, no thank you. It is one thing if I were to ask for them but when I straight up say no and still end up with a dick pic in my inbox, I am a little bit annoyed. As a society I think we need to cover up a bit. I am all for sharing personal information with friends and family but it verges onto a dangerous level today with how people share so much of their personal life on social media. And honestly, I am tired of scrolling through my feed and seeing half naked people I went to high school with, I would unfollow them but I scroll past too fast to even remember who they are.

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