Chesler Chronicles

Sex, Lies, and Blogging Standards

Today, the first of Tiger Woods’ many hired girlfriends is not only checking into rehab — she’s doing so as part of a reality show: Celebrity Rehab. Indeed, the show’s ratings are “ailing,” and thus they have turned to Rachel Uchitel to improve them. Donald Trump has also reached out to Uchitel to compete on his Celebrity Apprentice.

So here’s what’s on my mind.

Maybe my age is showing (I sure hope it is), but obviously I no longer fit into a world ruled by such vulgarity. A world in which some women are shameless about becoming famous for being porn stars or prostitutes who specialize in shaming the wives of their more powerful clients. Yes, it’s still a world in which men are the johns, the customers; trust me, I am not forgetting who drives this market and who really profits from it.

But still, what kind of world is it in which one schemes to jump-start one’s own brand by posting a video of oneself quite naked or, better yet, having sex with one’s boyfriend or girlfriend? A world in which reality shows showcase the most tasteless among us — to an audience that enjoys feeling superior to, or who actually admire, women as super-glitzy, jewelry-laden party girls, many of whom resemble Las Vegas showgirls but who are actually housewives in New Jersey.

And no, I do not believe that the corrective, the necessary antidote, is forcing women into burqas. Not only are fully veiled women sexually harassed on the streets, not only do their husbands rape them at will and still take more wives — there is also a very active male traffic in female sex slaves, both paid for and kidnapped, in all those countries in which women are being veiled or re-veiled.

And while I’m at it: standards everywhere have fallen.

For example: Why do certain bloggers steal other people’s material without naming the source or linking to it? Do they believe that no one will ever know or that ethical, professional standards no longer apply in the blogosphere or, for that matter, in our world today? Do they even have any standards, or is their new gold standard that in which getting the largest number of “hits” justifies lies, theft, adultery, plagiarism, maybe even murder? The “winner” is she (or he) who gets the most attention, the most money, not she (or he) who actually does the work or has the information.

True, scientists, academics, and mainstream journalists also plagiarize, rephrase, lift, and steal, outright, the work of others — but I am no longer working in those dismal vineyards, and thus I now smell humanity up close and brutish, here in the blogosphere, where I now happily work.

Don’t journalists, including bloggers, know what it means when a source tells them that something is “off the record,” or that “you cannot use my name,” or “I do not want you to share this information at this time”? In their haste to post a story, in their excitement over simply having the information, even the kindest bloggers have been known to throw over the traces of all professional restraint.

Doesn’t anyone check their facts anymore? Well, why bother? You can just make them up, right? The assumption is that everyone is already doing so anyway, so why be held back by outdated standards?

And, since I’m on a rant here, who the hell are these exceptionally vulgar “personality” activists who turn out instant memoirs, create a network of revival tent meetings at which they raise money either for having lived (or for having survived) their lives? Well, it’s all just show business; they are living reality show guests, drama queens and kings, who move from city to city, from one media appearance to another, selling themselves, acting out their life stories, again and again, raising big money for The Cause: themselves.

Everyone wants to live like a movie star, like royalty, in Versailles. Absolutely no one is thinking about the deluge to come.

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