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The Secret Lives of Others

We should all feel a little remorse for Mel Gibson. This is not in defense of his behavior nor am I excusing or condoning anything he did on the tape. I’m only suggesting we read between the lines and review just how the private lives of others become fodder for the masses. We have to ask ourselves where the line between personal and private should be drawn, if there is one even left.

The young generation raised on Facebook and MySpace and other social networks will have the benefit of connecting with communities across the globe, but they will also have the misfortune of their private lives being accessed by employers, scorned ex-lovers, and anyone else seeking access to your private information. I use many online sites in addition to visiting gossip sites and while it can be entertaining, I am often puzzled by how often information on individual’s medical conditions are available. Aren’t these things we should know nothing about?

My sympathy to Mel Gibson is in relation to his positioning as a public figure and whether or not he has a problem, the very availability of the tapes is still questionable. So is the release of court documents and 911 calls. In the age of information, there is almost an entitlement to the secrets of others. The more salacious or damning the information, the more removed we are from the idea of privacy. And while I know it isn’t technically illegal for any of this information to be out in the open, we should still think how we would feel if it happened to us and what it means for us to have this kind of access.